Small satellites is a term that applies to any artificial satellites of the Earth, ranging in size from a washing machine to a box that fits in the palm of your hand. The latter include kubsats.
1. Cubsat is a dimensional standard for micro- and nanosatellites, proposed at the very end of the last century in the United States. Due to their small size, such satellites are often launched on rockets, which are scheduled to launch other, more bulky spacecraft into orbit. This significantly reduces the cost of obtaining a modern satellite with high functionality. Today the field of application of nanosatellites is wider than ever - from remote sensing of the Earth to space observations.
2. The peculiarity of cubesats is fixed dimensions that change multiple, that is, a 1U cubesat (unit) is a space cube of 10x10x10 cm, 2U is already two cubes (10x10x20 cm), 3U is 10x10x30 cm. The reached limit is 12U so far. 1U, 3U and 6U are the three most common versions.
3. Cubsats were developed by researchers at California State University Polytechnic and Stanford University, who set out to create satellites that have a standardized format and that would be easier to launch and create. It was assumed that students could take part in their design, construction and launch.
4. Small satellites are often delivered to their destination on rockets intended for other missions. They are launched as an additional load to conventional satellites using the Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD). One P-POD is large enough to launch three satellites of 10x10x10 cm or less with a total size of no more than 3U.
5. Nanosatellites allow you to test new technologies at a much lower cost. Their small size and relatively short time period required for design and construction make it possible to test a new sensor or observation method from space in "working" conditions without the risk of bankruptcy.
6. The small size of cubesats makes scientists look for new ways to solve old problems. Fitting a full-fledged scientific instrument into an apparatus the size of a loaf of bread is not an easy task. This means that researchers must think outside the box. Often kubsats are designed to work in a group, some groups require a larger satellite to communicate with the Earth.
7. The advent of small satellites does not mean the end for large spacecraft. This is where size matters. The quality of the data received and the lifespan are just two components that cubsats have yet to improve, if at all possible. On the shoulders of nanosatellites is often the task of supplementing the data collected by large satellites, as well as covering most of the Earth, moving in an orbit that is dangerous for large vehicles. Together, large and small artificial vehicles give us a more complete picture of our changing planet.