NASA will test Starling
NASA, as part of the Starling project, plans to launch four CubeSat satellites, which, as part of a swarm, will have to interact with each other in low Earth orbit. SpaceNews writes about it.
The publication writes that the ground operator will operate four spacecraft as one object. “Instead of having one monolithic spacecraft that you depend on to work properly, you can have several smaller spacecraft that are cheaper,” says Starling program manager Howard Cannon.
As part of the experiment, experts plan to conduct several experiments. In one, it is expected to test the ability of a swarm of satellites to perform their tasks in the event of the loss of one of them. The other is to test an autonomous system for orienting satellites in space, using only star sensors. As part of the third experiment, it is expected to test the autonomous control system and swarm reconfiguration.
Starling satellites are manufactured by Blue Canyon Technologies, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. The launch of the spacecraft is scheduled for the end of the year from the Vanderberg base in California using the Firefly Aerospace Alpha rocket.