The CubeSat Cryocooler System can be applied to any NASA Commercial mission that requires cryogenic cooling for a detector, sensor, or similar instruments to fit within a CubeSat platform. More specifically, the CCS equipped with a two-stage pulse-tube coldhead would be the natural candidate for infrared detectors and focal plane electronics.
The current potential commercial applications for the CCS range from supporting imagery and surveillance capabilities, with a strong outlook for additional applications. Skybox Imaging and Planet Labs are two companies marketing optical and near-infrared imagery as well as full-frame video collected by microsats to capture Earth imagery.In November 2013, Skybox Imaging launched its first satellite and began offering submeter resolution for visible-wavelength imagery and 30 hertz optical video at slightly lower resolution. Planet Labs has also launched over 30 Cubesats with intent to launch 100 more in 2015. These private initiatives to capture Earth imagery utilizing CubeSats highlight the opportunity to provide CubeSat Cryocooler Systems to enable the detectors and sensors that are being implemented. CubeSats can also be utilized for weather monitoring purposes, which require microwave imaging capabilities that the CCS would be an ideal candidate to support. Surveillance Cubesats to track geostationary objects has also been demonstrated, which shows the feasibility of using a microsat to host an optical payload capable of sensing small objects in geosynchronous orbit from LEO. These capabilities can be improved and promoted with supporting infrastructure that the CCS would provide. Thus, small satellites satisfy a growing range of data gathering missions, requiring high-accuracy sensors, indicating the number of CCS commercial applications could increase in the future.