RSS feed Add to your Facebook page Watch us on Youtube

Activity title

Enabling Platform Technologies for Resilient Small Satellite Constellations for NATO Missions

Activity Reference



Applied Vehicle Technology

Security Classification




Activity type


Start date


End date



Autonomous Operation, Command and Control, Communication, Constellations, Cubesat, Multispacecraft, Resilient, Small Satellites, Smallsat, Space


Small satellites have advanced over the last decade from educational and experimental platforms to mission capable space assets. This has been facilitated through the miniaturization of payloads and the entry of dedicated small satellite launch services to the market. Small satellites are delivering science and services to academia, commerce and government. In certain cases, small satellites augment the capabilities of conventional larger spacecraft. Small satellites are also fast becoming viable platforms for effecting specific military missions. They can carry common or specialised payloads and can operate individually, together in constellations, or autonomously in swarms for higher complexity missions.


An Exploratory Team ET-181 was established under the Applied Vehicle Technology (AVT) Panel to seek input from NATO nations and organizations on the priority of technology development for small satellite constellation platforms based on NATO mission needs. A letter was formulated by the team and sent to relevant NATO organizations and national institutions with specifically targeted questions to obtain organizations. After reviewing and analyzing the responses, a number of platform technologies were identified to effectively operate small satellite constellations. A Technical Team is proposed to further communicate and advance enabling platform technologies for resilient small satellite constellations for NATO missions by organizing a Specialized Meeting in 2020.


The TT will investigate the state-of-of-the-art, gaps, opportunities and benefits to be derived by infusing new platform technologies for resilient small satellite constellations. More specifically, the potential topics to be addressed will include, but not limited to, the following technologies such as • Thermal management in small volume • Improved on-board processing capability • Deployable apertures for power and RF antennas • Propulsion and manoeuvring of small satellites • High speed communication architectures • Command and control of small satellites • Survivability of small satellites in orbit • Multi-spacecraft architectures • Mission level autonomy for constellations • High volume manufacturing techniques The Specialist’s Meeting Agenda will be designed to cover these topics and any other related topics that enhance spacecraft platform technologies for resilient small satellite constellations at the subsystem, system and constellation level.

Contact Panel Office