Deployable antennas: the skills needed to go from design to space – with Oxford Space Systems

Podcast

Episode 38 of the Space Industry podcast is a discussion with the Oxford Space Systems (OSS) team on the development of deployable antenna systems.

Contents


Episode show notes

Oxford Space Systems (OSS) a UK-based specialist in the manufacture of deployable antennas and structures across a variety of CubeSat and smallsat mission profiles. In the podcast we cover:

  • How a project is initiated and how customer partnerships are developed
  • How RF analysis on new antennas is performed
  • The mechanical aspects of testing and development that need to be considered in a new project
  • The mix of skills that different team members bring to each project, including the use of innovative materials and origami engineering
  • How Oxford Space Systems organizes teams, development, and project work

Take a look at Oxford Space Systems’ current vacancies at this link.

Summary notes

OSS’ procedures for developing a new deployable antenna product:

  • Proposal phase,
  • RF analysis phase,
  • Design,
  • Mechanical modeling,
  • Analysis,
  • Prototyping, and
  • Testing.

The proposal phase:

  • Based on the customer’s system requirements, an initial top-level design will be made to start the negotiation on the requirements and to work on the trade-offs.
  • Once the baseline architecture is agreed upon, a full proposal is made with a baseline development plan, schedule of activities, and cost. Then the customer and OSS can enter into a contract negotiation.

Building a new antenna model with the RF team:

  • RF parameters and applications are defined according to initial requirements from customers.
  • The positioning and functioning of the antenna can require detailed analysis and several of iterations.
  • The size of the antennas can vary from millimeters to meters. So various simulation software tools are used to derive characteristics of the new antenna model.

Assessing stowage volume for the deployable antenna with OSS design:

  • There are two main inputs: the final size from the RF team (after deployment), and the initial stowage size from the customer.
  • Structures and mechanisms to support the deployable are designed, modelled, and tested to meet the RF performance and customer requirements.

The next stage is to mature the design by testing its functioning during the launch and in orbit. Physical size plays a role in the time taken to finish this step.

Prototyping, testing, and final delivery:

  • Engineering model: simplified version for proof of concept and testing of specific parameters.
  • Testing campaign on qualification model: deployment, launch environment shock and vibration, vacuum, thermal cycling, and antenna performance.
  • Acceptance test campaign on flight model, with reduced testing duration and level.

Other interesting team aspects of OSS:

  • Textile engineering expertise is used for knitting gold meshes for the antenna material.
  • Origami expertise is used for creating a compact and elegant structure that can unfold into a larger structure once in space.

Oxford Space Systems’ portfolio

Oxford Space Systems (OSS) is developing a range of scalable, single-shot deployable helical antennas for Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) communications and services. The OSS deployable helical antenna uses stored energy to deploy and achieve a highly accurate shape.

The Oxford Space Systems Yagi - Deployable antenna for maritime applications is a high gain, flight-ready deployable antenna for CubeSat-based maritime applications. It can be deployed from 1U stowed package in a single step using strain-energy and is optimized for AIS and VDES applications.

The Oxford Space Systems Hinged Rib Antenna is a small, deployable, Cassegrain, centre-fed antenna for data relay and communications applications. It is available with a metal-mesh reflector surface for Ka-Band applications and pre-shaped membrane for Q/V Band applications.

The Oxford Space Systems Wrapped Rib Antenna is a deployable Cassegrain, centre fed antenna suitable for X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) applications and telecommunications at other frequencies.

The Oxford Space Systems Offset Reflector Antenna uses a patented mechanism to provides cable- and pulley-free deployment, reducing complexity, improving stowage efficiency, and significantly reducing risk of jamming.

oss-deployable-boom-astrotube

The Oxford Space Systems Deployable Boom - AstroTube Max is a deployment boom based on a flight-proven, novel deployment mechanism and a nested stack of outer telescopic tubes. It can be both partially and fully deployed, as well as retracted, and can offer unlimited rotation at any point during the deployment/retraction through the use of rifling.


Episode transcript

Please note that while we have endeavored to produce a transcript that matches the audio as closely as possible, there may be slight differences in the text below. If you would like anything in this transcript clarified, or have any other questions or comments, please contact us today.


[00:00:00] Hywel: Hello everybody. I’m your host Hywel Curtis. And I’d like to welcome you to the space industry by satsearch, where we share stories about the companies taking us into orbit. In this podcast, we delve into the opinions and expertise of the people behind the commercial space organizations of today who could become the household names of tomorrow.

[00:00:00] Hywel: Hello everybody. I’m your host Hywel Curtis. And I’d like to welcome you to the space industry by satsearch, where we share stories about the companies taking us into orbit. In this podcast, we delve into the opinions and expertise of the people behind the commercial space organizations of today who could become the household names of tomorrow.

Before we get started with the episode, remember, you can find out more information about the suppliers, products, and innovations that are mentioned in this discussion on the global marketplace for space at satsearch.com.

[00:00:41] Hywel: Oxford Space Systems is a UK based manufacturer of deployable, antennas and related technology. And today we’re going to talk about the sort of skills and the processes and the technologies that are involved in taking a design of a deployable antenna through the manufacturing life cycle and ultimately into space and operated in.

This is a really interesting topic because it does involve, as I say, a large number of people at different stages in the process and a number of overlapping areas of scale. And we’re going to get into a lot of those today and talk about how this work is carried out at Oxford Space Systems. So I have a questions to ask of each member of the team who’s joined us on the call today, and rather than give an introduction to all of those.

Now we’re just going to ask each of them to just say briefly what they do at Oxford Space Systems when they’re given the answer to their question. Yeah. Without further ado, let’s get into the topic of deployable antennas. My first question is to Vince.

[00:01:37] How does a new project at OSS typically get started? Maybe give us an overview of what sort of problems you’re looking to solve, or, and how does maybe business development and proposal activity work at the company in order to get these projects initiated?


[00:01:50] Vince: Yes. Sure. My name is Vincent Fraux. I’m one of the co-founders of Oxford Space Systems and I’m also a mechanical system specialist.

[00:01:58] Yeah. So to answer your question, there’s a number of ways that an opportunity you can upon your project can arise. So it could be someone having an idea. And then we find some R&D funding to develop that idea or answered to a, sort of a research proposal from European space agency, for example. But in most cases, what happens is there’s a prospective customer coming to us, a customer that has an idea for a mission that requires some deployment system.

[00:02:27] For example, an antenna. So for example, they need a large antenna for the system to do Internet of Things or Synthetic Aperture Radar mission. And they need these antennas to be deployable to fit on their on their smaller satellite platform. So they come to us and they basically with some requirements for the system that they want us to develop.

[00:02:46] And their question at this point is, is it feasible? How much would it cost? And how long will it take, and that’s really the approach they have so they come to us and ask us questions. What we do from this point is we look at the requirements that are provided and we assess, is it a system that’s we’ve already made? Is it we need to modify a system that we already have, or is it going to be a completely new concept? So we look at these and we do some sort of analysis and concept design to establish a prototype for this product. So we do some sort of initial design let’s say, and then we go back to the customer and we propose our top-level design.

[00:03:28] Inevitably, it’s not going to fit exactly their requirements. Usually, the requirements they provide initially are quite stringent. And so we start a negotiation with them of a trade off of requirements. When we say what’s more important for you. It’s a small bus or that fits into a small volume or you’re really after the performance and the mass is not the issue. Do you have a timeline that you need to respect? Do you need to set a launch date?

So we discussed those requirements with them and work with them to find the best solution in terms of minimizing the complexity, minimizing the volume mass stiffness. So we look at all these requirements and work with them to find the best solution that suits.

[00:04:10] And from this point, once we’ve agreed some sort of baseline architecture, we put a plan together, a development plan, we establish how many sort of physical models will have to get to the right solution before we have a flight ready model. And so we scheduled all that, all the activities. And once we’ve done that we can put a full proposal.

[00:04:32] So we put a proposal that details what sort of architecture we are thinking about along each, we’ll take, what’s is going to be the cost. And from that point, they shouldn’t be any surprise from, in terms of the proposal to the customer. Cause we’ve worked with them to get to that point. And once the proposal is ready, we submitted to the customer and then we enter the contract negotiation. And then soon after we can start the project.


[00:04:57] Hywel: Fantastic. I’m really glad you mentioned the fact that there are trade offs involved in this. Every supplier I speak to on this podcast and our events, everything emphasizes the importance of trade, understanding the trade offs in space. The environment is as restrictive as you could possibly imagine.

[00:05:13] And every project has its own key performance criteria, its own, the non-negotiables and the parts of it need to be negotiable to fulfill the requirements. Brilliant. As following on from that the RF analysis, the RF performance of the antenna is obviously of vital importance to the entire application, mission or service.

[00:05:31] So to be it, my next question, how do you run the RF analysis on a new antenna and what input from the customer do you require at this stage.


[00:05:40] Beyit Barakali: Hello, first of all, this is Beyit Barakali from Oxford Space Systems and I’m an RF engineer. So to answer your question initially, on the RF side of things, we would require a set of inputs, as Vince mentioned from the customers, including the application that the antenna’s going to be designed for and specific RF parameters in order to set up the model.

[00:05:59] So basically these parameters do include operational band of frequency, power handling, desired gain, beamwidth site pop levels, return loss, and many others like this. So the positioning of the antenna on the spacecraft and the surroundings would be a key on determining the limitations on the size of the antenna. So along the path of the building in a new antenna model includes a lot of iterations with the mechanical team as well, to work out the best possible functioning version of antenna.

[00:06:30] So on the RF size, different approaches can be followed in order to design antenna model from scratch and these include theoretical backgrounds you should have with research and also calculations to build up the models and to drive some parameters as well as there are some useful electromagnetic wave simulators with great user interference as well, which do provide instant characteristics of the model that you design in 2D and 3D patterns and enables you to evaluate an antenna model in a much faster pace.

So for different antennas, we use various software programs, to be more computationally effective because we do have products from a hundred of millimeters up to fine meters dimensions. So what we do is be considered using multiple software tools on the design and analysis stages to achieve an optimum model within the timeline or the project with a confidence of achieving a good correlation between the basic design and manufactured antenna.


[00:07:35] Hywel: So just a quick follow, did the customers you work with, do they typically understand all the RF parameters that you mentioned, or is there a bit of customer education that’s involved in helping them understand the difference between polarization and cross polarization level, as an example?


[00:07:49] Beyit Barakali: So basically the customers do have a knowledge about the RF side of things as well. So it’s basically, as Vince said, it’s like negotiating on these parameters.


[00:08:00] Hywel: Okay. That makes sense. And then obviously you, then at the stage where the actual designing of the new antenna can be discussed. So the next question is to Lucas, how do you go about designing a new antenna? Where does this sort of process begin, based on what we’ve discussed so far?


[00:08:16] Lucas: Hi, I’m Lucas Baptista. I am a design engineer at the Oxford Space Systems based on the proposal phase. And also based on the work that the RF team developed with the customer. We basically care about the two things at the very beginning.

[00:08:32] So first is the final size of the antenna, which was defined by the RF team together with the customer. And then the second thing that we care about most is the initial size of the antenna. So what’s the volume and what’s the maximum weight that we need to design for. So based on those two parameters, and of course there will be other parameters to be considered on the next phases.

So we put together a team to brainstorm, to follow their initial architecture. And so we can design all the structures and mechanisms to make it possible. The antenna to go from the storage stage to the deployed stage after it was a launch it. And to do that, we use 3d software, like for example, SolidWorks to design all the parts. Put all the parts together. Check everything fits.

And also as a we said, we also have models and tests during all the way. And we have many iterations with the RF team because we need to be sure that we will achieve what was agreed between the RF team and the customer, or at least to be as close as possible to what was agreed. Sometimes trade-offs needs to be done. And so we need to always agree with those things.


[00:09:55] Hywel: Brilliant. And as you mentioned, there’s a lot of aspects of the mechanism where such trade-offs could come into play, in order to design the best possible result in terms of the RF performance. So that’s really interested in my next question is follow up question really is to Manisha here. I was wondering, are there any other mechanical aspects that need consideration at this stage.


[00:10:16] Manisha: Hi, I’m Manisha, I’m senior mechanical engineer at Oxford Space Systems. So to answer your question, yes, there are many considerations. Once we have the concept that meets our RF and physical constraint requirement, we still have to carry out assessments to ensure that the hardware is functional.

It’s suitable for launch, and it’s in orbit operational. So to do this. We have various analysis tools, which we use to mature the design of the mechanism, the structures, and the thermal side of it. And the end by verifying these by tests.


[00:10:52] Hywel: How long could such analysis and testing take?


[00:10:55] Manisha: Long. I think it depends on the product itself. So for a small product, I think turnaround is very quick because there are less elements that link to one another. But when, as the project is bigger, as you can see that. We have three meter five meter antenna, where each could be a lengthier process.


[00:11:15] Hywel: Yeah, the physical size being so important to the performance of everything. So that’s fantastic. Thank you.

I think this question is back to Vince. So we’ve gone through the design, the RF analysis, and then the mechanical development and analysis and tested.

Once these stages are broadly complete understanding, that as has been emphasized, this is an iterative process with back and forth with the customer, but once those stages are broadly complete, how do you go about testing the new antenna to, and to prepare for launch?

[00:11:44] Is there anything further that you would do to make sure that sort of the customer needs and requirements are now met with the system that’s been developed so far?


[00:11:52] Vince: Yeah. So as mentioned a few times along the process of the design, we have a few models, some prototypes that we call bret bolts, or we have engineering models depending on the level of resemblance to the flight model. We name those models with different names. But let’s say engineering models, for example. So it’s a model that is roughly a representative of what we could fly, but maybe with a few simplification, just to prove the concepts, to assess some some very specific parameters. And that helps us finish the design in a way.

[00:12:27] But once the design is finished, we then produce a qualification model. So that’s physical model. Which is in all aspects, the same as the model we are planning to fly, but the purpose of this model is only to be tested. It’s never going to fly. And this is just to verify all the requirements or the parameters and was for a test campaign to reassure the customer that the product is going to be ready and it’s going to work in space.

[00:12:55] And because this model is only for the purpose of testing, it’s not going to fly. We luxury in a way to over test it in a way. So what we do is we increase the duration of the testing and the levels of the testing to make sure we can quantify the product with a lot of margin. So that’s when we do the flight model, we are not, very tight with the margins and things.

[00:13:19] And so the typical test we do is a deployment as deployed as expected. We do vibration to simulate the launch environment shock. We put it in vacuum and run some thermal cycling to see if it, the performance is not affected or affected by vacuum and with different temperatures. We do some RF tests to verify antenna performance.

[00:13:43] So a lot of different tests, we do, they are all plans to verify specific parameters and to see the system working. And so once we’ve passed that qualification campaign. We are then ready to produce the flight model so that the final model that is going to be delivered to the customer to, to be put on the rocket and launch into space and on this model what we do is we still need to verify that this model works, but we run what we call acceptance test campaign, which is very similar to the test campaign we run on qualification model with reduced duration and reduced level of testing so that we don’t over test the unit so that we don’t destroy it before it flies, basically, because that would be very unfortunate. So we just do some sort of reduced testing just to say, yeah, it’s performs as we expect, is most similar to the qualification unit and it’s now ready to fight.

[00:14:40] So that’s how we go about it. And it’s usually, it might seem like a bit of a heavy process, but it’s usually agreed at the bid stage, as mentioned before. During the bid, we go all this sort of sequence of models and testing that we are going to do on the units. And it’s all agreed with the customer in advance and all factored into development time and cost. So it’s all planned out from the start.


[00:15:06] Hywel: Brilliant. Yeah. I think people understand I hope your customers understand that the nature of deployables are that the testing needs to be as rigorous as possible, simply because of the fact that they move in space.


[00:15:17] Vince: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. There’ll be a in the vacuum and that different temperature is is something that we can predict to some extent, but that always needs to be tested because there’s limitation onto what we can predict.


[00:15:29] Hywel: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m assuming therefore, the nature of the multi-level testing and the delivery of different models at different stages just means that you get to work really closely with your clients and understand a lot about their business and their needs, because you have to have a lot of a back and forth on communication.


[00:15:46] Vince: Yes, absolutely. They would be part of every test review and things like that. And they have to accept all the up to review and yeah, accept the test results. And if they are any doubts as to the performance of any system, then we do extra testing and correlation exercise and things like that to make sure we’ve covered all angles.


[00:16:07] Hywel: Brilliant. Great. Thank you. Let’s us a really good overview. As I said, I think in an area that I find really interesting in the use of deployable antennas is the materials that are created is that used to create them because these are very innovative products and the they’re required to be put under a lot of, as you’ve just mentioned for under a lot of stresses and strains in terms of both the RF, the thermal performance, the operation in a vacuum.

[00:16:32] And this is after obviously surviving launch and then operating for however long they’re required in the mission. So the actual materials used, materials that are able to move and redeploy and everything in space is very important. So the next question is there for, to make it. Which, and this I know. And so I’d like to ask about your role in the process on the material sides but I was informed that you actually don’t have a background in the space sector and are originally from the fashion industry. So if you could give us an overview of how you ended up working in space, I think that would be fascinating if you don’t mind.


[00:17:06] Majken H.: Yes. Sure. So my name is Majken H. and I am the knitting technician at OSS. And the reason I came up here is messy, I guess I studied textile and fashion design back in Denmark. That’s where I’m from. But ever since I was a little kid, I always had this little love for science as well.

Way before by a university. I actually used to write essays about colonization on Mars and I read way too many science fiction books and stuff. And I always had this small idea that I wanted to be a scientist or engineer or something. But growing up, I had to realize where my strengths lay and what I wasn’t good at. And I realized I wasn’t going to be the next Albert Einstein or Elon Musk or any one of those.

[00:17:54] So I kept working on more the artistic side of textile design, which was my passion. So I started hand knitting when I was seven years old. Growing up, I then started on the machine. And when I came to university, I then started teaching digital knitting. And it was this encounter with this big, magical machine that I realized knitting could be used for pretty much anything. And that’s how I ended up here knitting gold for space.


[00:18:23] Hywel: Fascinating. Bringing in some of the famous Danish designed thinking to to the space sector. Yeah, absolutely brilliant. So could you explain your role in the process and, in the context of what we’ve discussed so far is the process of developing the antenna and why your skills, your particular skills are required?


[00:18:42] Majken H.: Yes. Sure. So in terms of my skills, when I first applied, I wasn’t sure how I could be of use here. So I was pretty surprised when I managed to actually decided to hire me, excited, of course, but it was after a couple of weeks here and I got settled in and it got into everything that actually realized on quote my own potential, you would say, so working with design, which is my background, I had another way of looking at things. And when I would show people the different missing architectures that we need for our mesh antenna, they would be like, oh, what’s that? Why is that important? And that’s where I realized also, when you hear the everybody talking, everyone’s they’re expert in their fields.

[00:19:31] And that’s so important because I wouldn’t be able to create an antenna by myself. And I wouldn’t know what RF was about and everything. So we need each other to figure it out, to make the product. And I think that’s why it’s such a great idea to hire outside the lines because you get to learn a lot and, but you also get to teach others.


[00:19:54] Hywel: Yeah, absolutely. I think as the space sector in general, across the world is opening up. There are opportunities for people with the skills, with the interests, with the potential from outside of the traditional aerospace engineering or whatever it is, background., Physicists and mathematicians. And there, there are spaces for you in these companies and you can bring your skills, you can bring your energy and enthusiasm and ideas.

[00:20:19] And like you say, a different way of looking at things to these exciting growing industries. Do people work in the cutting edge of technology on earth and off-earth, of course. That’s really interesting to hear your story. Thank you very much. This. That’s interesting. So continuing on the topic of the different sets of skills required to develop the the deployable antennas at Oxford Space Systems, you mentioned RF analysis and the mechanical aspects of it. And now knitting of the materials itself used in the antennas.

[00:20:49] Another area that’s fascinating is the use of origami. And this question is directed to Ken. Ken, could you just introduce and explain how and why origami is used in engineering in these systems.


[00:21:03] Ken: Good afternoon. Hi, this is Ken Kitsu speaking. I am a mechanical engineer, part of the R&D group in Oxford Space Systems.

[00:21:11] And going back to your question, why an origami is used in engineering and more particularly in space engineering, I will start with the later one. So how origami is using space? When it comes to space, structures of bigger is actually better. The bigger area you have, the more sun your solar cell can get. The more power your solar panel can collect. The more powerful your antenna can be, or your telescope as well. And somehow all of these large space structures need to be packed into the tip of the rocket, then survive launch, and once they reach their final destination, it can be an orbit around the earth or on another planet, or even a deep space.

[00:21:50] They need to unpack, they need to unfold to deploy shape. And during the last decades, origami has been used to create patterns to form these structures in a very compact and elegant fashion. So that’s how origami is used in space engineering, but also origami is used in other fields, we can find origami in a robotics electronics, even in biomedicine, origami has recently been used to fold heart stems.

So these heart stems need to be very tiny to travel through the blood vessels. And once they get to the destination, which is a blocked artery, they need to expand and unblock the artery and even another application I really find interesting is the use of origami in airbags. Origami is recently been used to fold airbags, so they inflate way faster than conventional ones so they can give more chances to the people in the car in a case of an accident.


[00:22:45] Hywel: Fascinating, really interesting, wasn’t aware of either of those applications. That’s great. That’s really interesting background. And I know we have another origami engineer on the podcast as well. Louisiana, could you explain how origami concepts are applied specifically to antenna deployment and folding?


[00:23:00] Aloisia: Hello, I am Aloisia, the R&D mechanical engineer. Yes. So for answering to your question, origami is applied in a few products other assess, and there is a particular product where origami fits very well has incident and has a flat surface it to be folded and deployed, which is the most standard and understood way of origami, as called as rigid origami.

In this project origami has the potential to revolutionize the space imaging technique. To allow a smaller satellites to use it since it could be stored in a very small volume.


[00:23:40] Hywel: Interesting. And I guess following on from the conversation with Majken, how did you guys, if this is to both of you, I guess , how did you decide to study origami engineering in the first place? So did you have an idea that you would use this in space in the space.


[00:23:56] Ken: For my case. I didn’t know anything about using origami engineering since five years ago or so. So when I was going to do my master’s in the United States, I had to choose a research topic. And then I found there was a professor actually doing origami deployable space tractors.

For me, it was fascinating, the idea of combining origami and engineering, me being half Japanese, I’ve been introduced to origami, seen as a kid from my family in Japan, but I will never could imagine that origami and engineering could be combined. It’s like combining art and engineering from it’s fascinating. And the other thing that I really like about this particular field is that it’s been a reason and I believe it has lots of things to be yet.


[00:24:36] Aloisia: When I was a kid, it was playing with paper doing a strange origami, but I’ve never saw that actually could be somehow an engineering. So yeah, I started to research about origami engineering when I was designing a ballistic parachutes. How so Ken was mentioning before, like they are quiet treated this kind of parts to be folded, especially when you have to deal with the alert area. So you have to pack a lot. Example, we now very tiny bag.

So I was understanding if there was a, an efficient way to do but later for my master’s thesis of the senator and tested a rigid origami solar panel, which could self deploy for the in the moon environment, thanks to a robotic manipulator and with a rigid mechanism.

[00:25:30] And during my previous job experience of the senator and tested self-reconfigurable solar cell. But this time the mechanism was addressing the combination of the solar wind and smart materials. And so the more was there researching about this topic, the more we find the interesting applications in space, especially in the space sector where we always have, do we use large structure once in orbit, but then we have a very small volume and mass during the satellites transportation. So we have to solve this transportation issue.


[00:26:11] Hywel: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. As Ken mentioned. Oh, that’s great. Thank you. It’s very interesting that both of you had similar experiences in that you were attracted to some different aspects of engineering. And then this is almost as if the link with origami itself, if it’s not too poetic, unfolded there for both of you as a, as the more that you got involved.

And then you were able to bring those skills into space into the areas of the space sector that OSS is working in, which is great. Now to go back to Vince lot of the technical aspects of deployable antenna development, and it’s very clear that a range of different skill sets, vastly different skill sets I needed.

[00:26:49] So my next question is how do you at OSS go about organizing your teams and ensuring that communication is effective across these disciplines in these projects. You mentioned how important that is to keep the communication going with your customers. But internally, this is also vital because you all work on, different people work on different areas.


[00:27:08] Vince: Yes, indeed. That’s a very good question. And communication is of course very important. So the way we all go nice that’s a OSS is we’ve got different teams. So we’ve got product teams. So teams that are focused on a specific type of product. So we’ve got different product teams and we’ve got R&D team, manufacturing and assembly team.

[00:27:29] Once when we start a project, we put together, project team. So we take all the individual people with the skills that are needed to, to realize the project. And this project team is going to work together along the duration of the project and meets regularly and make sure they exchange ideas. And we keep the project team updated along the realization of the projects. And aside from that, we’ve got also an operation team and a technical excellence team.

That’s having another site on what’s happening in the projects in terms of management and in terms of technical aspects. So to make sure that what is being done is fed back to the other teams. So that’s we don’t reinvent the wheel every time we do a project, so across project communication, Making sure that, if there are bits of technology that are needed, that we didn’t maybe realize that first that’s the idea R and D department.

[00:28:26] So we’ve got fairly complex organization in terms of, are we around the projects and it’s all around making sure the communication within the teams, but also outside of the team are maintain at all time. We also have a lot of processes that we implement in terms of making sure that we have consistency in the way we produce documents and the way we take decisions, things like that. So that’s, we make sure that all the siblings are involved in the decision-making and that’s the documents are clear always for in the same sort of format. So that’s, anyone can very easily navigates through it through the documents and find the right information, things like that.

[00:29:09] On the wider OSS organization, we also have also meetings, that are organization wise and they are quite regular and some of them are formal, some of them are a bit more informal. It’s sort about sharing updates, sharing what’s happening in different part of the business and keeping everybody always updated on what’s happening so that question can be asked and ideas can be generated, things like that. Indeed, that’s a very good question that the communication is very important and that’s the prime focus on running the company effectively. Making sure the communication.


[00:29:47] Hywel: It sounds therefore that means there are opportunities for the people in your company on both because you’re focusing both on product side and on projects side, which means you, you’re not sure what could come in, next year.


[00:30:00] Vince: Absolutely. Yes. And we do a lot of projects but eventually what we are trying to do is create products. So that customers can come and ask for product instead of having a new project and managing that transition between project and product takes a lot of internal organization.


[00:30:20] Hywel: Just to continue on that train of thought. It’s going to require you to have really good people, assess to work on these projects and we’ve spoken to them today. In terms of bringing them into the environment I questioned for Manisha. I think what is it that you look for in new people to ensure that they can work well in the environment and on the projects and products that we’ve discussed today?


[00:30:40] Manisha: Yeah. So as you’ve seen that, what makes OSS great is the people that we have, and that’s why getting the right type of people into our businesses is very important. So we always obviously look for people who are passionate about space, as passionate about what we do. But we also look for people who are aligned with our values, which are respect, integrity, support, efficiency, and effectiveness to abbreviate, that is RISE. We look for people who are innovative, adaptable, able to respond to the changing needs of the business.

As Vince had elaborated, we get a lot of requests. So yeah, we need to have creative minds in our company so they can come up with ideas very quickly. We also look for people who are collaborative team players, so can work across the teams. 


[00:31:32] So we have project team R and D team, manufacturing, team technical excellence team. So we want to make sure that they talk to one another. And we also ensure that we have a diversity so that we can have innovative ideas and we can solve most complex problems.


[00:31:50] Hywel: Brilliant. And as you mentioned, interestingly diversity in OSS doesn’t mean just the, just the normal diversity that you would expect. It also means diversity in terms of the industries that people have been based in origami and fascia, which is a very interesting element of this. So that’s great. Thank you.

And then just to wrap up, finally, you guys, been really interesting conversation, I think we’ve learned there. The listeners will have learned a lot about how antennas are developed and what goes into a deployable antennas and what goes into a carrying forth, a project like this, and indeed on your side, what it takes to work on a project like this and what opportunities this bring.

[00:32:25] Can I just ask what is next for Oxford Space Systems? What do we do in 2022? You know what what’s next for the company and what are you most excited about seeing in the space industry in general, in the years to come; can I ask that of Aloisia?


[00:32:39] Aloisia: Okay. Yes. Oxford Space Systems is developing and gaining flight heritage for your, of a normative deployable and tennis. Any of those today, emergence of application services that are not even yet on the market. The company is now scaling up production capability to facilitate to transition, to, batch production for satellite constellations. And we are exciting about seeing our company to grow over the next few years. In fact, keep an eye on the vacancy page and yeahto deliver our vision in orbit.


[00:33:17] Hywel: Brilliant. I think that’s a great place to wrap up over here and I just ask if anybody has any final comments.


[00:33:23] Vince: I would say thank you for having us. It was a great discussion. Very great questions you’ve asked and we tried give the right answers.


[00:33:31] Hywel: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. As I’ve mentioned, I think it was great to learn about what Oxford Space Systems does, how projects are carried out and how the work is performed in the company. To our listeners out there, if you would like to find out more about Oxford Space Systems, we’ll have links to the company pages on satsearch et cetera, on in the show notes and also on the vacancies page, because there sounds like there are lots of opportunities at the company for people to work, with people, to build them their careers, wherever the careers may have originated. And it’d be really interesting, how the company develops and what happens next and thank you again to everybody for attending today and for being on this podcast, we really appreciate it.

[00:34:12] Thank you for listening to this episode of the Space Industry by satsearch. I hope you enjoyed today’s story about one of the companies taking us into orbit. We’ll be back soon with more in-depth behind-the-scenes insights from private space businesses.

In the meantime, you can go to satsearch.com for more information on the space industry today, or find us on social media if you have any questions or comments. Stay up to date. Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you can also get each podcast on demand on iTunes, Spotify, the Google play store, or whichever podcast service you typically use.

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