We identified at least eight U.S. programmatic initiatives relating to the development and flight of small satellites, as well as about 50 individual small satellite missions being developed world wide for flight over the next five years. The proliferation of small satellites has led at least one U.S. congressman to introduce legislative language to limit their further development. There are many reasons for this intense interest in small satellites. One is simply the reaction to the increasing cost and development time for the larger space missions. The time scale alone is daunting. An individual scientist or engineer must almost be prepared to accept one or two major programs as a lifelong career, which becomes a significant disincentive for the more creative individuals. More significant is the fact that funding agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to gain support for the billion dollar plus missions that represent the high end of the space program.
Russell G. Groshans,
"Small satellites", Proc. SPIE 1940, Small Satellite Technology and Applications III, (16 September 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.156635; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.156635