Why Small Satellites and Why This Book?
At the beginning of the Space Age, all satellites tended to be small due to limited lift capabilities of early launch vehicles. The weight (mass) of early satellites such as Explorer I and Intelsat I (or Early Bird) only ranged within tens of kilograms. As launchers and rocket systems became more capable and experimental satellites were designed to carry out more sophisticated missions, satellites became bigger and more massive due to economies of scale and increasing global demand. Space stations designed to support humans aboard have become massive. Nevertheless, a number of space applications continue to make sense for small satellites (i.e., cube-sats, micro satellites, nano satellites, or small spacecraft within a constellation). Such small satellites still make sense for a number of different financial, operational, or technical reasons. In some cases, constellations of small satellites can accomplish feats that one large satellite cannot.