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Tuesday, February 2 • 14:40 - 15:00
Small Missions and Big Challenges in the New Exploration Era

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The world is changing rapidly and micro and nanosatellite missions, systems and services have brought about a genuine paradigm shift in EO and Satellite Communications with enabling capabilities now available for a mere fraction of the cost of previous national-scale projects, reducing the barrier to entry for emerging space nations and paving the way for unprecedented levels of in-space infrastructure (e.g. commercial communications mega-constellations). While national space budgets remain under pressure, the persistent, natural appeal of space exploration has led to a marked growth particularly over the last 3-4 years in global efforts to extend some of the micro-space approaches and technologies that have so transformed EO and Sat Com to missions beyond earth orbit and similarly revolutionize space science and exploration.

Advances in LEO microsat and nanosat subsystems have led to many of the traditional barriers to small deep space missions receding: e.g. processing capabilities and detector / instrument technologies in smaller packages, micro-mechanisms becoming increasingly efficient and robust. Meanwhile, by flying as secondary hosted / piggyback spacecraft alongside a primary mission, it is possible to craft mission architectures whereby propulsion and communications back to earth are no longer necessarily showstoppers. As such the first wave of small spacecraft missions in exploration are now underway – albeit initially more modest missions to orbital destinations (NASA HEOMD-SMD cubesats) and short duration planetary surface destinations (e.g. GLXP).

Canada has globally-recognized capability and potential in the area of micro-space with examples such as MOST still hailed as a poster child for the potential of small space beyond traditional EO and Sat Com. Investment in small systems has begun to increase again and indications are that Canada’s micro-space capabilities are set to flourish just as national budgets demand closer examination of lower cost options for Canada’s path forward in space exploration.

At the same time the challenges remain numerous. The frontier of space exploration today features missions facing more remote destinations, more challenging environments, greater unknowns, longer durations and / or more ambitious in situ capabilities. All under the tighter resource constraints associated with smaller, lower cost missions. Success often demands a combination of both state of the art technology advancement and careful, clever system design to eke out the maximum possible performance from subsystem combinations pushed to their limit.

This presentation considers several of the challenges facing micro and nano approaches to near term space exploration, and summarizes several examples of technology development being undertaken today by Canadensys and partners that aim to address these, from electromechanical robustness to advanced thermal control and energy storage.

avatar for Kieran Carroll

Kieran Carroll

Chief Technology Officer, Gedex Systems Inc.
Canadian microsatellite and nanosatellite pioneer. MOST, NEOSSat, BRITEs, reaction wheels, attitude control subsystems. Mission and system level design, program and project architecting and management. Terrestrial and space exploration geophysics. Gravimeters and gravity gradiometers... Read More →
avatar for Nadeem Ghafoor

Nadeem Ghafoor

Vice President, Space Exploration, Canadensys Aerospace Corporation
Dr. Nadeem Ghafoor is the Vice President of Space Exploration at Canadensys Aerospace, a Toronto-based space systems and services company with a focus on accessible space, where he is responsible for science and exploration activities spanning government and commercial markets. Nadeem... Read More →

Tuesday February 2, 2016 14:40 - 15:00
Provence Room 45 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1W2

Attendees (10)