Author Topic: ESA - CubeSats thread  (Read 2844 times)

Offline bolun

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ESA - CubeSats thread
« on: 11/26/2017 04:19 PM »
ESA has recently updated the page about CubeSats technology: Technology CubeSats

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What are CubeSats?

These nanosatellites typically weigh between 1 and 10 kilograms and follow the popular ‘CubeSat’ standard, which defines the outer dimensions of the satellite within multiple cubic units of 10x10x10 cm. For instance, a 3-unit CubeSat has dimensions of 10x10x30 cm and weighs about 3-4 kg. This is typically the minimum size which can accommodate small technology payloads.

Fixing the satellite body dimensions promotes a highly modular, highly integrated system where satellite subsystems are available as ’commercial off the shelf’ products from a number of different suppliers and can be stacked together according to the needs of the mission. Furthermore, the standard dimensions also allows CubeSats to hitch a ride to orbit within a container, which simplifies the accommodation on the launcher and minimises flight safety issues, increasing the number of launch opportunities as well as keeping the launch cost low.

Due to their high degree of modularity and extensive use of commercial off the shelf subsystems, CubeSat projects can be readied for flight on a much more rapid basis compared to traditional satellite schedules, typically within one to two years.

Why is ESA interested in CubeSats?

CubeSats have already proved their worth as educational tools. In addition, they have various promising applications in the ESA context:

- As a driver for drastic miniaturisation of systems, ‘systems-on-chips’, and totally new approach to packaging and integration, multi-functional structures, embedded propulsion

- As an affordable means of demonstrating such technologies, together with novel techniques such as formation flying, close inspection or rendezvous and docking

- As an opportunity to carry out distributed multiple in-situ measurements, such as obtaining simultaneous multi-point observations of the space environment (which might include the thermosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere or charged particle flux)

- As a means of deploying small payloads – for instance, very compact radio receivers or optical cameras where the potential deficit in performance may be largely compensated by the multitude of satellites involved (e.g. in constellations or swarms)

- As a means of augmenting solar system exploration with – for instance, a stand-alone fleet capable of rendezvous with multiple targets (e.g. near-Earth objects) or a swarm carried by a larger spacecraft and deployed at the destination (e.g. Moon, asteroid/comet, Mars).

Technology in-orbit demonstration CubeSats

Since 2013, ESA has begun a number of CubeSat missions funded under the In-Orbit Demonstration part of the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP). The first IOD project was as follows:

- GOMX-3 (led by Gomspace, Denmark): a 3-unit CubeSat mission to demonstrate aircraft ADS-B signal reception and geostationary telecommunication satellite spot beam signal quality using an L-band reconfigurable software defined radio payload. A miniaturised high data rate X-band transmitter developed by Syrlinks and funded by the French space agency CNES was flown as a third party payload. The satellite was deployed from the International Space Station on 5 October 2015 and re-entered Earth’s atmosphere after 1 year of successful operations.

The following IOD missions are being readied for flight:

- GOMX-4B (led by Gomspace, Denmark): a 6-unit CubeSat mission to demonstrate Inter-Satellite Link and propulsion technologies when flying in tandem with the GOMX-4A (developed by Gomsapce for the Danish Ministry of Defence). The mission will also carrying additional technology payloads: the HyperScout compact hyperspectral imager (Cosine, The Netherlands), a new star tracker (Innovative Solutions in Space, The Netherlands), and the ESA CHIMERA experiment exposing new electronic components to space. The satellites are scheduled for launch in February 2018.
 
- QARMAN (led by the Von Karman Institute, Belgium): a 3-unit CubeSat mission to demonstrate re-entry technologies, particularly novel heatshield materials, a new passive aerodynamic drag stabilisation system, and the transmission of telemetry data during re-entry via data relay satellites in low-Earth orbit, due to be launched to/deployed from the International Space Station in 2018

- SIMBA (led by the Royal Meteorological Institute Belgium with KU Leuven): a 3-unit CubeSat mission to measure the Total Solar Irradiance and Earth Radiation Budget climate variables with a miniaturised radiometer instrument, due to be launched in 2019 on the Vega Small Satellite Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept flight

- Picasso (led by Belgian Institute of Space Aeronomy with VTT Finland and Clyde Space, UK): a 3-unit CubeSat mission to measure Stratospheric Ozone distribution, Mesospheric Temperature profile and Electron density in the ionosphere using a miniaturised multi-spectral imager for limb sounding of solar disk, and a multi-Needle Langmuir Probe, due to be launched in 2019 on the Vega Small Satellite Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept flight

- RadCube (led by C3S with MTA EK in Hungary, Imperial College London in UK, and Astronika in Poland): a 3-unit CubeSat mission to demonstrate miniaturised instrument technologies that measure in-situ the space radiation and magnetic field environment in Low Earth Orbit for space weather monitoring purposes. The platform developed by C3S will also be demonstrated in flight. The project is currently in the preliminary design phase and planned to be ready for flight in late 2019.

- PRETTY (led by RUAG Austria with TU Graz and Seibersdorf Laboratories): a 3-unit CubeSat mission to demonstrate the technique of GNSS Reflectometry at low grazing angles for altimetry (primarily for sea ice detection) using a new software-defined GNSS receiver. Additionally, a miniaturised radiation dosimeter will also be tested in flight. The project is currently in the preliminary design phase.

Mission application studies

In addition to the IOD missions, numerous studies focussed on the mission applications of nano-satellite systems and miniaturised payloads have been performed under funding of the ESA General Studies Programme (GSP), including:

- Remote Sensing with Cooperative Nano-satellites -four parallel ‘Sysnova’ studies

- Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) Cubesat Opportunity Payloads with Intersatellite Networking Sensors (COPINS) –four parallel ‘Sysnova’ studies

- Lunar Cubesats for Exploration (LUCE) –four parallel ‘Sysnova’ studies

- SpectroCube mission: beyond LEO astrobiology/astrochemistry experiments –internal CDF study

- Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer (MARGO) stand-alone deep space CubeSat –internal CDF study.
« Last Edit: 11/27/2017 09:30 AM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #1 on: 11/26/2017 04:23 PM »
Deep-space CubeSat

M-Argo is designed as ESA’s first CubeSat to enter interplanetary space.

Studied in the Concurrent Design Facility, ESA’s highly networked facility for designing novel missions, the ‘Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer’, or M-Argo, is a nanospacecraft based on the CubeSat design employing standardised 10 cm cubic units within which electronic boards can be stacked and subsystems attached.

M-Argo would be a 12-unit CubeSat – with a 22 x 22 x 34 cm body – that would hitch a ride on the launch of a larger space mission whose trajectory takes it beyond Earth orbit, such as astronomy missions to a Sun–Earth Lagrange point.

The CubeSat would then use its own electric thruster to take it into deep space and rendezvous with an asteroid, which it would survey using a multispectral camera and a laser altimeter. Other miniaturised payloads are also being considered.

ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team has identified a total of 83 near-Earth asteroids suitable for a CubeSat rendezvous. The study prioritised spinning bodies of around 50 m diameter as a never-before explored class of asteroid, although the target list also includes larger bodies of up to 300 m.

“For now, M-Argo is just a concept, but provides us very valuable information about technology developments that we need to put in place for a flight demonstration in the near future,” comments Roger Walker, overseeing ESA’s Technology CubeSats.

“It would cost around a tenth of the smallest deep-space mission to date, democratising space exploration beyond Earth, bringing it into the reach of new actors, in the same way low-Earth orbit has already been opened up by CubeSats.

“Each time we survey a new asteroid, our understanding of these small bodies has been transformed. With such a cost reduction, we could send 10 to 20 CubeSats to scout different asteroids and build up a wide survey of the near-Earth population, getting to know the neighbours better for the purposes of science and identifying potential in-situ resources for future exploitation.”

The next step is to undertake supporting research and development through ESA’s General Support Technology Programme, which is tasked with developing promising technologies for space, and identifying a suitable piggyback launch opportunity.

To become reality, M-Argo would require miniaturised solar electric propulsion, a flat array antenna to boost radio signal gain and an X-band transponder to support communication and ranging to the ground stations back on Earth, as a means of deep-space navigation.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/11/Deep-space_CubeSat

Image credit: ESA-Jacky Huart

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #2 on: 11/26/2017 04:28 PM »
FSSCat

FSSCat proposes a constellation of two 6U CubeSats that provide data on Earth’s ice and soil moisture content to complement the Sentinel fleet. FSSCat took the top prize at the 2017 Copernicus Masters Competition.

- Related article: Smallsats win big prize at Copernicus Masters

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/11/FSSCat

Image credit: UPC
« Last Edit: 11/26/2017 04:37 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #3 on: 11/26/2017 04:35 PM »
ESA´s latest technology CubeSat cleared for launch site: link

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GomX-4B, ESA’s latest and largest technology-testing CubeSat, will be launched from China early next year, together with the near-identical GomX-4A. The pair will test intersatellite communication links and propulsion while orbiting up to 4500 km apart.

The cereal box-sized GomX-4B has been passed as ready to travel along with its twin from manufacturer GomSpace in Denmark in early December to begin launch preparations in China.

“GomX-4B is scheduled to be launched on a Chinese Long March rocket on 1 February, along with GomX-4A, owned by the Danish Ministry of Defence,” says Roger Walker, heading ESA’s Technology CubeSat initiative.

Image credit: GomSpace

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #4 on: 12/22/2017 08:12 AM »
Butane thrusters

GomX-4B’s cold-gas thruster system takes up two half-CubeSat units at one side of the nanosatellite, with two spherical titanium tanks filled with liquid butane. It has four 1 mN thrusters, typically to be fired in pairs while keeping one set in reserve.

- Related article: ESA's next satellite propelled by butane

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/12/Butane_thrusters

Image credit: Nanosepace
« Last Edit: 12/22/2017 08:16 AM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #5 on: 01/25/2018 10:24 AM »
CubeSats for hunting secrets in lunar darkness

23 January 2018

Imagine sending a spacecraft the size of an airline cabin bag to the Moon – what would you have it do? ESA issued that challenge to European teams last year, and two winners have now been chosen.

The Lunar Meteoroid Impact Orbiter, or Lumio for short, would circle over the far side of the Moon to detect bright impact flashes during the lunar night, mapping meteoroid bombardments as they occur.

The other, the Lunar Volatile and Mineralogy Mapping Orbiter, or VMMO, would focus on a permanently shadowed crater near the lunar south pole, searching out deposits of water ice and other volatiles of interest to future colonists, while also measuring lunar radiation

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/CubeSats_for_hunting_secrets_in_lunar_darkness

VMMO (video)

http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2018/01/Ice-mapper

Lumio (video)

http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2018/01/Lunar_impact_detector
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 10:29 AM by bolun »

Offline Runerdieker

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #6 on: 01/30/2018 09:19 AM »
In the video for Lumio http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2018/01/Lunar_impact_detector a Proton rocket is seen launching only one payload: the 12 unit Cubesat for insertion into a lunar trajectory. Isn´t that a bit over the top for what is supposed to be a cheap cubesat-mission?
« Last Edit: 01/30/2018 09:27 AM by Runerdieker »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #7 on: 01/30/2018 12:08 PM »
In the video for Lumio http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2018/01/Lunar_impact_detector a Proton rocket is seen launching only one payload: the 12 unit Cubesat for insertion into a lunar trajectory. Isn´t that a bit over the top for what is supposed to be a cheap cubesat-mission?

According to the video, it seems that Lumio is a secondary payload of a russian lunar launch (probably of Luna-27).

Luna-27 (image): http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38662.msg1743302#msg1743302
« Last Edit: 01/30/2018 06:49 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #8 on: 02/02/2018 07:04 PM »
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/The_size_of_a_cereal_box_ESA_s_first_satellite_of_2018

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ESA’s first mission of the year was launched today: GomX-4B is the Agency’s most advanced technology-tester yet, featuring a hyperspectral camera and tiny thrusters to manoeuvre thousands of kilometres from its near-twin to try out their radio link.

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The pair was launched at 07:51 GMT (08:51 CET) from Jiuquan, China, piggybacking on a Long March 2D rocket carrying a Chinese satellite to detect electromagnetic disturbances that might offer early warnings of earthquakes.

Launch thread: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42068.0

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #9 on: 06/13/2018 11:32 AM »
CubeSat micro-pulsed plasma thruster

This micro-pulsed plasma thruster has been designed for propulsion of miniature CubeSats; its first firing is seen here. The thruster works by pulsing a lightning-like electric arc between two electrodes. This vaporizes the thruster propellant into charged plasma, which is then accelerated in the electromagnetic field set up between the electrodes.

Developed for ESA by Mars Space Ltd and Clyde Space of the UK with Southampton University, this 2 Watt, 42 Newton-second impulse plasma thruster has been qualified for space, with more than a million firing pulses demonstrated during testing.

It has been designed for a range of uses, including drag compensation in low orbits, orbit maintenance, formation flying and small orbit transfers. The thruster could also serve as a CubeSat deorbiting device, gradually reducing orbital altitude until atmospheric re-entry is achieved.

About the size of a DVD reader, the thruster weighs just 280 grams including its propellant load and drive electronics.

https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/06/CubeSat_micro-pulsed_plasma_thruster

Image credit: ESA/Mars Space

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #10 on: 06/25/2018 01:19 PM »
Reentry test of QARMAN CubeSat

ESA’s next CubeSat mission seen enduring the scorching heat of simulated atmospheric reentry inside the world’s largest plasma wind tunnel.

Equipped with a cork-based heatshield, titanium side walls and silicon carbide deployable panels, the QARMAN (QubeSat for Aerothermodynamic Research and Measurements on Ablation) CubeSat survived six and a half minutes of testing inside Italy’s Scirocco Plasma Wind Tunnel.

An arc jet using up to 70 megawatts of power – enough to light up a town of 80 000 people – converted air into hot plasma at temperatures of several thousand degrees Celsius, which sped towards QARMAN at seven times the speed of sound. See video of the test here.

“This test marked the world premiere in arc jet testing of a complete, full-scale spacecraft,” explains test engineering group leader Eduardo Trifoni. “It also represents a tremendous step forward in our ground testing, since up to now only single components were tested at a time.”

CubeSats are low-cost nanosatellites based around standard 10 cm units and typically end their spaceflights burning up in the atmosphere as their orbits gradually decay. But the three-unit QARMAN is designed with this fiery fate in mind.

Designed and manufactured for ESA by Belgium’s Von Karman Institute, QARMAN will use temperature and pressure sensors together with an emission spectrometer to gather precious data on the extreme conditions of reentry as its leading edges are enveloped in scorching plasma.

“The precious outcome of this test gives us confidence that the QARMAN design will indeed make it through the reentry phase,” said project leader Davide Masutti of the Von Karman Institute. “The results of the real flight are now the missing element to consolidate our design strategy based on ground-testing, numerical models and flight data.”

QARMAN is due to be deployed from the International Space Station next year. It will orbit Earth for around four months before reentering the atmosphere. It will survive reentry but not its fall to Earth. Instead its data will be transmitted to Iridium telecom satellites.

https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/06/Reentry_test_of_QARMAN_CubeSat

Image credit: CIRA

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Re: ESA - CubeSats thread
« Reply #11 on: 07/10/2018 11:49 AM »
Fenix propulsion system

The Fenix propulsion system won last year’s ESA and Space Application Services prize in the Space Exploration Masters competition. Made by Italian company D-Orbit, the 10-cm-long cigar-sized booster provides miniature satellites called CubeSats with enough thrust to change orbit without taking up precious instrument space. This gives CubeSats a new lease on their mission by allowing them to perform orbital manoeuvres and be commanded from Earth to change their orbit mid-mission.

https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/07/Fenix_propulsion_system

Image credit: D-Orbit

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