Small satellite

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American nanosatellite GeneSat-1

A small satellite is a satellite with a maximum mass of 500 kilograms.

In Europe, the construction of such research satellites is funded by the Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative .

The small satellites are divided into:

  • Mini satellites (100–500 kg)
  • Microsatellites (10–100 kg)
  • Nanosatellites (1–10 kg) - for example: Cubesat standard
  • Pico satellites (0.1–1 kg)
  • Femto satellites (<0.1 kg).


"Space chips"

On the occasion of the upcoming test of three femto satellites (38 x 38 x 2 mm, 10 g) by external mounting on the ISS in April 2011 , Mason Peck, engineer and futurist at Cornell University, USA, designed the target of even smaller flying objects with independent transmitters - at 14 mm square, 0.05 mm thin and only 0.1 g in weight: “Instead of a spaceship, think of a space chip .” Such small bodies move differently. They can be set in rotation by a little evaporating material, they are influenced by the solar wind and also slowed down relatively quickly by the thin earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 400 km. Only the total signal of 10,000 to 1 million such fluttering, falling chips would be detectable and could be used to research the earth's atmosphere or other celestial bodies.

Individual evidence

  1. Sweeting: Micro-Mini-Satellites for Affordable Access to Space, Reducing the Costs of Spacecraft Ground Systems and Operations, pp. 169–176 ( Memento of the original from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Cornell-designed chip sats - to flutter in solar wind - will be aboard Endeavor,, 27 April 2011, accessed August 19, 2014
  3. Cracker-size satellites to launch with Space Shuttle Endeavor,, 29 April 2011, accessed August 19, 2014