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Techsat 21

The Techsat 21 program is a new way to perform missions from space by using clusters of micro-satellites that operate cooperatively to perform the function of a larger, single satellite. Each smaller satellite communicates with the others and shares the processing, communications, and payload or mission functions. Thus, the cluster of satellites forms a "virtual satellite," an idea characterized by the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Space Technology Panel as the technology that will lead to new exploitation of capabilities in space. This concept promises many benefits, including greater utility and flexibility by permitting the cluster to reconfigure and optimize its geometry for a given mission, enhanced survivability, and increased reliability. It is expected that clusters will reduce life cycle cost by using mass-produced satellites and minimizing the launch cost by optimizing the launch vehicle's cargo capacity. The cluster concept also eases performance upgrades by allowing upgraded satellites to join a cluster, increasing the overall performance of the virtual satellite rather than replacing a single, large satellite or the entire cluster.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:49:09 ZULU