Space Technology


Project Overview

ProjectnameREPIN – Kenngrößen und spektrale Anforderungen für Pico- und Nanosatellitensysteme
Contact PersonDipl.-Ing. Martin Buscher, M.S.
Funded byFederal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Grant No.FKZ 50 YB 1323

The project REPIN deals with the system characteristics and spectrum requirements of pico- and nanosatellites. Its purpose is to find and analyze the unique characteristics of pico- and nanosatellites that distinguish them from “traditional” larger satellite systems. Based on the results, a definition for this new class of small satellites will be proposed.

The number of small satellite systems launched into low earth orbit (LEO) is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, as a result of steady advances in microelectromechanical systems and an expanding space research field. Numerous key properties distinguish small satellite systems from their larger counterparts. In order to merge small satellites into a separate class, an analysis regarding small satellite properties must be performed.

Small satellites are commonly sub-divided by their mass (see table 1). Whereas this categorization is adequate for a general overview, it is not sufficient from a technical standpoint. Especially in terms of frequency coordination, small satellites (usually < 10 kg) feature characteristics that differ greatly from those of larger satellites. These unique characteristics are – among others – the operational lifetime, the late knowledge of orbital parameters, the launch as secondary payload or the low RF output power.

These parameters present a challenge in current frequency coordination procedures. At present, the procedures usually take several years from application to notification. Especially the late knowledge of orbital parameters makes it nearly impossible to finish coordination before launch. Hence, there is a need to analyze whether the current coordination and notification procedures of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) might have to be modified regarding the requirements of small satellite system. Since the ITU recently recognized the need of an analysis of the regulatory procedures for pico- and nanosatellites [1], the results of this project will also be used in ITU committee work. In collaboration with the DLR Space Administration, recommendations will be drafted towards the next ITU world radio conference (WRC) in 2015.

This project is a follow-up on the former ILR project PiNaNuPo. This project dealt with the potential and possible fields of application of pico- and nanosatellites. REPIN will update and expand on these results, further the analysis of the spectral properties and use the gained results in the above-mentioned ITU committee work.

As part of this project, a comprehensive database of all known small satellite missions was created. This database is freely availabe at 'Small Satellite Database'.