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Small Spacecraft Technology


Completed Technology Project

Project Description


Starling is a Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) project under the Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) and managed at Ames Research Center by the Spaceflight Division (Code RS). It is a NPR 7120.8 technology demonstration mission. Starling is intended to be one of the series of demonstration missions that will test technologies required to achieve affordable, distributed spacecraft swarm missions that: are scalable to at least 100 spacecraft for applications that include making synchronized multipoint measurements; involve closely coordinated ensembles of two or more spacecraft operating as a single unit for interferometric, synthetic aperture, or similar sensor architectures; require autonomous or semi-autonomous operation of multiple spacecraft functioning as a unit to achieve exploration and/or science mission objectives with low-cost small spacecraft. In particular, Starling will fly four 6U CubeSats in Low-Earth Orbit for at least 6 months and will demonstrate several spacecraft swarm technologies and collect data on three other payloads. The following swarm technologies will be demonstrated: Ad hoc dynamic communications network; Onboard cluster station-keeping and reconfiguration; Relative navigation; Distributed spacecraft autonomous decision-making. < >

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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