Progress in miniaturization of satellite components allows complex missions to be performed by small spacecraft. Growing interest in the small satellite sector has led to development of standards such as CubeSat, contributing to lower costs of satellite development and increasing their service competitiveness. Small satellites are seen now as a prospective replacement for conventional sized satellites in the future, providing also services for demanding users. New paradigms of multi-satellite missions such as fractionation and federalization also open up new prospects for applications of small platforms.
To perform a comprehensive simulation and analysis of future nanosatellite missions, an adequate propulsion system model must be used. Such model should account for propulsion solutions which can be implemented on nanosatellites and used in multi-satellite missions.
In the paper, concepts of distributed satellite systems (constellations, formations, fractionated and federated) are described with a survey of past, on-going and planned multi-satellite nanosatellites missions. Currently developed propulsion systems are discussed and the models of propulsion systems embedded in the WUT satellite simulation model are presented.