CubeSats? fast time to market and modular architectures open up a new paradigm for NASA scientists and mission planners to consider more cost effective ways to perform a greater variety of science or exploration space missions. Multipoint scientific investigations have been presented in the most recent NASA Roadmap and it is likely that these and other science objectives will be expanded upon in future decadal studies. The high cost of access to space makes deploying constellations of traditional satellites impractical. It is therefore desirable to develop much smaller and lower-cost sensor/satellite systems such that the largest number of distributed measurements can be economically made in the space environment. However, meaningful science investigations will require highly capable CubeSats with attitude determination and control systems, communications systems, data handling subsystems, and scientific payloads, all of which require high levels of power which will be enabled by the proposed technology.
CubeSats are already demonstrating commercial Earth Imaging capabilities. This market will continue to grow as other customers and agencies such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency realize the benefits offered from these CubeSat operators. Other applications in asset tracking and surveillance around the globe can also be performed using CubeSat constellations. In addition, today?s armed services are looking for faster / cheaper ways to gain eyes, ears and crosslink communication for the dynamic battlefield. Several CubeSat subsystems are being developed that will drastically improve functionality. However, higher power will be necessary to realize the full capability of these small satellites.