The Technology of Small Satellites
The design and manufacture of small satellites can be broken down into two major categories of spacecraft bus and payload. A spacecraft bus is the platform that allows the spacecraft to support a particular function in space, and the payload is the hardware that is specifically designed to carry out the mission (such as telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, meteorological sensing, surveillance or situational awareness, or some other form of space-related experiment or in-orbit testing of new technology). The bus must be able to provide the power; the thermal environment; pointing and stabilization; and the telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C) capabilities needed to support the mission. The TT&C systems must have assigned frequencies to support the linking-up of the onboard systems with ground-based tracking and command signals as well as the relay of data to the ground to make sure the satellite is performing correctly.