Lockheed Martin- a U.S.-based aerospace company has reportedly announced plans to launch two CubeSats during the latter half of 2021 in a bid to showcase how small satellites can be used to service other satellites present in the orbit.
Notably, Lockheed Martin’s IN-space Upgrade Satellite System (LINUSS) is latest to the CubeSat’s lineup that has been designed to use technologies to perform service tasks. It has completed the environmental testing and will be used in future projects to test the capabilities of new small satellites.
For the record, LINUSS comprises of a pair of LM 15 CubeSats which was developed using Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, with Lockheed offering electro-optical payload decks. Its solar decks produces nearly 250W of power for the craft which will last for up to five years.
Sources cite that the technology will be positioned in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit at an altitude of nearly 22,236 miles or 35,786 km, where they can work on their main mission of showcasing CubeSat’s maneuvering abilities for future servicing missions.
Additionally, LINUSS will help test a miniaturized system to offer space domain awareness or to detect, monitor, and identify spent boosters, inactive satellites, and other debris.
It is worth noting that the demonstrations will comprise of onboard superior-performance data processing, inertial measurement units, low-toxicity propulsion solutions from VACCO, machine vision, 3-D printed parts, and SmartSat software by Lockheed.
According to a statement by Dr. David J. Barnhart, Program Director of LINUSS, “the technology comprises of a higher bus density, payload accommodation, and on-orbit processing as compared to any other CubeSat, allowing revolutionary mission abilities in the coming times.
“Its potential customer feedback has called LINUSS as one of the most capable CubeSat pair present off the planet.”
Lockheed Martin aims at certifying the technology to support its LM 2100 satellite bus technologies, starting with GPS IIIF Space Vehicle 13.