Tiny Lego-Like Modular Satellites Started to Orbit in Space

Space is getting closer to us, and the credit goes to the tiny economical “satlets” that are orbiting to solve problems in flight. The advanced rockets and spacecraft manufacturer and designer, SpaceX sent its rocket loaded with satellites, the equivalent of a clown car, about one year ago. The rocketry comprised of more than 60 small satellites. “Excite” was one of them which is made of other satellites that are clones of each other. They all are capable of joining together and working together.

Each of the 14 different satellites called HISat is smaller than a standard piece of paper, and only a few centimeters thick, stated NovaWurks, the company that has undertaken the launch of the satellite. This was the company’s first experiment of satlets in space. In spite of their tiny size, they can perform many functions like communicating with the world needed by a satellite, moving in space, processing data, and becoming a power source.

On the day of lift-off, the rocket arrived at the designated height, and Excite entered the orbit. The spacecraft, as well as the attached instruments, were responding as expected. But, the problem occurred when Excite failed to send commands to some devices on the ship. The spacecraft faced technical issues, and as a result, three out of eight loads connected to satellites failed to hear and obey their groundmasters.

During the long process, this failure is being considered as an acceptable obstacle. Plug-and-play satellites cost less money and also saves time that allows engineers to focus on instruments rather than logistics. The developers are expecting that they will be able to send into space less risky and faster as there will be no need for a complete satellite from scratch.

However, NovaWurks is eager to use these modular satellites like Lego in a more active way in the commercial area. NovaWurks claims the HISats are likely to help in Athena, which is a joint mission between NASA, NOAA, and the Air Power’s House and Missile Programs Heart. The company claims them to be multipurpose satellites and low-cost ones minimizing risks.