A New Platform Aims to Make Small Satellites Plug-and-Play

Aerospace engineers assembling payloads onto the Slingshot platform

Advancing Modularity for the Future of Space

“There have been a lot of efforts to create standard interfaces in space. As is common in the tech world, a standard that satisfies everyone can end up satisfying no one, because the standard can get weighed down by a lot of requirements and things can get very complicated very quickly,” said Dr. Randy Villahermosa, general manager of Aerospace’s iLab. “With Slingshot, we’ve created an open standard interface where payloads plug together with a satellite, using a reduced number of requirements. This enables clients who want to get to space as quickly as possible to do so, without adding risk.”

The Slingshot platform uses a SatCat5 ethernet switch architecture, which is able to simultaneously provide high throughput and low-power consumption.

A New Standard for SmallSats

A key feature of the Slingshot platform is the use of SatCat5, an open source mixed-media ethernet switch architecture that enables a variety of devices to communicate on the same network. Unlike other existing standards, such as CAN and SpaceWire, SatCat5 is able to simultaneously provide high throughput and low-power consumption using ethernet technologies and an end-to-end payload development kit.

Slingshot 1 Mission Readies for Launch

Slingshot will host 17 different payloads on a 12U Blue Canyon Bus smallsat.

Enabling New Opportunities for Space

  • BLINKER — A GPS transponder for space traffic management.
  • HYPERA hydrogen peroxide thruster.
  • LASERCOMM — A next-generation space/ground lasercom downlink.

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The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation

We operate the only federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) committed exclusively to the space enterprise.