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Review

Large Constellations of Small Satellites: A Survey of Near Future Challenges and Missions

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna, Via Fontanelle 40, I-47121 Forlì (FC), Italy
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Aerospace 2020, 7(9), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7090133
Received: 16 July 2020 / Revised: 2 September 2020 / Accepted: 3 September 2020 / Published: 7 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Aerospace Sciences and Technology)
Constellations of satellites are being proposed in large numbers; most of them are expected to be in orbit within the next decade. They will provide communication to unserved and underserved communities, enable global monitoring of Earth and enhance space observation. Mostly enabled by technology miniaturization, satellite constellations require a coordinated effort to face the technological limits in spacecraft operations and space traffic. At the moment in fact, no cost-effective infrastructure is available to withstand coordinated flight of large fleets of satellites. In order for large constellations to be sustainable, there is the need to efficiently integrate and use them in the current space framework. This review paper provides an overview of the available experience in constellation operations and statistical trends about upcoming constellations at the moment of writing. It highlights also the tools most often proposed in the analyzed works to overcome constellation management issues, such as applications of machine learning/artificial intelligence and resource/infrastructure sharing. As such, it is intended to be a useful resource for both identifying emerging trends in satellite constellations, and enabling technologies still requiring substantial development efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: large constellations; operations; traffic; regulation; spacecraft large constellations; operations; traffic; regulation; spacecraft
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MDPI and ACS Style

Curzi, G.; Modenini, D.; Tortora, P. Large Constellations of Small Satellites: A Survey of Near Future Challenges and Missions. Aerospace 2020, 7, 133. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7090133

AMA Style

Curzi G, Modenini D, Tortora P. Large Constellations of Small Satellites: A Survey of Near Future Challenges and Missions. Aerospace. 2020; 7(9):133. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7090133

Chicago/Turabian Style

Curzi, Giacomo, Dario Modenini, and Paolo Tortora. 2020. "Large Constellations of Small Satellites: A Survey of Near Future Challenges and Missions" Aerospace 7, no. 9: 133. https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7090133

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