24/7 Space News
MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA's Starling CubeSats set in motion: an innovative swarm in LEO
Starling cubesats in orbit - illustration only.
ADVERTISEMENT
     
NASA's Starling CubeSats set in motion: an innovative swarm in LEO
by Brad Bartz
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jul 19, 2023

NASA's quartet of Starling CubeSats has successfully deployed from Rocket Lab's Electron kick stage, marking a significant step forward in the field of satellite swarm technologies. These cutting-edge spacecraft, designed to work in cohesion as a "swarm", have successfully reached low Earth orbit and are set to commence their mission of testing advanced technologies for autonomous maneuvering, networking, decision-making, and relative positioning.

The immediate task for the Starling swarm is to power up and establish initial contact with the ground. This process may transpire overnight or within the ensuing few days.

The Starling mission, funded by NASA's Small Spacecraft Technology program at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, and the Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, aims to enable small satellites to cooperate autonomously, without the need for real-time updates from mission control. This technology is critical to future deep space missions, where highly autonomous spacecraft will be indispensable.

Program Manager for NASA's Small Spacecraft Technology program, Roger Hunter, commented on the mission's ambitious nature. "Starling, and the capabilities it brings for autonomous command and control for swarms of small spacecraft, will enhance NASA's abilities for future science and exploration missions. The mission represents a significant step forward."

The Starling project has four primary capabilities it intends to test: autonomous maneuvering as a group, the establishment of a flexible communications network amongst the spacecraft, maintaining an understanding of each other's relative position, and independent reaction to new data from onboard sensors. Ultimately, the mission aims to create a satellite swarm capable of functioning as an autonomous community, adept at responding to their environment and executing tasks as a team.

The notion of swarm technology offers intriguing prospects for future space missions. Not only does it allow for scientific measurements to be collected from multiple points in space, but it also ensures the resilience of the mission against individual spacecraft malfunctions. The swarm's inherent redundancy means that even if one satellite fails, the remaining members can compensate, ensuring mission continuity.

This first Starling mission will test four state-of-the-art technologies. The ROMEO (Reconfiguration and Orbit Maintenance Experiments Onboard) software, which enables autonomous planning and execution of maneuvers, is first among them. The Starling spacecraft are also equipped with a Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET), a robust communications system that auto-routes data based on network conditions, and star tracker sensors for maintaining relative positions within the swarm.

In addition, the Distributed Spacecraft Autonomy (DSA) experiment will showcase how a satellite swarm can collaboratively optimize data collection by analyzing science data onboard. If one satellite detects an interesting phenomenon in Earth's ionosphere, it will communicate this to the rest of the swarm, enhancing the capacity for autonomous scientific observations.

Following the completion of its primary mission, Starling will collaborate with SpaceX's Starlink satellite constellation to test advanced space traffic management techniques. This collaboration will aid in establishing rules of the road for space traffic management, setting up an automated system for ensuring safe operation of different organizations' autonomous spacecraft in low-Earth orbit.

The Starling mission's successful launch and ongoing operations emphasize the importance of autonomous robotic systems in both crewed and uncrewed space exploration. The ability to operate satellites in a networked, autonomous, and coordinated manner represents a giant leap in enabling humanity to explore further and conduct more advanced science than ever before.

Related Links
Starling at NASA
Microsat News and Nanosat News at SpaceMart.com

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA's Starling Mission Sending Swarm of Satellites into Orbit
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jul 12, 2023
This July, NASA is sending a team of four six-unit (6U)-sized CubeSats into orbit around Earth to see if they're able to cooperate on their own, without real-time updates from mission control. While that kind of autonomous cooperation may not sound too difficult for humans, this team will be robotic - composed of small satellites to test out key technologies for the future of deep space missions, where more complex and autonomous spacecraft will be essential. Once launched, the four CubeSats will ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
MICROSAT BLITZ
In new space race, scientists propose geoarchaeology can aid in preserving space heritage

Geophysics student employs 800-year-old method for Lunar GPS system

NASA's Bill Nelson to discuss bilateral cooperation in South America

On space, poll shows most Americans support NASA's role, U.S. presence

MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA picks Lockheed Martin to develop nuclear rocket

Kuaizhou 1A launches satellites into orbit

Rocket Lab set to boost Capella's satellite constellation with upcoming launch

World's first methane-fueled rocket makes history, courtesy of LandSpace and GCL

MICROSAT BLITZ
Sleeping the Sol Away: Sol 3894

Unveiling Mars' Past: Olympus Mons as a Gigantic Volcanic Isle

Perseverance sees Mars in a new light

Sols 3895-3897: Navigating Through the Crater Cluster

MICROSAT BLITZ
China's Space Station Opens Doors to Global Scientific Community

China's Lunar Mission targets manned landing by 2030

Shenzhou XVI crew set to conduct their first EVA

Timeline unveiled for China's advanced manned spacecraft's inaugural flight

MICROSAT BLITZ
From AI to Nuclear: UK launches Strategic Plan for Future Space Exploration

Future of Satellite Internet: OneWeb vs Starlink

Successful entry into service of the multi-mission EUTELSAT 10B satellite

Amazon invests $120 million in internet satellite facility

MICROSAT BLITZ
Goddard, Wallops Engineers Test Printed Electronics in Space

Optimum Technologies unveils innovative spacecraft facility in Northern Virginia

Revolutionary materials and techniques transform aircraft construction

Billions of nanoplastics released when microwaving baby food containers

MICROSAT BLITZ
Water discovered in rocky planet-forming zone offers clues on habitability

NASA lab hopes to find life's building blocks in asteroid sample

New study reveals Roman Telescope could find 400 Earth-mass rogue planets

Does this exoplanet have a sibling sharing the same orbit

MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA's Juno Is Getting Ever Closer to Jupiter's Moon Io

SwRI team identifies giant swirling waves at the edge of Jupiter's magnetosphere

First ultraviolet data collected by ESA's JUICE mission

Unveiling Jupiter's upper atmosphere

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.