The Federated Satellite Systems paradigm: Concept and business case evaluation

Alessandro Golkar, Ignasi Lluch I Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper defines the paradigm of Federated Satellite Systems (FSS) as a novel distributed space systems architecture. FSS are networks of spacecraft trading previously inefficiently allocated and unused resources such as downlink bandwidth, storage, processing power, and instrument time. FSS holds the promise to enhance cost-effectiveness, performance and reliability of existing and future space missions, by networking different missions and effectively creating a pool of resources to exchange between participants in the federation. This paper introduces and describes the FSS paradigm, and develops an approach integrating mission analysis and economic assessments to evaluate the feasibility of the business case of FSS. The approach is demonstrated on a case study on opportunities enabled by FSS to enhance space exploration programs, with particular reference to the International Space Station. The application of the proposed methodology shows that the FSS concept is potentially able to create large commercial markets of in-space resources, by providing the technical platform to offer the opportunity for spacecraft to share or make use of unused resources within their orbital neighborhood. It is shown how the concept is beneficial to satellite operators, space agencies, and other stakeholders of the space industry to more flexibly interoperate space systems as a portfolio of assets, allowing unprecedented collaboration among heterogeneous types of missions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-248
Number of pages19
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume111
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Distributed satellite systems
  • Federated Satellite Systems
  • Opportunistic space networks
  • Space cloud computing

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