Spacecraft name Starling1
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 6U
Entity name NASA Ames Research Center
Institution Space agency
Entity Government (Civil / Military)
Headquarters US
Manufacturer AIVT by Blue Canyon
Launch brokerer NASA CSLI / ELaNa
Partners Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Test technologies for affordable, distributed spacecraft (“swarm”) missions.


Test technologies required to achieve affordable, distributed spacecraft (“swarm”) missions. focus on developing technologies that enable scalability and deep space application.

The mission goals include the demonstration of a Mobile Ad-hoc NETwork (MANET) through an in-space communication experiment and vision based relative navigation through the Starling Formation-flying Optical eXperiment (StarFOX).

Test multiple distributed mission technologies, including in-space networking scalable to hundreds of spacecraft, autonomous reactive operations that allow the spacecraft to reconfigure in response to external sensor data, and an optical relative navigation experiment from Stanford University. Distributed systems of small spacecraft can provide cost-effective multi-point science data collection, communications, monitoring and inspection infrastructure in Earth orbit and at exploration destinations beyond.

The distributed navigation system uses only star-tracker cameras installed on-board each nanosatellite to track the other satellites of the swarm using novel angles-only navigation techniques. Full swarm navigation is obtained without using orbit control maneuvers to improve observability, without range information, without GPS. The navigation system foresees several advanced modes of operations, including absolute orbit determination, and multi-observer navigation using the intersatellite link to exchange angle measurements.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Keywords Formation flying, Intersatellite links

Related Spacecraft

Spacecraft Status Rocket Launch Orbit
Starling1 A (Starling 1) Operational? Electron 2023-07-18 570 km, 99.47 deg
Starling1 B (Starling 2) Operational? Electron 2023-07-18 570 km, 99.47 deg
Starling1 C (Starling 3) Operational? Electron 2023-07-18 570 km, 99.47 deg
Starling1 D (Starling 4) Operational? Electron 2023-07-18 570 km, 99.47 deg

Last modified: 2023-12-24

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Created by Erik Kulu


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