CATSAT: NASA’s flirtation with small satellites


In 1994 NASA launched the Student Demonstration Explorer Initiative, with the aim of stimulating interest in space technology by building small, fast, low cost satellites in universities. Of the 3 missions funded, SNOE is in orbit and operating well, TERRIERS was launched but failed in orbit, and CATSAT was cancelled before launch. NASA has not repeated the experiment. This talk will review programme, with particular emphasis on CATSAT, and give a personal view of the lessons learnt.