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Building resilience by connecting the dots

Lowe, Christopher and Macdonald, Malcolm (2017) Building resilience by connecting the dots. In: 15th Reinventing Space Conference, 2017-10-24 - 2017-10-26, University of Strathclyde Technology & Innovation Centre. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    Satellites typically operate in isolation from their orbiting neighbours, leaving them susceptible to even the most minor of failures. Loss of a payload, radio or critical supporting sub-system could render the platform useless, an unfavourable situation for mission stakeholders. There is however a partial solution through the addition of inter-satellite networking, which offers not only value in terms of general performance, but added resilience to failure in the form of degraded operations. While a traditional platform exhibits two fundamental states: operational (which includes the collection and dissemination of data) and failed, a network-capable platform (i.e. one with an inter-satellite communication capability) exhibits six states, each reached through a unique combination of sub-system failures. The result of this added resilience is a reduction in the likelihood of the satellite reaching a fully-failed state, at the burden of higher financial cost and complexity.