Swarms of Spacecraft for Flyby Exploration, Mapping and Resource Prospecting

Case ID:

This invention proposes the use of swarms of small spacecraft to perform space exploration. The swarms are capable of completing the tasks normally given to larger spacecraft and can do so more efficiently. The proposed swarms are applicable for exploring small bodies in space and outer solar system bodies. The results of the proposed invention show that the swarms can fully map and obtain more scientific information through flybys instead of the orbiting conducted by traditional large spacecraft. The invention is capable of performing new missions and reducing costs which typically plague large spacecraft. The technology has the potential to help us discover a better understanding of the history of our solar system and unlock the keys to future success both on Earth and potentially elsewhere.



Space has always been an area that has piqued the interest of many people. This sentiment continues to grow with the multitude of possibilities that we now understand space exploration can unlock. There is the ever-exceeding possibility that many unanswered scientific questions can be answered through space exploration. The innovation has the ability to contribute to space exploration while reducing some of the traditional barriers, most importantly by reducing cost. With the rapid investment in space exploration, including some of the largest governments and companies in the world, there has never been a better time to get involved in space exploration.



  • Space exploration
  • Potential use in other commercial aspects, such as satellites


  • Capable of performing new space missions not possible with large spacecraft alone
  • Can exceed the performance of larger spacecraft
  • Capable of performing at a reduced cost compared to current technology
  • Is an innovative technology in a rapidly growing field
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tariq Ahmed
Sr Licensing Manager, College of Engineering
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Ravi Nallapu
Erik Asphaug
Jekan Thangavelautham