Space missions usually have an exploratory purpose that advances their specific field of research. This can range from satellites that land on alien planets to gathering data about space with a CubeSat camera. As well as government funding for these projects, there is also a global market for space exploration and technology. In fact, it is a growing industry.
Space tech manufacturers are taking space machinery to new levels on a regular basis. One of the most prominent spheres of new research is micro space technology that will lighten the loads taken into space. Micro-satellites, like CubeSats, are designed to carry smaller, lighter payloads into space. By designing exploratory tech that is more compact, scientists open up new options for themselves in the field of astronomical research.
How Does CubeSat Camera Work?
One of the main benefits of the CubeSat camera design is its small size. Creating micro tech for space exploration addresses a number of problems that currently exist in the space industry. For one, launching satellites and payloads into space is extremely fuel heavy. It releases about 4000 times more carbon than a regular, commercial plane. Secondly, large satellites orbiting in space are at risk of being hit by space junk and breaking apart.
So, what is a CubeSat camera, and how does it address these issues? A CubeSat camera is essentially the payload built onto a small CubeSat satellite. CubeSat satellites are much smaller than regular satellites, with CubeSat camera modules ranging from 1-10kg.
Like other satellite cameras, CubeSat imaging devices use remote sensors to gather visual information from space. This includes spectral imaging, thermal imaging, moisture detection, and other forms of data collection. CubeSats camera resolution is also generally slightly lower than that of larger satellite cameras, although this can vary depending on the type of camera and the purpose of the project.
Why Use CubeSat Camera Technology?
Why are CubeSat camera satellites popular in the global market for modern space missions? Scientists predict the growth of micro space technology for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include:
Global markets are always seeking out the most efficient products for the lowest cost. CubeSat cameras meet the criteria of being a high-quality product that is cheaper to manufacture and use than larger products of the same type. Due to their small size, CubeSat cameras can either travel into orbit on very small, cheap rockets or piggyback with other payloads. This means that a single delivery rocket could deposit several payloads in space, cutting the resources needed to complete several individual missions.
Smaller rockets mean lower carbon emissions from space flights. By reducing the size of the satellites and the size of the payloads – in this case, a CubeSat camera – CubeSat satellites are able to limit fuel use. As the world begins to grapple with the effects of the climate crisis, fuel use is a big issue in the space tech industry.
Space exploration is vital for many modern communications systems and for monitoring the ecological and environmental effects of climate change. But, at the same time, the space industry is also one that has a large carbon footprint. Recent conversations in the industry have shown that scientists are keen to address this and to find workable solutions to it. Developing and investing in smaller satellites to enter orbit is one way that the industry can start to do this.
Space Debris Mitigation
Another environmental conundrum facing the space industry is the issue of junk in space. Space junk refers to defunct satellites orbiting the Earth or to pieces of old satellites that have broken off and continue to rotate in orbit. Space junk is either left abandoned in space with no way to remove it or is created when pieces of space litter collide and shatter. This creates dangerous micro pieces of space junk which hurtle through orbit and pose a threat to future missions.
While smaller satellites do not eliminate the problem of space junk (they are still bits of metal being sent into space), they do help limit it slightly. Regular-sized satellites are often as large as a bus and pose a real collision threat in orbit. There is more chance that pieces of debris will hit them, causing pieces to break off and adding to the space junk problem.
Smaller satellites are less likely to be hit because they are smaller. They are also more compact and have fewer parts to break off. Although it is undoubtedly true that new solutions are needed to tackle space junk, CubeSat small satellites are a step in the right direction.
The space market is seriously interested in small tech. Smaller space tech poses options in terms of mitigating environmental problems within the industry. This is something that the scientific community takes seriously and wants to address.