Standardization Promotes Flexibility: A Review of CubeSats’ Success

Alexander Chin, Roland Coelho, Lori Brooks, Ryan Nugent 2008

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The initial creation of the P-POD was driven by the need for consistency and increased frequency in both pico-satellite development and access to space. The PPOD protects the launch vehicle and the primary payload as well as the CubeSats, and is compatible with many launch vehicles, making integration repeatable and cost-efficient. The P-POD can accommodate picosatellites that meet the 1kg mass and 10 centimeter cubic dimensional CubeSat standard. Mass producing a stock deployment device creates reliability in flight heritage and decreases design, manufacturing and testing costs. The P-POD provides a framework for developers to design around, and enforces adherence to the CubeSat specification. In turn, the P-POD is designed with the capability to integrate onto multiple launch vehicles. The advantages of this system are most evident in creating flexibility for CubeSat developers to launch on multiple rockets as secondary payloads. Since most satellite manufacturers must coordinate directly with the launch vehicle provider, secondary and tertiary payloads find it difficult to acquire launches. The P-POD can group multiple CubeSats to provide a competitive basis for launch as a viable secondary payload. This has allowed CubeSat developers to develop their system without a preset launch. A review of the P-POD flights over the past 5 years, and an outline of future launches consistently show the value of a standard and the benefits of flexibility.