Space Autonomous Mission for Swarming and Geolocation with Nanosatellites (SAMSON) is a new satellite mission, led by the Technion (PI: P. Gurfil) and supported by the Israeli space industries. SAMSON will include three nano-satellites, built based on the CubeSat standard. The mission is planned for at least one year, and has two main goals:
(1) Demonstrate long-term autonomous cluster flight of multiple satellites, with algorithms based on DSSL's ERC-funded FADER study; and
(2) Determine the position of a cooperative terrestrial emitter based on time difference of arrival (TDOA) and/or frequency difference of arrival (FDOA).
Additional payloads may include a micro Pulsed Plasma Thruster (PPT) and a new space processor. The configuration of each satellite will be a 6U CubeSat. The mission is planned to be launched in 2015. The three satellites will be launched together with the same semimajor axis, eccentricity and inclination and separated in orbit to form a cluster with relative distances ranging from 100 m for the closest two, to 250 km for the farthest two. One satellite will be designated as "leader", and the others would serve as "followers". The followers will perform relative orbital element corrections to satisfy the relative distance constraints. The satellites will have the ability to switch roles if commanded from ground.