NASA Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI)

Bruce D. Yost


Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

Craig D. Burkhard, Ph.D.

Deputy Director

Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

About NASA’s Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

NASA’s Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI) endeavors to advance clear communications and coordination regarding small spacecraft activities across NASA; provide the US small spacecraft research community with access to mission enabling information; maintain engagement with small spacecraft stakeholders in industry, government and academia; and to support the overall small spacecraft community. The S3VI is a NASA-wide virtual institute managed at NASA Ames Research Center, with participation from multiple NASA centers and NASA Headquarters. The S3VI is jointly sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and the Science Mission Directorate.

Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

The 2020 edition of NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology State-of-the-Art report captures and distills the wealth of new information available on small spacecraft systems from NASA and other publicly available sources. This report is a survey of small spacecraft technologies sourced from open literature; it does not endeavor to be an original source, and only considers literature in the public domain to identify and classify devices. Commonly used sources for data include manufacturer datasheets, press releases, conference papers, journal papers, public filings with government agencies, news articles, presentations, and the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute Federated Search.

The S3VI hosts a public webinar series to share information with the community at large on work NASA, partner agencies, and other members of the community are performing in the area of small spacecraft. Speakers from NASA centers, partner agencies and NASA-funded universities present on a wide variety of small spacecraft topics including all phases of mission design, development, and operations; regulatory and process-oriented requirements; exploration and scientific strategies, and opportunities for the community.

The S3VI publishes a quarterly digest of resources and activities occurring in the NASA and external small spacecraft communities. With the quickened pace of small spacecraft technology innovation, associated missions, and developments in launch capabilities, the amount of information available on the Internet is significant.

The S3VI newsletter offers a summary of links to our more popular web portal content to include mission design tools, recent NASA small spacecraft developments and accomplishments, events, solicitations, as well as other useful information.

If you are interested in receiving the newsletter, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Want to learn about advanced SmallSat technologies that could enable your future mission or be accessed for commercialization? Sign up to attend the SmallSat Technology Partnerships (STP) Technology Exposition being held Monday, May 24.

The virtual STP TechExpo will highlight advanced communications, navigation, constellation coordination, and other SmallSat technologies emerging from recent university-NASA partnerships funded under NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program’s STP initiative. STP teams in attendance will answer questions about technology transfer for your mission or product.

Visit the 2021 TechExpo webpage for more information.

NASA’s S3VI uses web technologies, databases, and virtual collaboration tools to collect, organize, and disseminate small spacecraft knowledge for the benefit of NASA and the community. S3VI has established this federated search capability that serves as an entry point to the SmallSat Parts On Orbit Now (SPOON) database and other NASA-internal and external databases to allow the public to search multiple databases for small spacecraft parts, technologies and conference proceedings. 

The Small Satellite Reliability Initiative (SSRI), in conjunction with NASA’s S3VI, has developed the SSRI Knowledge Base to improve mission confidence for small spacecraft. The SSRI Knowledge Base is a comprehensive online tool that consolidates and organizes resources, best practices, and lessons learned from previous small satellite missions. This free, publicly available tool is available to the entire SmallSat community at

Please visit the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute website for more information or email us.

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