What are different types of small satellites based on their size? Discuss the multiple advantages that small satellites offer over the conventional ones.

Small satellites are also called miniature satellites. These are of low mass & size, usually less than 500kg. They provide an alternative to larger conventional ones. These are used for earth observation, communication, weather assessment, navigation and disaster management. Based on size and mass these are classified as:
Minisatellite– It is an artificial satellite with wet mass between 100 to 500 kg
Microsatellite (wet mass between 10 and 100 kg)
Nanosatellite (wet mass between 1 and 10 kg)
Picosatellite (wet mass between 0.1 and 1 kg)
Femtosatellite (wet mass between 10 and 100 grams)
Advantages of small satellites over the conventional ones:

  • Huge budget requirement is one of the major constraints in successful implementation of space programmes. Small satellites involve very low budget and therefore can foster better and cheaper space
  • Small satellites are friendlier to modern and less power-hungry electronics equipments
  • Small satellites require shorter development time and can reduce overall mission cost. Also, being reasonably inexpensive these encourage private investment and serve as a forerunner of space missions.
Question for UPSC Mains:
What are different types of small satellites based on their size? Discuss the multiple advantages that small satellites offer over the conventional ones. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Published: January 25, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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