immimagery @ stock.adobe.com
A satellite that weighs between one and ten kilograms, able to orbit the Earth at an altitude of 520 kilometers, providing less latency compared with 36,000 km for conventional satellites. It varies from palm-to-tablet size and costs a fraction of a conventional satellite. It is usually equipped with an operating system, local storage, two-way communication protocol, selected nanosensors, and cameras. It is built with a satellite propulsion mechanism to avoid debris in space, and some models include solar panels to generate energy locally.
Its uses vary from image capture to monitoring the environment, bodies of water, wildlife, crops, and the effects of climate change. Currently, it is being deployed in constellations (groups of satellites) to enhance 5G connectivity and is becoming a key technology in supporting IoT systems. Newer, smaller versions, called micro-nano satellites, are currently being developed and deployed into space.