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A satellite bus or spacecraft bus is the general model on which multiple-production satellite spacecraft are often based. The bus is the infrastructure of a spacecraft, usually providing locations for the payload (typically space experiments or instruments).
They are commonly used for geosynchronous satellites, particularly communications satellites, but are also used in spacecraft which occupy lower orbits, occasionally including low Earth orbit missions.
A bus-derived satellite would be used as opposed to a one-off, or specially produced satellite, such as Prospero X-3. Bus-derived satellites are usually customized to customer requirements, for example with specialized sensors or transponders, in order to achieve a specific mission.
Some satellite bus examples include:
- Boeing 702
- Astrium's Eurostar
- Loral 1300
- Lockheed Martin Space Systems A2100
- Modular Common Spacecraft Bus
- STAR Bus
- ISRO's I-1K, I-2K, I-3K, I-4K, and Indian Mini Satellite bus
A bus typically consists of the following subsystems:
- Command and Data Handling (C&DH) System
- Communications system and antennas
- Electrical Power System (EPS)
- Thermal control
- Attitude Control System (ACS)
- Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) System
- Structures and trusses
- Life support (for crewed missions).
- Satellite Bus Subsystems, NEC, accessed 25 August 2012.
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