A discussion of current developments, and future opportunities, in optical communications for small satellites and other applications, with satsearch member Hyperion Technologies, now part of AAC Clyde Space.
In this episode we speak with Bert Monna and Alexandra Sokolowski of Hyperion Technologies. Hyperion is a space company based in the Netherlands in Delft and specializes in high-performance bus components such as laser communications systems, on-board computers (OBCs), attitude control systems, and propulsion modules. It is also a satsearch member company and is part of AAC Clyde Space. In this episode we discuss:
- How satellite optical communications work and what benefits it can bring compared to RF, as well as the trade-offs required
- How optical system manufacturers are dealing with the need to enable more accurate pointing
- What changes and innovations are occurring in the ground segment in order to meet the growing demand for laser up/down-linking
- The potential extrapolation of Low Earth Orbit (EO) optical capabilities to higher orbits and deep space missions
About Hyperion’s products and services
Please note that some time after this article was published Hyperion Technologies was acquired by AAC Clyde Space. The list below includes those products that were originally offered by Hyperion and are now available as part of the AAC Clyde Space portfolio. To find out more about the acquisition please click here.
The AAC Clyde CubeCat is a laser communications module that enables a bidirectional space-to-ground communication link between a CubeSat and an optical ground station, with downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps and uplink data rate of 200 Kbps.
The iADCS200 matches the ST200 star tracker with the RW210 series reaction wheels, and the MTQ200 series magnetorquers. Combined with Berlin Space Technologies’ flight-proven control algorithms, it offers an entirely autonomous attitude control system, in the space of 2 standard CubeSat PCBs.
The iADCS400 matches the ST200 star tracker with the RW400 series reaction wheels, and the MTQ400 series magnetorquers. Combined with Berlin Space Technologies’ flight-proven control algorithms, it offers an entirely autonomous attitude control system, in the space of 5 standard CubeSat PCBs.
The AAC Clyde Space RW222 is a reaction wheel designed to use in CubeSats and other pico- or nanosatellites to control their attitude. It features an internal fire-and-forget controller, which frees up the host processor’s workload. The product's standard configuration features up to 2mN.m torque and an I²C interface. Different interfaces are available on request. The RW222 is available with either 3.0 or 6.0 mN.m.s of momentum storage in both directions of rotation.
A reaction wheel designed for 6-12U CubeSats and similar platforms. Available in 3 models offering 15, 30 or 50 mN.m.s of angular momentum storage respectively in both directions. Up to 12 mN.m of torque enables rapid slewing operations for smallsats.
An in-space propulsion system for 3-12U CubeSats, and similar platforms, with zero propellant toxicity. The standard 1U configuration of the PM200 propulsion module can deliver in excess of 230 m/s of velocity increment to a 3U CubeSat of 4 kg, at a nominal thrust level of 0.5 N.
Based on the ST200 Star Tracker platform and featuring a dedicated high-speed USB2.0 interface, the IM200 is capable of capturing 5 frames per second at full resolution. A large internal buffer allows storage of up to 25 full-frame images, which can be compressed into JPEGs for fast previewing.
A processing platform with a Linux-based operating system that allows users to run various algorithms as distinct, uploadable applications. Using the optional, radiation-tolerant, storage module users can store up to 7.5 Gb of data, and can optionally store over 64 GB of bulk data on 2 SD cards.
A 3g sun sensor with outer dimensions of 24.66 x 15.00 x 3.50 mm^3 and sampling power consumption rate of 2.5-4.0 mW. The SS200 has a 110° field of view (FOV) and sampling rate of up to 100 Hz.
A fully autonomous star tracker with a mass of 42g and 600 mW nominal power consumption when running at 5 Hz update rate. The tracker provides attitude determination accuracy (3 σ) of < 30 arcseconds pitch and yaw and < 200 arcseconds roll. Co-developed with Berlin Space Technologies.
A more advanced version of the ST200. The ST400 star tracker has a mass of 280g and < 700 mW nominal power consumption when running at 5 Hz update rate. The tracker provides attitude determination accuracy (3 σ) of < 10 arcseconds pitch and yaw and < 120 arcseconds roll. Co-developed with Berlin Space Technologies.