STI is main solar array supplier for ESA Copernicus HPCM missions

On July 1st 2020 ESA approved the procurement of the 6 upcoming “High priority candidate missions (HPCM)” of the ESA Copernicus program.
Within their winning HPCM proposals, the mission primes Airbus, Thales and OHB selected STI to develop and build the solar arrays for CO2M, LSTM, CHIME and CRISTAL. This means that two-thirds of the solar arrays for the next 12 Copernicus satellites will be delivered by us.

SpaceTech solar arrays for Copernicus HPCM

SpaceTech solar arrays for space

This great success writes forth the success story of our intense development activities in the field of solar array for space. STI solar arrays benefit from space heritage on solar arrays for a range of missions over the last decade, with 100 % success rate of our products. With the selection – not only – for HPCM STI is now recognized as one of the key solar array suppliers for European and worldwide customers, both institutional and commercial.

SpaceTech’s solar array production automation

The automated manufacturing approach not only brings down the cost of solar arrays for space, but at the same time significantly increases SpaceTech’s production capacity.
Illustrated by the ongoing construction of our new production facility in Immenstaad, we stay focused on providing reliable and cost-efficient solar arrays for various missions. This includes institutional missions with highest quality and reliability demands to new space constellations with highest quantities and cost limits.

Read more about the six new missions for the European Copernicus Earth observation program on the DLR website >
Read more about the Copernicus High Priority Candidates on the ESA website >

ESA-Copernicus High Priority Candidates (source: ESA)


SpaceTech’s JUICE USO-Filter delivered

The Jupiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) is the first L-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision Programme to be launched in 2022. The objective of the JUICE mission is the investigation of Jupiter and its icy moons, Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. It addresses the question of whether possible habitats of life are provided underneath the surfaces of the icy satellites and also probes Jupiter’s atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Spacetech JUICE USO Filter
Artist image of Jupiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission scenario (source: ESA)

Details of the SpaceTech USO-Filter for JUICE

A radio science package on the satellite is equipped with a so called Ultra Stable Oscillator (USO) which provide a constant wave at 57.5MHz. The USO-Filter is a 2 pole passive band bass filter based on lumped components, connected between the USO and the DST (Deep Space Transponder, for telemetry, tracking and command).

SpaceTech JUICE USO Filter
SpaceTech USO-Filter for Jupiter ICy moons Explorer mission

Functions of the Ultra Stable Oscillator filter:

  • Attenuating the spurious emissions above 67.1 MHZ and below 47,9 MHz from USO to the transponder DST by at least 18 dB
  • Correcting the impedance mismatch between the USO and the transponder DST

Remarkable project schedule of SpaceTech USO-Filter

Once more SpaceTech’s team was able to demonstrate fastness and flexibility. The requested project schedule is remarkable: 

  • The customer Airbus contacted STI in September 2019
  • Kick-off was at the end of November 2019
  • EM was delivered at the beginning of April 2020
  • FM was delivered mid of August 2020


ICARUS – start of routine operation

We are proud to announce that ICARUS works as expected! After a six months test phase of the space and ground segment, ICARUS will start its routine operation September 2020. This is a breakthrough for animal research and an important milestone for space-based Internet-of-things (IoT) solutions.

ICARUS – being a cooperation of 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 - will deliver information about migratory movements of birds, migration routes of mammals and insects. Primarily, this data will be used for behavioral research and animal welfare. Humankind will none the less be able to draw conclusions, to protecting our species against natural catastrophes, such as earth quakes or tsunamis.

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.

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 animals - so called animal tags. The tags collect data of position, magnetic field, humidity, temperature as well as motion of the tracked animal.

spacetech icarus mission iss antenna tags communication
ICARUS communication between animal tags and ISS antenna

Internet of things (IoT)

This success shows SpaceTech’s competence in realizing space-based IoT projects aimed for smallest receiver sizes and lowest power demands.
The ICARUS project has the potential to change not only mankind’s view on animal behavior and the system earth, but also verifies the feasibility of SMS-to-space for anybody from any place in the world, independent from terrestrial networks.

Potential applications range from remote datalogging (e.g. for agriculture to logistics to environmental sensors), to personal emergency systems (available for smartphones or integrated devices in life jackets) to send position data from remote areas) to ultimately everyday use for everybody. STIs M2Space initiative for smartphones is a showcase for a potential future IoT constellation

When can we launch your IoT system?

M2Space Initiative
ICARUS development with STI
ICARUS: Global monitoring with animals
ICARUS: Tierwanderungen von der ISS aus beobachten


STI solar arrays with multi-hinge deployment mechanism ready to fly

SpaceTech’s multi-hinge solar arrays for Momentus Vigoride satellite shuttles

The first flight models of our novel solar arrays with automated PVA laydown and multi-hinge deployment mechanisms have now been successfully tested at the STI headquarters. The qualification of the first Vigoride flight set is therefore completed. With this project, SpaceTech and Momentus are approaching the new space market with this reliable, light-weight and highly cost effective solution.

Insights of Momentus Vigoride

Momentus Vigoride in-space orbit transfer services carry 250 kg for a single satellite, 700 kg payload mass in total. Payloads can be moved from ISS orbit all the way up to 2,000 km on Vigoride. Vigoride can be launched from an ESPA or ESPA Grande ring, from ISS airlocks, or from almost any small dedicated launcher or larger rideshare vehicle.

The applied solar arrays for Vigoride consist of 4 solar panels and yoke with 5 XS hinge axes on the wing for deployment. All solar arrays are built in-house, utilizing the panels of our daughter company Carbospacetech and the automated PVS laydown.

Momentus Vigoride background information

Over the last years, STI has developed a novel multi-hinge deployment mechanism technology suitable of a wide range of solar array sizes from less than 0.5 m² (XS) to more than 6 m² (XL) per panel. Salient feature of the mechanism is the controlled unsynchronized deployment using C-spring hinges of standardized sizes, enabling robust, lightweight and cost-effective solutions for various solar power needs. This technology is - together with our automated PVA laydown technology - greatly enhancing the market for our products. With it we were able to already acquire several contracts ranging from news space to highest reliability institutional missions and Vigoride is now the first to be delivered.

Spatenstich bei SpaceTech

Am Freitag, den 26.06.2020, um 11.00 Uhr, konnten wir den „Spatenstich“ für unsere neue Produktionshalle für Raumfahrt-Solargeneratoren begehen. Unser Immenstaader Bürgermeister, Johannes Henne, der Ortsvorsteher von Kippenhausen, Martin Frank, die SpaceTech Geschäftsführer Wolfgang Pitz und Frank Gilles, der Architekt Gerd Schlessmann, sowie etwa 20 SpaceTech Mitarbeiter waren bei diesem für STI zukunftsweisenden Ereignis von der Partie.

Vollautomatisierte Produktion von Solargeneratoren für Satelliten

Die neue vollautomatisierte in-house PVA Produktion wird SpaceTech in die Lage versetzen neue und große Raumfahrt Missionen mit high-end Solar Anlagen zu versorgen. Wir dürfen uns freuen, dass wir ausgewählt wurden die Solargeneratoren für Zwei-Drittel (d.h. 8 Satelliten) der kommenden Copernicus Satellitenflotte bauen zu dürfen. Es handelt sich um Aufträge in Höhe von 27 Millionen Euro, verteilt über die nächsten 8 Jahre.

SpaceTech spatenstich automatisierte PVA produktionshalle 1
SpaceTech Baugrund für die neue Raumfahrt-Solargeneratoren Produktionshalle in Kippenhausen
  SpaceTech spatenstich automatisierte PVA produktionshalle 2
V.l.n.r.: Architekt, SpaceTech Geschäftsführer, Immenstaader Bürgermeister und Ortsvorsteher von Kippenhausen begehen den Spatenstich