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  • Writer's picturehec031

Extreme Low Earth Orbit (ELEO) and Balloons

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know about the Chinese Spy Balloon that the US Air Force shot down. Several times, the question has been posed as to why you would use high-altitude balloons to spy on the US when the Chinese operate a fleet of Spy Satellites. The answer is that those satellites have limits that the balloons can overcome.


Given its lower operating altitude, this balloon can intercept communications signals and use best-in-class optical systems to gather data that they otherwise could not intercept.


So that brings us to why Gravitec Inc, is planning on deploying a fleet of CubeSats into an Extreme Low Earth Orbit (ELEO). To do this, Gravitec will use its own in-house propulsion solution, known as the Serrano Force Effect (SFE) propulsion.


Our propulsion solution will allow our satellites to simply convert Solar Power into thrust without the need for a mass ejection mechanism. SFE is a non-Newtonian Propellant-less propulsion system. As a solid-state electronic propulsion system it will have an operational lifespan in the decades with a thrust to power rations greater than 20N/Kw. The Demo-1 mission will use a 5-Watt rated SFE experimental thruster. Try that with an ion propulsion system.


Our propulsion solution is what will make a CubeSat-based E-LEO constellation of satellites possible. At such a low orbit, we will be in a better position to get higher image resolution, image quality, and frequency over target than any prior constellation of satellites. Using the best-in-class sensors like optics and signal intercept receivers, we will be able to provide customers with far better data than any of our competitors.


Using CubeSats as our primary satellite bus affords us a huge amount of flexibility in sourcing components while keeping costs down. This all translates to a higher ROI than any other comparable approach. When you are a for-profit corporation, these things matter.


In addition, a fleet of CubeSat satellites operating at an Extreme Low Earth Orbit also offers our satellites significantly lower exposure to radiation, and almost complete immunity to space debris issues. The closer you are to the target, the better the data collection. The Chinese need balloons to do this, but we will be able to do the same and better with off-the-shelf CubeSats. Did I mention they are the size of a shoebox? Try shooting that down.

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