Societal space systems: A future to fractionated space systems

Alejandro Salado, Roshanak Nilchiani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Fractionated space systems have been proposed as a higher-value alternative to monolithic space systems under uncertain environments. In fractionated space systems a satellite is split into free-flying stand- Alone fractions, yet forming a closed and individual entity, that provide levels of flexibility and adaptability that make a space system capable of overcoming a number of uncertain scenarios during its development and operational life. Researches have explored business cases and prepared feasibility analyses for this type of missions. In particular, significant effort is focused on the assessment of the circumstances that favour fractionated space systems design, under the current socio- Technical-economical context. However, with a first mission scheduled to fly by the end of the year the time comes to think about what comes next. Using evolution of human society as a paradigm (structural elements, person, tribe, and society) this paper proposes the concept of Societal Space Systems as the natural evolution of the next generations of the fractionated space systems: fractions create infrastructure that serve the purpose to support independent payloads or missions. For example, a payload could be launched into space and make use of the available infrastructures (energy, communication, positioning, processing services, and alike) on a fee, similar to the way that individuals make use of energy, communication, navigation, etc. The present paper is based on a scenario in which fractionated space systems have been consolidated and their possibilities expand beyond decomposing a satellite in multiple pieces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication64th International Astronautical Congress 2013, IAC 2013
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781629939094
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event64th International Astronautical Congress 2013, IAC 2013 - Beijing, China
Duration: Sep 23 2013Sep 27 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


Other64th International Astronautical Congress 2013, IAC 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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