Extending CubeSat LEO platforms to GEO missions – with Space Inventor


Episode 17 of the Space Industry podcast is a discussion with Space Inventor about the commercial and technical challenges of adapting Low Earth Orbit (LEO) technologies for Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) applications.

In this episode we speak with Jacob Nissen at Chief Sales Officer, at Space Inventor. Space Inventor is a Danish satellite engineering company, founded in 2002, that specializes in nano- and microsatellites. The company is also a participant in the satsearch membership program. In the podcast we discuss:

  • How the CubeSat industry has evolved to produce platforms with higher performance and reliability.
  • The current trends in the industry, with regard to satellite sizes, payload capabilities, and more.
  • The commercial and technology challenges of adapting LEO technology GEO applications.
  • How the GEO sector could evolve in the coming years.

The product portfolio of Space Inventor

A 6 to 8 cell Lithium-Ion battery system designed to offer a long life-time, simple integration, and safe operation. Featuring a total of 7 different configurations, and up to 75 Wh capacity, making it suitable for most nano- and small-satellite missions.

The Space Inventor Z7000-P3 is an on-board computer containing an FPGA logic system with 125K programmable cells and a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCoreTM. The chip-based FPGA payload computer provides a wide range of interfaces including LVDS/SpaceWire, and also supports CAN, UART, I2C as traditional OBC interfaces.

A dual, hot-redundant satellite telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) radio. The TTC-P3 includes two half-duplex VHF/UHF transceivers and is intended to be used in antenna diversity schemes (where each channel is connected to orthogonal and cross-polarized antennas).

The Space Inventor WHL-10 is a reaction wheel suitable for 1U-3U CubeSats with a mission lifetime of up to 5 years. The reaction wheel consists of 8 Neodymium magnet poles in the rotor, automatic motor flux reduction (FOC), 6 teeth in the permanent magnet synchronous motor, and 3-phase outrunner BLDCs. The product was previously known as REWL-30.

The Space Inventor WHL-50 is a reaction wheel, previously known as REWL-50, suitable for attitude control of 6U-16U cubesats with a minimum mission lifetime of upto 5 years. The reaction wheel consists of 8 Neodymium magnet poles in the rotor, automatic motor flux reduction (FOC), 6 teeth in the Permanent magnet synchronous motor and 3-phase outrunner BLDCs.

The Space Inventor Star T3 is a star tracker for micro and nano-satellite missions with an advanced tracking algorithm and 5-year minimum lifetime. The Star T3 is a join product produced by Terma A/S and Space Inventor ApS, and features a miniaturized optical system for reduced mass. The sun exclusion angle is a half-cone as low as 37.5 degrees.

The Space Inventor FSS-1-G2 - Fine Sun Sensor is a 2-axis sun sensor based on a quad photo diode array with 1 degree accuracy, and featuring an integrated magnetometer and gyro. The sensor uses techniques such as Kalman Filter or Fraser-Potter fixed-interval smoother to combine multiple measurements in order to increase the precision of the sun vector estimate.

A ground station for the TTC-2 satellite radio; a more powerful version of the TTC-2, with 200 Watt output power. It is designed to accommodate difficult uplink situations in noisy environment and has a built-in Linux computer and integrated software ready for operation of the transceivers.

A six channel maximum power point tracker and battery charger module, designed for durable, simple and robust satellite integration. The system consists of six variable frequency DC-DC converters that ensure optimal operating voltage for each solar cell array at all temperatures and irradiance levels.

The Space Inventor OBC-P3 is an on-board computer comprising of 2 ARM Cortex-M7 modules with an independent power supply, interfaces, and storage capacity. The OBC-P3 is configurable and can be used either as data handling unit or as an OS-only installation for writing users’ own applications.

A twelve channel power conditioning and distribution unit in a rugged, compact and modular enclosure. The system features six independent and customizable step-down converters and one boost converter, that can be connected to output channels as required.

Solar panels designed on an aluminium back plate with a dual functionality as both solar panel back plate, structure and shielding. The cells are based on 2mm Al7075-T6 laminated with Kapton substrate and the PVP system can be customized to accommodate payload cut-out, external antennas, or sensors.

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