High tech in a shoe box
Smart and interconnected small satellites capture the low earth orbit and contribute to our digital and networked world of tomorrow. The old aerospace slogan “Bigger is Better” is no longer valid in the “New Space” of mini and nanosatellites. The new motto is: smaller, more powerful and, above all, with a revolutionary low price. Until just a few years ago, a global satellite constellation required capital amounting to billions. So, many space-based application failures have not been caused by their technical feasibility, but by their financing.
Today, small satellites the size of a shoe box exist that can operate complex applications and at the same time offer significant cost benefits. This creates opportunities for new space-based systems in the fields of earth observation or telecommunications like IoT applications or air traffic control via satellites. Meanwhile, constellations with hundreds or even thousands of small satellites are in the development or already in the setup phase. Concepts for the use of high-performance chips from terrestrial mass markets, e.g. from the automotive or consumer electronics sector, allow for signal and data processing directly in space, in a dimension unimaginable with common chips specifically developed for the space sector. So, Spin-offs of the space sector into other industrial sectors are no longer the reality, but spin-ins of mass market electronics into the space sector.
Implementing these new approaches, Thales Alenia Space Deutschland in Ditzingen develops the latest generation of a digital, modular, reconfigurable and, above all, miniaturised satellite payload that maps all functions of a modern satellite-based communication.
With the support of the ARTES Competitiveness & Growth programme of the European Space Agency ESA, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), with funds provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart as well as other selected partners, Thales Alenia Space Deutschland is planning an in-orbit presentation of its new nanosatellite payload component “multiMIND” as part of the German “EIVE” mission next year.*
* The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency