Publication

Architectures of Small Satellite Programs in Developing Countries

April 1, 2014

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Wood, D. & A. Weigel, “Architectures of Small Satellite Programs in Developing Countries,” Acta Astronautica, Vol 97, April – May 2014, pp 109-121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2013.12.015

Abstract

Global participation in space activity is growing as satellite technology matures and spreads. Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are creating or reinvigorating national satellite programs. These countries are building local capability in space through technological learning. This paper analyzes implementation approaches in small satellite programs within developing countries. The study addresses diverse examples of approaches used to master, adapt, diffuse and apply satellite technology in emerging countries. The work focuses on government programs that represent the nation and deliver services that provide public goods such as environmental monitoring. An original framework developed by the authors examines implementation approaches and contextual factors using the concept of Systems Architecture. The Systems Architecture analysis defines the satellite programs as systems within a context which execute functions via forms in order to achieve stakeholder objectives. These Systems Architecture definitions are applied to case studies of six satellite projects executed by countries in Africa and Asia. The architectural models used by these countries in various projects reveal patterns in the areas of training, technical specifications and partnership style. Based on these patterns, three Archetypal Project Architectures are defined which link the contextual factors to the implementation approaches. The three Archetypal Project Architectures lead to distinct opportunities for training, capability building and end user services.

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