White Papers

Miniaturizing Space COTS for Small Launcher Applications

July 02, 2018 | BY: Alan Murphy, Danny Gleeson, Jerry Festa, Stephen Willis

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The world of space flight has changed dramatically in the last decade. This change has been driven by the demand to lower the cost of deploying commercial satellite constellations with a large number of space assets to orbit and the advent of space tourism, which has in turn fueled the rise of private and commercially driven space vehicle development companies (e.g. SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Blue Origin, Virgin Galatic, RocketLab, Firefly) and the growth of space programs in other countries such as China, India, and Japan. In addition, the commercial space companies and national space agencies such as NASA and ESA are seeking to cut costs and speed development by using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment to meet the needs of future space missions.

Data Acquisition, Space

Figure 1: COTS equipment can be used in multiple space applications

These trends in the global space market have resulted in space companies and space agencies selecting and using equipment previously only validated in commercial and military flight-testing. Another trend is the move to using smaller launchers to keep costs down and increase the frequency of launches. This creates a challenge for Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) and Operational Flight Instrumentation (OFI) as the same functionality is required, but the package must be smaller. This white paper discusses the need for, and challenge of, compact space COTS systems for modern space applications, in particular for small launcher applications.

Download the 'Miniaturizing Space COTS for Small Launcher Applications' white paper to learn more about:

  • Space COTS
  • Radiation Tolerant Systems
  • Launchers
  • Space Vehicles
  • Small Launcher Applications


Alan Murphy

Author’s Biography

Alan Murphy

US Director of Technology

Alan Murphy is the Director of Technology for Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions. He holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Electronic Engineering and a further Master degree in Computer Vision and Image Processing. He has an extensive background in complex sales and business development environments with more than 15 years of international sales/business development experience.

Author’s Biography

Danny Gleeson

Space Business Development Manager

Danny Gleeson holds a degree in Physics and a masters in Astronomy, Astronautics & Instrumentation. He started his career working in McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Company, before moving to British Aerospace Space Systems Ltd and then after working for over a decade as a consultant on various space projects in Europe. He joined Curtiss-Wright in 2009 as the Space Business Development Manager and works with customers such as NASA, ESA, Boeing and SpaceX, to help deliver solutions for current and future projects.

Jerry Festa

Author’s Biography

Jerry Festa

Director of New Business-Space

Jerry Festa is a Program Manager and the Space Product Line Manager for the Curtiss-Wright Teletronics and Acra Business Lines. Jerry holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Drexel Univ. with MBA studies at Drexel and Arizona State Univ. He has over 25 years of Space Industry experience in Program Management, Systems Engineering and Business Development.

Author’s Biography

Stephen Willis

Product Marketing Specialist

Stephen Willis works for Curtiss-Wright in the role of Product Marketing Specialist. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Philosophy for research in mathematical models and their market application for risk assessment and a PG Dip in marketing and management. His current research interests include data acquisition, recording and control systems and their applications in enabling a cost effective route to gathering large amounts of data. In particular, applications of interest include flight test, crash protected recording and structural/ usage monitoring programs. He is the author of several of academic papers and magazine articles.

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