Author Topic: ESA - CubeSats thread  (Read 358 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

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