The ARTES 4 initiative is aimed at supporting close to market developments within industry. Developments within this ARTES 4 project are part of the wider GMP development programme at SSTL that is applying the Company’s low-cost, rapid-schedule approaches to the GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) market. GMP is targeted on a platform designed for a 10-year mission life and capable of supporting a 200kg, 2.5kW power payload.
The design review was successfully completed with no outstanding actions and SSTL received very encouraging feedback from ESA. The review followed an accelerated study phase in which the baseline design of the ‘transfer orbit’ variant of the GMP was defined and marked the end of Phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 will look in more detail at aspects of the structural, thermal and propulsion subsystem designs.
Group Executive Chairman, Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, is confident that the economics of space could be changed by rethinking the approach to geostationary satellite design. “We are determined to offer the industry’s shortest order-to-orbit timescales for geostationary platforms. At the current rate of technology development in communications, operators want to see their payloads in orbit as soon as possible”, said Sir Martin.
SSTL sees the ESA contract as a valuable opportunity to progress its on-going Geostationary Minisatellite Platform (GMP) work, which started under the British National Space Centre’s MOSAIC programme. Work completed under MOSAIC (MicrO Satellite Applications In Collaboration) enabled SSTL to develop GIOVE-A for ESA, the first satellite of the Galileo navigation constellation. At an orbital height of over 23,000 km, GIOVE-A also constituted a successful first move ‘beyond LEO’ for the company.
SSTL’s Dr Kathryn O'Donnell is confident that the GMP developments provide new possibilities: “The move from LEO and even MEO to geostationary orbits demanded a rethink rather than a simple scaling-up of existing technologies. Our team of engineers, the majority of whom have significant experience on GEO telecommunications missions, have taken a top-down approach to the GMP design. This promises a dramatic reduction in project timescales whilst incorporating proven SSTL heritage designs and processes.”
The move from LEO to MEO orbits and out to GEO is not without its challenges. Key differences will arise: the structural design must support much more weight and a larger payload, the thermal design must address the heat dissipation from potentially power-intensive communications payloads and the propulsion system must be capable of transferring the spacecraft from Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) to GEO for this transfer variant of the GMP. The focus of Phase 2 of the ARTES 4 project is to address the developments required in these areas.
SSTL develops innovative technologies to change the economics of space, delivering cost effective satellite missions within rapid timescales. The Company is a world leader in the design, manufacture and operation of high performance small satellites with experience gained over more than 25 years and 27 missions launched.
SSTL employs 250 staff working on LEO, GEO and interplanetary missions, turnkey satellite platforms and space-proven satellite subsystems and optical systems. The Company also provides know-how transfer and training programmes and consultancy services, and performs studies for ESA, NASA and commercial customers related to platform design, mission analysis and planning.
Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by the University of Surrey (85%), SSTL staff (5%), and SpaceX of the USA (10%).
Stuart Miller | alfa
Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State
What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy