Today sees ESAs first ever microsatellite complete three years of successful operations. The size of a large television set, Proba was launched to demonstrate new technologies for future European spacecraft, but continues to provide fantastic images of Earth.
"It is amazing what we have got out of Proba, our first micro-satellite," says Frederic Teston, ESAs Proba Project Manager. "The mission has successfully demonstrated a number of sophisticated technologies in addition to new approaches in spacecraft construction and operations. "It has 100% lived-up to its full name of Project for On-Board Autonomy – for every day of the last three years the spacecraft performed onboard such functions as steering, navigation, target fly-by estimation and image capture. These are all functions that have to be handled from the ground for larger spacecraft. "We just provide the latitude, longitude and altitude of a target site, and Proba will handle the rest. The onboard computer steers the spacecraft to the correct position, tilts it correctly, shoots and delivers the image."
The thinking underpinning Proba is that tightly focused missions can be delivered in a short time frame useful to scientists - if the time taken from the original concept to launch and operation can be greatly reduced.
Frederic Teston | alfa
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