A Methodology for CubeSat Mission Selection
Over 400 CubeSats have been launched during the first 13 years of existence of this 10 cm cube-per unit; standard. The CubeSat’s flexibility to use commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts and its standardization of interfaces; have reduced the cost of developing and operating space systems. This is evident by satellite design; projects where at least 95 universities and 18 developing countries have been involved. Although most of these; initial projects had the sole mission of demonstrating that a space system could be developed and operated inhouse,; several others had scientific missions on their own. The selection of said mission is not a trivial process,; however, as the cost and benefits of different options need to be carefully assessed. To conduct this analysis in a; systematic and scholarly fashion, a methodology based on maximizing the benefits while considering programmatic; risk and technical feasibility was developed for the current study. Several potential mission categories,; which include remote sensing and space-based research, were analyzed for their technical requirements and feasibility; to be implemented on CubeSats. The methodology helps compare potential missions based on their relevance,; risk, required resources, and benefits. The use of this flexible methodology—as well as its inputs and; outputs—is demonstrated through a case study. This tool may come in handy in deciding the most convenient; mission for any organization, based on their strategic objectives.