SmallSats

Microcosm has developed a family of low cost, highly agile spacecraft that can support a range of missions in low, medium, and geosynchronous Earth orbits, along with interplanetary missions. The designs are based on an all composite unibody bus structure that incorporates a combined propellant tank and payload structure that acts as a single component. It is very strong and stiff so that it can be launched on virtually any type of launch vehicle. Further, it can be modified in size and shape very easily, quickly, and at a low non-recurring cost to accommodate a broad range of possible customer payloads.

Because of its multiple km/s of delta V capability, the low Earth orbit (LEO) baseline satellite can orbit very low for extended periods of time (> 2 years) and can accommodate various sensors that benefit in particular by operating at low altitudes. For passive sensors, the benefit from operating at low altitudes is 1:1, which means that, for example, a factor of 4 decrease in altitude results in a factor of 4 decrease in aperture diameter to get the same resolution. For active sensors, the benefit from operating at low altitudes is 1:R4, which means that a factor of 4 decrease in altitude results in a factor of 256 decrease in power to get the same performance. In both cases, there is a corresponding major cost reduction benefit.