Small Satellites, Big Future

April 08, 2013 in Space, Technology

Demand is growing for greater mission flexibility from smaller, lighter satellites and Boeing is developing a family of small satellite prototypes, called Phantom Phoenix that can quickly and affordably be manufactured and configured for specific missions.

"Building upon the success Boeing has had with expanding our 702 satellite family, we’ve rapidly developed a line of satellites to address the market between large geosynchronous spacecraft and nanosatellites," said Boeing Phantom Works President Darryl Davis.

These small satellite prototypes (the biggest is the size of a side-by-side refrigerator and the smallest is about as big as a loaf of bread) share a common architecture, flight software and simplified payload integration options. The satellites could perform missions from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to planetary science.

"Boeing has been providing quality satellites to our global customers for over five decades,” said Bruce Chesley, director of Advanced Space & Intelligence Systems. “The Phantom Phoenix prototypes are designed to give our commercial and government customers affordable, agile solutions to address the ever-evolving market and mission requirements."

The Phantom Phoenix satellite prototypes are available in three configurations including a 500 to 1,000 kg Phantom Phoenix satellite, a 180 kg ESPA-class, and a 4 to 10 kg nanosatellite. The Phantom Phoenix is designed for single and dual launch. The Phantom Phoenix ESPA attaches to a common interstage adapter allowing for launch of more than one satellite at a time. Up to six small satellites could be deployed during a single mission, reducing launch costs. The Phantom Phoenix Nano offers affordable technology for science and weather missions.