Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is developing a new micro-satellite concept optimized for future ‘responsive space’ operations, offering tactical users rapid access to high resolution satellite imagery, augmenting aerial recce obtained by aircraft and UAVs.

The core of the system is based on Rafael’s LiteSat design, a new micro-satellite platform designed for a maximum weight of 100kg, facilitating airborne launch methods. Leveraging on relatively low-cost airborne launch (from aircraft such as teh F-15) the concept calls for the deployment of several satellites in a constellation enabling high revisit frequency and rapid ‘Operationally Responsive Space’ deployment ORS.

LiteSat microsatellite design from RAFAEL
RAFAEL’s LiteSat, a micro-satellite will weigh less than 100 kg to be used for ‘Responsive Space Operations’ by deploying reconnaissance satellites by airborne or ground launched satellites on missions supporting operational requirements on quick notice. Drawing: Rafael

The satellite is designed to operate in a Low earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 300-350 km for missions lasting up to seven years. Rafael is planning to equip the LiteSat with an EO payload offering ‘sub-metric’ resolution, with the same mission management, image processing, enhancement and optimization handled by field deployable IMILITE imagery processing systems currently supporting aerial recce and UAV platforms.

The Litesat platform is designed with ultra-light structures manufactured by Rafael’s space qualified composite material labs. The company has also developed lightweight propulsion methods, based on cold gas and elctrical propulsion (HAL effect), facilitating long operation using minimal fuel storage.

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