A Nanosatellite 12U refers to a specific type of small satellite that falls under the broader category of “nanosatellites“.
A 12U nanosatellite is typically a cube-shaped satellite measuring 20x20x30 centimeters, with a mass ranging from 20 to 50 kilograms. The “12U” designation refers to the number of “Units” the satellite takes up, where each “Unit” is equal to 10x10x10 centimeters in size. So a 12U satellite takes up twelve of these units stacked on each other.
Nanosatellites 12U offer even greater capability and flexibility than their smaller counterparts, such as 6U and 3U nanosatellites, while still being relatively small and low-cost compared to larger satellites. These allow for more volume and can be used for the payload or platform subsystems of data, power, or pointing.