Communications satellite bus and payload module

A satellite bus (or spacecraft bus) is the main body and structural component of a satellite or spacecraft, in which the payload and all scientific instruments are held.

Bus-derived satellites are different to specially produced satellites. Bus-derived satellites are usually customized to customer requirements, for example with specialized sensors or transponders, in order to achieve a specific mission.[1][2][3][4]

They are commonly used for geosynchronous satellites, particularly communications satellites, but are also used in spacecraft which occupy lower orbits, occasionally including low Earth orbit missions.


Main article: Comparison of satellite buses

Diagram of the James Webb Space Telescope's spacecraft bus. The solar panel is in green and the light purple flats are radiator shades.[5]

Some satellite bus examples include:


Main article: Spacecraft § Subsystems

A bus typically consists of the following subsystems:[6]

See also


  1. ^ "TU Delft: Spacecraft bus subsystems". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  2. ^ "Spacecraft Systems". Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  3. ^ "The James Webb Space Telescope". Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  4. ^ "Antrix Corporation Ltd - Satellites > Spacecraft Systems & Sub Systems". 2009-09-24. Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  5. ^ "Status of the JWST Sunshield and Spacecraft" (PDF).
  6. ^ Satellite Bus Subsystems Archived 2012-09-05 at the Wayback Machine, NEC, accessed 25 August 2012.