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MakerSat, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Small satellite platforms such as CubeSats and nanosats are providing opportunities for NASA, DoD, ad commercial ventures to perform missions at lower cost and improved return-on-investment. There is a growing desire to enable SmallSats to perform "Long Baseline" and "Spatially Diverse" observation, measurement and collection missions. Traditionally, these types of missions would be performed using formation flying or using large, costly satellites equipped with complex deployable structures. For many sensing modalities, fundamental physics demands large apertures or long baselines to achieve the high resolution, sensitivity, and throughput required for these missions. Reliance upon fixed and deployable aperture/mast technologies prevents small satellites from matching traditional large satellite platforms in terms of performance. The proposed "MakerSat Demonstration Mission" effort will develop a third alternative that will enable small satellite platforms to perform his class of missions: "Constructable" technologies, that use in-space manufacturing technologies to enable SmallSats to "grow" significantly larger structures. A SmallSat that, once on orbit, can increase its size from one to two orders of magnitude provides a transformative option to formation flying or deployable structures. "MakerSat" is a low-cost system intended to validate the Constructable SmallSat platform and enable nanosat-class systems to perform missions such as single-pass interferometric SAR, long-baseline radio astronomy, and infrared astronomy.uring the Phase I effort, TUI will develop the Requirements, ConOps and Architecture for the demonstration mission. During the Phase II effort, TUI will develop an EM unit suitable for demonstration and testing Trusselator mission technology. During the Phase III effort, TUI will integrate a FM version of the Trusselator demonstration technology into an appropriately sized SmallSat Bus and fly the MakerSat Demonstration Mission. More »

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