STI photovoltaic assemblies in orbit on York Space Systems satellite

Smallsat trend

The privately-owned company York Space Systems pushes forward a trend: making spaceflight affordable. Hence building the S-CLASS satellite platform that can easily adapt to customer needs at low cost. The reduction of launch costs is an important topic for the space company too, constantly developing new ideas to making space applications a real option even for smaller companies and organizations. The small satellite is powered in orbit by 4 deployable solar arrays, for which York Space Systems selected STI as supplier for the photovoltaic assemblies.

 SpaceTech York solar arrays CLN VibrationS-CLASS satellite with STI photovoltaic assembly (Source: York Space Systems)

The privately-owned company York Space Systems pushes forward a trend: making spaceflight affordable. Hence building the S-CLASS satellite platform that can easily adapt to customer needs at low cost. The reduction of launch costs is an important topic for the space company too, constantly developing new ideas to making space applications a real option even for smaller companies and organizations. The small satellite is powered in orbit by 4 deployable solar arrays, for which York Space Systems selected STI as supplier for the photovoltaic assemblies.

STI solar array

Speaking “the same language,” SpaceTech is always aiming for reduction of production costs and reducing lead times, using innovative techniques and thinking outside the box. The automated solar cell laydown is one of the advantages STI solar arrays gained in 2018 and has now been proved successful with the first S-CLASS platform in orbit, verifying the technology and opening the way for significantly lower solar array lead times and costs for future missions.  

Launch

The satellite was launched as the primary spacecraft on 5 May 2019 and is successfully operating in orbit since then. Remarkable: It took less than 3.5 months, from first hardware at York Space System Facilities to launch site delivery.

STI is proud to be part of this mission and looking forward to further cooperation.

LEMON LIDAR project SpaceTech FRUIT

We are proud to announce being part of the Lidar Emitter and Multispecies greenhouse gases
Observation INstrument project - short LEMON, a H2020 funded activity.
The LEMON consortium consists of 8 partners from 4 different countries, including academic experts,
research centres and SME partners.

lemon dial project introduction background
source: LEMON DIAL project

 
Mission goal

LEMON shall deliver a new DIfferential Absorption Lidar (DIAL)
sensor concept in order to measure greenhouse gases
and water vapour from space and demonstrate the concept
in an airborne campaign.

LEMON features

The innovative LEMON concept is based on a versatile, efficient multispecies Lidar emitter:

  • development of only one space instrument for CO2, CH4, H2O, HDO measurements necessary
  • simultaneous CO2+H2O or H2O HDO measurements possible
LEMON Spacetech Development Grafik CH4
Technology development of LEMON Lidar and
validation of the instrument by an airborne
measurement campaign (source: LEMON DIAL project)
  LEMON Spacetech DIAL Lidar Principle Grafik H552px
DIAL Lidar principle (source: LEMON DIAL
project)
 
SpaceTech development for LEMON

Being part of the LEMON project, STI was elected to develop, manufacture and deliver the so-called LEMON FRUIT
which consists of a wavemeter, controlling unit, tunable absolute reference laser and heterodyne beating detection.
In addition, SpaceTech is responsible for the system planning and evaluation of a future spaceborne LIDAR.

LEMON FRUIT Spacetech Lidar System Grafik
LEMON sub-systems interrelation, TREE: TRansmittEr module, FRUIT: FRequency ReFerence UnIT,
ARM: Acquisition and Reciever Module, SEED: Software and ElEctronics for instruments control and
Data recording (source: LEMON DIAL project)

Growing branches for a spaceborne LEMON LIDAR development
  • Roadmap analysis
  • Sub-units environmental testing
  • Critical components radiation testing
  • Future mission proposals

Visit the LEMON website for further information >

Download LEMON brochure for more details >

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research
and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 821868.

 

icarus animal tag carried by a blackbird

The space-bound German-Russian animal monitoring system ICARUS (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space) will start in-orbit commissioning today - 10 July 2019.

Final tests at STI facilities

In this final test phase, ICARUS engineers and scientists are going to check all system components on ground and on board the ISS as well as the tags (transmitters) that collect the animal data, including:

  • Health testing: The ICARUS payload will be switched on after being dormant on the ISS for almost one year. After switch-on the health of all components will be checked.
  • Background noise testing: Since the communication between tags and ISS is based on extremely low-power transmission signals, the ICARUS antenna will globally record the background noise in the used frequency range. The noise map will be analyzed for potential disturbers.
  • Uplink testing: A test ground station at STI facilities in Kippenhausen, Germany will simulate up to 1000 tag signals and transmit them to the ICARUS Antenna on the ISS. Correct reception on the ISS will be verified by recording the transmissions and off-line analysis of the data.
  • Downlink testing: The ICARUS antenna on the ISS cyclically transmits ISS position information essential to establish communication between tag and ISS and commands for the tags. The signals will be received by the Kippenhausen Ground Station and will be evaluated by STI for completeness and correctness.
ICARUS animal tag blackbird
Tagged blackbird
  ICARUS bird migration
Bird migration
ICARUS system

ICARUS is a cooperative project with the Russian space agency Roskosmos and the German Aerospace Center DLR under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Martin Wikelski from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz. The ICARUS system was designed and built by SpaceTech GmbH, with contributions from the German SMEs vH&S, Rohde&Schwarz INRADIOS, STT-SystemTechnik and with support of UniBW in München.
ICARUS will provide a global and innovative approach for constant tracking of flying birds and land animals, covering a multitude of regions and species.
The system consists of the ICARUS Antenna, installed on the International Space Station (ISS), as well as the small, ultra-light-weight transmitters, carried by the animal - so called animal tags. The tags collect data of position, magnetic field, humidity, temperature as well as motion of the tracked animal.
The ICARUS antenna on the ISS covers the data reception from >100 animal tags residing within an uplink window of 800 x 30 km and can transmit data to tags in a downlink radius of 660 km.

Mission goal

The ICARUS project will deliver new insight and information about:

  • Wild animal behaviour in changing environments
  • Preservation of biodiversity and endangered wildlife protection
  • Dispersal and migration of animals damaging human food
  • Global disease spreading by animals
  • Earthquakes and other natural catastrophes (early warning system)

ICARUS is expected to be available to the scientific community in winter 2019 upon completion of all the tests.

ICARUS communication antenna tag
Communication between antenna and tag
  ICARUS animal migrations
Visible animal migrations

See video for more mission details here >

Get more insight about the technical side of ICARUS here >

 

After successful final testing of the Solar Array Deployment Mechanisms (SADM), SpaceTech delivered the solar array for the first JASON-CS satellite to Airbus on April 18th, 2019.

SpaceTech Jason CS solar array deployment mechanism test
JASON-CS SADM test
  SpaceTech Jason CS solar array delivery
JASON-CS solar array on the road to success

 

STI development

SpaceTech developed the JASON-CS solar array that consists of four solar panels, two are body mounted and two are deployable. STI got under contract with Airbus in 2016 and was able to design, produce, test and deliver within 36 months.

JASON-CS/SENTINEL-6 mission

Being an international partnership between the U.S. and Europe, Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission on the Sentinel-6 spacecraft will deliver valuable information about sea level change to all nations.
The mission is designed to ensure continuous observation of the earth sea level for a minimum of 10 years.
Global sea level rise is one of the most important impacts of human-caused climate change. The first JASON-CS satellite will be launched in 2020, followed by a second one in 2025. The data generated by the two satellites will be used to improve forecasts of weather conditions two to four weeks ahead. This system will be able to forecast hurricane intensity and other irregularly occurring weather conditions like El Niño even for the next season.

Find further mission details here >

No longer just a dream: Internet for everyone everywhere - Airbus OneWeb Satellites (AOS) is aiming for global broadband internet. The AOS mega constellation will consist of 900 small satellites. AOS selected SpaceTech to develop and deliver the 1800 solar array deployment mechanisms.

STI development

SpaceTech was able to provide Airbus OneWeb Satellites with a QM development of only three months and already delivered the Solar Array Deployment Mechanism (SADM) flight hardware for the pilot satellites that have been built at Airbus OneWeb Satellites (Toulouse site, France).
The launch of six pilot satellites took place February 27th, 2019 and the solar arrays deployed successfully.  Based on this, AOS contracted SpaceTech for the SADMs for the full constellation, 1800 deployment mechanisms – two on every satellite.
Delivering these key parts to make the project a success, SpaceTech proves once again its suitability for the New Space Market with utmost flexibility and cost-efficency. SpaceTech is proud to being part of this exciting project. Thanks to all of the project partners for the great team work.

Learn more about the mission here >

SpaceTech AOS Airbus OneWeb satelliteAirbus OneWeb satellite (source: AOS)