Broadcast 3901 Dr. Pat Patterson

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Pat Patterson; Topics:  Not only did we cover the details for this year's SmallSat Conference August 6-11, we talked about the growth and trends in the small satellite industry, a rapid growth in technology and capabilities, and the use of small satellites by DOD, intelligence and other government agencies.

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We welcomed Dr. Pat Patterson to the program to discuss this year's SmallSat conference in Logan, UT from August 6-11.  Check out for details and more information.  For the first part of the program, our guest provided a brief introduction to the SmallSat conference, the history of it, how it evolved over the years, growth factors and the rise of interest in the event which has corresponded to the overwhelming success trends of the small satellite industry.  The historical introduction was an important part of this discussion so don't miss it. 

We moved from the introduction to discussing the theme of the conference, "Small Satellites Out Of This World."  Our guest talked about the theme and its being appropriate for SmallSat in 2022 as more and more small satellites have been going on missions beyond LEO to the Moon, Mars and other destinations.  Pat talked about several of the BLEO missions plus he talked about the rapid pace of technological advance for the actual small satellites.  One of the questions that came ups regarding the capabilities advancement was about the small satellites growing in size, that is mass creep. Don't miss what Pat had to say in reply to that question.  Another factor Pat put into the mix was the way prices have come down, not just for launch but also for many materials.  Additional issues discussed in this segment included space debris concerns for BLEO missions along with space traffic management concerns.  Furthermore, Pat talked about the industry now being a global industry.  Once gain, he provided us with basic historical facts going back to the mid 1960's when ATT was the only commercial satellite flying.

Innovation has played a big part in small satellite advancement and Pat certainly talked to that point.  The innovation discussion led to talking about the role of small satellites and imaging in the Ukraine-Russian war.  Once again, Pat had much to say on this topic so don't miss his commentary.  The economic impact of small satellites, the information they provide and the missions they have done and have planned was noted as being significant. 

For the final segment, we talked about this year's conference.  Check it out at the conference website,  We took questions and commented on the student participation in SmallSat, the side show events and topics, the special student part of the exhibit hall, meals and luncheons, the welcome program on the quad across from the SDL on Monday evening, and the estimate of about 3,000 attending in person for this year.  Pat talked about the registration process and fees, discounts for students and other groups, plus the efforts they are going through with health officials for Covid mitigation.

Before ending the program, during his summary comments Pat mentioned the SmallSat online repository for all conferences going back 36 years.  He said there have been 20,000 downloads a month and urged people to use the material.  He provided instructions on how to access the depository which he said was free.

Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show.  You can reach Pat or other SmallSat Conference officials at




Pat talks about the upcoming 2022 SmallSat Conf. See

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29 Jul 2022 Dr. Pat Patterson
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