Source: ITU WP4A
With the increasing maturity of satellite communication technology and satellite manufacturing technology, the development of low-Earth orbit and small satellites, known as mini-, micro-, nano-and pico- satellites, has risen dramatically and the industry has experienced an unprecedented boom in growth. The development of traditional satellites is long and costly. Quite often it is the prerogative of national level entities or some commercial companies with significant market power and resources to develop, launch and operate these satellites. On the other hand, some small satellites are short-duration mission satellites which missions have a limited period of validity of not more than typically three years. In the field of small satellites, the technical and capital barriers to entry are lower, and satellite development can be rapidly completed by ordinary enterprises or smaller administrations due to their lower cost, simpler design, flexible launching and payload-carrying configurations.
In view of the diverse application modes of small satellites, their inherent cost and development advantages, and the fact that this field is attracting new entrants that may lack knowledge of, or experience with, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the ITU Radio Regulations (RR) and procedures, this handbook provides an overview of key issues and information to actual and potential participants in the small satellite segment of the industry.
Since small satellites normally do not remain fixed relative to the Earth as in a geostationary satellite, this Handbook will focus on issues related with non-geostationary satellite networks (non-GSO).