Small satellites are displaying their necessity in Earth science

Recently, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has been championing for small satellites in the Small Satellite Conferences. The association started naming and awarding the best performing small satellite companies to encourage more progress in this sector. 

Missions like HARP started studying cloud and atmospheric particles to display their importance in the field of science. HARP tests equipment technology to study cloud patterns and the particles in the atmosphere and advise satellite companies to survive launch missions. 

The chief of operations in the HARP project at SDL, Tim Neilsen, stated that the project would demonstrate the efficiency of small satellites in giving specific details that are trustworthy compared to large satellites that only provide a general perspective. The miniature sensors on small satellites take full details of the surroundings and allow scientists to make crucial inferences about the science in the low-Earth orbit. 

HARP is NASA’s project to study Earth science technology using small satellites or cubesats with miniaturized scientific equipment. This program is vital since the small satellites can host small scientific and technological instruments that would perform poorly in large satellites. These instruments are those that tend to perform poorly because the large satellites have complex systems that drain these small instruments. 

NASA started the HARP program from its mega program called InVEST. InVEST is a program that keeps tabs on the scientific experiments by small satellites motivating these cubesats to consider different scientific dimensions of the science in the Earth atmosphere. 

InVEST has been manufacturing miniature instruments to suit the cubesats that run around the low-Earth orbit. One of the devices can measure the intensity of the solar radiation penetrating the atmosphere of Earth. 

The program is currently examining the frequencies of communications satellites operating in the P-band since these signals can venture the deep of the Earth to calculate crucial aspects like moisture. The other ongoing mission by InVEST is the Nanosat Atmospheric Chemistry Hyperspectral Observation System, which explores the fossil fuel emissions, greenhouse gases, and volcanic particles roaming the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Small satellites have proven to give additional details for big missions that want to be resolute. Some companies like Planet and Spire have developed small cubesats that provide data on Earth-imaging and allow meteorologists to predict a particular region’s weather. 

Although large satellites continue to dominate the space industry, companies are slowly aspiring to have small satellites to help in the big missions’ architectural predictions before they kick-off. This move enables them to plan for unprecedented operations that would have otherwise been catastrophic for the big missions. 

To conclude, small satellites can form an interconnected communication network vital for companies offering space data. These companies can collect vast quantities of data and classify it before distributing it to their customers. 

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