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NanoAvionics Expands Support for British Space Sector with New UK Sales and Technical Support Office

16 January 2019, Oxfordshire: NanoAvionics today announced the opening of a sales and technical support office in the United Kingdom and the appointment of Mr. Tariq Sami as its UK Sales Director. Mr. Sami will lead NanoAvionics’ efforts to serve the British space industry, where many innovative start-ups have been emerging with their technology relying on the cost-efficiency and unique capabilities provided by nano-satellites like the NanoAvionics M6P.

“Considering his extensive experience in the British space industry and his collaborative focus on customers’ needs, I am pleased to welcome Tariq Sami to the NanoAvionics team,” said company CEO and co-founder Vytenis Buzas. “This is an exciting time to be part of the British space industry as the capabilities provided by our multipurpose nanosatellite buses enable innovative new business models.”

Space tech start-ups are critical elements of the commercial space focused economic strategy, spearheaded by the UK Space Agency. By leveraging the new resources, these young companies will drive growth in the £14 billion UK space industry. A key enabler of these startups’ business models is a new generation of nanosatellites that offer unique capabilities at lower costs than traditional satellites and NanoAvionics intends to complement UK space industry with its advanced solutions tailored for the market needs.

“With 8 billion devices to connect for the Internet of Things, ever-increasing advances in payload miniaturization for the telecoms market and the need for higher revisit rates in Earth Observation, there is a real opportunity for nanosat technology to be a game-changer,” NanoAvionics UK’s Tariq Sami explained. “NanoAvionics UK will be at the forefront of this revolution.”

As Sales Director, Tariq Sami will apply his successful track record in the British and European aerospace industry as he introduces the British space community to NanoAvionics’ capabilities. The M6P multi-purpose satellite bus, for example, is highly versatile and incorporates a green monopropellant propulsion system for extended service life and on-orbit manoeuvring.

NanoAvionics UK is located in Oxfordshire at the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus. Angus Horner, Partner and Director at Harwell Campus said: “We are delighted to welcome NanoAvionics to Harwell Campus. I am confident that having a new home inside the Harwell Space Cluster will be a catalyst for even stronger collaboration between NanoAvionics and the leading research facilities and space companies located at Harwell.” The Harwell Space Cluster collectively employs over 950 people across 89 organisations that make-up the UK’s most concentrated Space Cluster. These are a group of commercial, public and academic organisations focused on driving innovation in the UK Space market.

With the central stakeholders of the Space Cluster being the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), alongside the European Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult and UK Space Agency, the Cluster is attracting many companies to set up operations at Harwell Campus. Funding and collaboration opportunities are extensive and businesses from start-ups to multinationals all benefit from this unique ecosystem.

The next NanoAvionics’ strategic step in the region is to expand UK operations and establish a center of excellence for R&D activities.

Inquiries may be directed to:

NanoAvionics UK
Science & Technology Facilities Council
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Building R103 Office G10 – G13
Harwell Campus
OX11 0QX
+44 7833 161 039

Testing M6P Nano-Satellites – Qualification and Acceptance Programs

Space is harsh and only the toughest technology can survive the extreme temperatures, intense radiation and deep vacuum of outer space. NanoAvionics conducts a full suite of environmental tests to ensure M6P nano-satellites, and the payloads they carry, can withstand these conditions. We simulate the harsh conditions of outer space here on Earth to help our clients revise their payload designs and to prove that their M6P nanosatellites are ready for launch and performing their missions.

NanoAvionics’ testing regime creates conditions even more extreme than what the nanosatellite will actually experience in orbit. These environmental tests include:

  • Thermal-vacuum Cycling: This 5-day test subjects the subsystems and the fully-integrated satellite to a hard vacuum while temperatures swing from -20C to +50C.
  • Thermal-vacuum Bakeout: Additional time in a thermal-vacuum chamber bakes out volatiles that could contaminate sensors once in orbit.
  • Electromagnetic Testing: We identify any sources of EM interference that could compromise launch safety or satellite operations. We also test each subsystem’s resistance to EM interference.
  • Radiation-pattern Testing: We measure the radiation pattern of the M6P’s fully-deployed antenna in an isolated environment to ensure solid orbit-to-ground communications.
  • Radiation Testing: We simulate a 5-year mission worst case scenario by exposing the M6P’s subsystems to a Cobalt-60 radiation source to be confident that the bus will survive the radiation environment in LEO for more years than any nanosatellite mission requires.

We also shake the M6P to its core. Hitting the nanosatellite with shocks and random vibrations as well as tooth-rattling harmonics reproduces the extreme stress of a rocket launch from ignition through the nanosatellite’s release into orbit. This acceptance testing lets us assure the launch provider that the M6P will not compromise the safety of their rocket. It also gives our clients confidence that their payload will survive the ride.

NanoAvionics conducts these tests in-house and at accredited facilities to meet the exacting requirements of NASA’s General Environmental Verification Standard (GEVS) (for subsystems only) as well as the specific acceptance standards set by the launch provider (for the whole bus level). But completing these tests only gets the M6P halfway through the process. We conduct another complete round of functional testing to document the before-and-after performance of each subsystem as well as the fully-integrated spacecraft.

Finally, we conduct full-up simulations of our client’s mission in a cleanroom environment. These mission sequence tests are about performing all the satellite’s activities – from A to Z – after the deployment into orbit: from antenna deployment and subsystems actuation to mission-specific tasking. Also, we check communication modules with long-range testing of S-band and UHF communications with a ground station to simulate the early orbit phase (LEOP). Throughout this process, NanoAvionics’ clients can participate remotely by using a pre-defined set of commands. This gives clients a chance to test their payload as well as their payload controllers’ operations procedures before launch.

Space may be harsh, but that is why NanoAvionics pushes each M6P nanosatellite even further to support our clients’ mission success.

Have a sneak-peak into some of the M6P thermal-vacuum testing moments at our partners’ Tartu Observatorium.

Orbital Micro Systems and NanoAvionics Partner on Weather Observation Satellite Launch

Mission will validate miniaturized low earth orbit microwave sounder operation from an advanced nanosatellite bus

Oxfordshire, England, December 3, 2018 – Orbital Micro Systems (OMS), a leader in advanced
instrumentation for small satellite missions and weather intelligence analytics, has announced it is
partnering with NanoAvionics, an innovation leader in nanosatellite bus and flight-proven subsystem
technologies, to conduct a rideshare mission to fly one of OMS’s miniaturized passive microwave
sensors. The mission will utilize the NanoAvionics M6P 6U satellite bus.

“OMS is delighted to work with an industry leader such as NanoAvionics in deploying an additional
passive microwave sounder,” said William Hosack, chief executive officer for OMS. “The M6P is quickly becoming the gold standard for flexible bus solutions. It provides a high degree of reliability which enables us to deliver better weather data collection technology. This advanced bus architecture will help us accelerate our activities and enable us to quickly expand into multiple vertical and geographic markets.”

OMS is on track to launch multiple weather observation satellites in 2019. This mission will carry a
humidity and precipitation monitoring sensor that will enhance the company’s data collection
capabilities. These important atmospheric parameters play a role in decision-making, affecting many
industries.

NanoAvionics’ innovations in bus technology include a green propulsion system, reliable avionics and
control systems, and multiple transmission options. The M6P bus provides up to 5U of payload capacity which can be segmented for multiple systems or applications with compatible orbital requirements.

“Our goal at NanoAvionics is to provide a highly functional and reliable satellite bus which innovative
payload developers such as OMS can utilize to deliver space-based applications quickly and frequently,” said Vytenis Buzas, CEO of NanoAvionics. “Space missions leveraging our services and buses can become much more economical for participants in shared missions through distributed launch costs.”

 

About Orbital Micro Systems:
Orbital Micro Systems (OMS) specializes in the development and delivery of technology and data for
space applications. With broad expertise in applied science, weather science and earth observation,
instrumentation development, data science, space operations, and program delivery, OMS is positioned to deliver innovation to many areas of the aerospace sector. For more information about OMS, please visit www.orbitalmicro.com

About NanoAvionics:
NanoAvionics is a nanosatellite bus manufacturer and mission integrator. Its flagship multi-purpose M6P is the first preconfigured nanosatellite bus in the sector, designed to serve emerging commercial space markets. The company’s efforts are focused on enabling critical satellite functions and optimizing their launch, hardware and operation costs – ranging from single missions to constellations. Its core engineering team has implemented over 40 successful satellite missions during the past several years. Learn more at https://www.n-avionics.com.

OMS Contact:
John Stafford
Parallel Communications, Inc.
jstafford@parallelpr.com
+1 515-708-1296

NanoAvionics Contact:
Vaida Karaliunaite
vaida@n-avionics.com
+37067571730

Development, Assembly and Integration of M6P Nano-Satellite Bus

Determining the best architecture for a satellite system is a challenging task, where numerous factors need to be taken into account. It is an inevitable gamble of compromise between ambitious mission objectives and natural constraints such as weight and size of subsystems, energy levels, and technical limitations.

The development of M6P multi-purpose nanosatellite bus (from the inception to assembling the parts) took a whole year plus invaluable multi-year experience from successful satellite missions and R&D projects. The goal was to create an advanced spacecraft which would be able to host a wide array of instruments of up to 5U in size, having high performance, and optionally enabling orbit synchronization (and others necessary for constellation functions) with its integrated green chemical propulsion subsystem. In addition, the bus had to have a sufficient energy supply, be comparatively low cost, perfectly reliable and low mass.

Putting it all together, the team has designed the architecture of the bus with the following subsystems:

  • Flight Computer (3C2) combining the most crucial functions of the satellite bus:
    • Attitude Determination and Control System – one of the most complicated subsystems of the whole bus with complex software processing data from the sensors: star tracker, inertial measurement unit, 6 sun sensors, GPS; and giving commands to the actuators: reaction wheels and magnetorquers. This subsystem checks the satellite’s position and angle several times per second and gives precise commands to the actuators.
    • On-Board Computer – hosts the scenario of the mission, scheduling and executing scripts for the subsystems of the bus. It is responsible for the collection and logging of the mission data.
  • EPS – the heart of a satellite, responsible for controlled supply, flow, and storage of energy for other subsystems and the mission’s payload. Fail-safe and highly efficient.
  • Communications modules:
    • Redundant UHF radio with omni-directional antenna dedicated to commissioning faze – foolproof subsystem which makes it less complicated to check the health of and set up the satellite for the mission right after deployment
    • S-band radio – main communications unit dedicated to mission objectives and allowing transmission of big packets of data
  • Payload Controller – a powerful computer dedicated to the customer’s payload only, allowing them to program desirable commands, mission tasks and scheduling for the payload.
  • EPSS – green chemical propulsion subsystem with low energy consumption and high thrust levels. Prolongs the lifetime of a satellite and is necessary for synchronized constellations.
  • Frame
  • Solar Panels

And, here’s an interesting fact – everything is fastened together using 438 bolts!

M6P development and current manufacturing process is strictly controlled based on NASA GEVS, ESA ECSS, and ISO 9001 standards, and involves rigorous documentation that registers every step of the process. High standards, but ones we must meet and exceed.

Innovative Ocean Research from NTNU to Ride on the NanoAvionics M6P Nano-Satellite Bus

NanoAvionics has been awarded a publicly-tendered contract to supply the M6P 6U nano-satellite bus to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The M6P’s unique competitive advantages will deliver high performance, the pointing accuracy and multi-year service life required of NTNU’s HYPer-spectral Satellite for ocean Observation (HYPSO). Once in Sun-synchronous orbit, the M6P-based HYPSO will monitor algal blooms and other aspects of ocean health in an autonomous synergy with robotic agents at the Norwegian coast.

“I am honoured that NTNU selected NanoAvionics to supply their ocean observation mission,” NanoAvionics Chief Executive Officer Vytenis J. Buzas said. “The M6P’s unique technical capabilities and the NanoAvionics team’s expertise are competitive advantages we bring to every project. In this case, they proved a good match for the challenging nature of the HYPSO mission. Everyone at NanoAvionics is excited about this partnership and looks forward to contribute to NTNU’s innovative approach to oceanography.”

HYPSO will be one part of NTNU’s ambitious multi-agent marine observations system. NTNU will combine observations from the orbiting satellite with those made by autonomous vehicles above, upon and beneath the ocean’s surface. The resulting studies of algal blooms and other biological activity in the ocean will support environmental monitoring and the management of marine resources as well as contribute to our understanding of climate change’s effects on Earth’s oceans.

“We are very happy and excited to be working with NanoAvionics on this project. Their knowledge and support in this project enable us to find the optimal solutions to meet our mission objectives, “says Evelyn Honoré-Livermore, PhD Candidate and Project Manager for the HYPSO mission. The NTNU project team consists of 20 MSc/BSc students as well as 8 PhD Candidates. “NanoAvionics has shown a great willingness to support the students directly and helping them learn more about space engineering and develop multidisciplinary skills. NTNU values this highly, as one of the main goals of the project is to develop future space engineers.”

M6P multi-purpose nano-satellite bus

NanoAvionics’ M6P nano-satellite bus provides the maneuverability and the pointing accuracy HYPSO’s observations demand. A 500-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit will enable the nano-satellite to image regions of interest, such as along the coast of Norway. HYPSO must then perform a slew maneuver to let its hyper-spectral imager record data across hundreds of narrow bands in the visible and near-infrared spectrum. NanoAvionics will configure the HYPSO with the M6P’s most advanced attitude control system to enable the precise pointing required to maximize the observations’ spectral resolution.

In addition to providing the M6P nano-satellite bus, NanoAvionics will provide NTNU with training and engineering support services in advance of the planned launch in late 2019 or early 2020. HYPSO will be the first in a series of nano-satellites NTNU plans for its oceanographic research, following a constellation of remote-sensing focused nano-satellites which will form a space-asset for the multi-agent architecture.

“With the successful launch of HYPSO,” Vytenis J. Buzas said, “NanoAvionics will have demonstrated the flexibility and capability of the M6P nano-satellite bus and established a basis for future collaboration with NTNU.”

NTNU AMOS – Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems, coordinates the HYPSO project. The project is financed by NTNU, NTNU AMOS, The Norwegian Research Council and The Norwegian Space Centre.

 

ABOUT NANOAVIONICS:


NanoAvionics is a Nano satellite Bus manufacturer and mission integrator. Its flagship multi-purpose M6P is the first preconfigured nano-satellite Bus in the sector, designed to serve emerging commercial space markets. The company’s efforts are focused on enabling critical satellite functions and optimizing their launch, hardware and operation costs – ranging from single missions to constellations. Its core engineering team has implemented over 40 successful satellite missions during the past several years.
www.n-avionics.com

Press contacts:
Vaida Karaliunaite
Head of Marketing
NanoAvionics, LLC.
E: vaida@n-avionics.com
Tel: +370 675 71730

 

ABOUT NTNU:
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is the primary Norwegian university in engineering and technology. In addition to engineering and natural sciences, the university offers higher education in other academic disciplines e.g. arts and humanities, social sciences and medicine. NTNU has a close collaboration and a broad range of contacts with industry. NTNU is Norway’s largest university with about 40 000 students.
www.ntnu.no

Press contacts:
Evelyn Honoré-Livermore, PhD Candidate
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
E: evelyn.livermore@ntnu.no
Tel: +47 40018398

Software Development of M6P Nano-Satellite Bus

For Nano-Satellite missions, the software is like the glue which holds all the subsystems together and ensures that they effectively communicate with each other as well as mission control center. The development of M6P nano-satellite buse‘s software is happening entirely in-house, involves rigorous and complex processes, collaboration with all technical departments and testing the code in simulated and of course real life environment by uploading the code to a fully functioning satellite in orbit.

NanoAvionics clients‘ needs are at the center of innovations and we are glad to offer remote software testing opportunity for each client who is in the process of payload development. Every client project has a dedicated FlatSat of M6P satellite bus and a client can connect to it and do the tests from a convenient location, in real time, and get advices from our developers. Any latest software improvements made by NanoAvionics team immediately appear in all FlatSats to enable clients working with the latest cutting-edge technologies.

The user interface of M6P is built with user-friendliness in mind – that any client without deep technical knowledge could operate satellite with a set of high-level commands.

And last, but not the least, our software development team is proud to have a fully integrated Continuous Integration system into their development process – a practice that merges all latest code versions several times a day whenever any changes are made. Each check-in is then verified by an automated build ant tests suite, allowing the team to detect problems early. The system is like an invisible colleague doing code checks 24/7!

All of the M6P nano-satellite bus subsystems found to be radiation tolerant to 20krad, after the product qualification tests

Nanosatellites such as those based on the M6P satellite bus must be designed to survive the radiation environment in LEO for several years. Only a program of rigorous testing can make commercial satellite operators confident that their satellites will function throughout the mission lifecycle. At NanoAvionics we test our nanosatellite buses and their subsystems regularly, as part of the product qualification process.

Recently, we completed an all-systems radiation test of our M6P multipurpose nanosatellite bus – we simulated a 5-year mission by exposing the M6P’s subsystems to a Cobalt-60 radiation source. The gamma rays generated by the isotope’s decay produced a 20 kRad radiation dose – a worst-case scenario for the internal systems of a satellite that spends 5 years in LEO, at an altitude up to 1000km. The Flight Computer, Electrical Power System, Payload Controller and all other subsystems of the M6P remained fully functional after the tests. These updated test results imply that the expected in-orbit lifetime of M6P and its separate subsystems is minimum 5 years, and in nominal conditions – 10-20 years.

Such a long on-orbit lifespan was once only possible with much larger satellites. The 6U-sized M6P, with its payload volume up to 5U, can support such long-duration LEO missions thanks to its 20kRad radiation tolerant subsystems and integrated chemical propulsion system. Enabling Chemical Propulsion System (EPSS) uses a green monopropellant to perform high-impulse orbital maintenance maneuvers and atmospheric drag compensation maneuvers that extend the satellite’s on-orbit service life.

Manufacturing Electrical Power System of M6P Nano-Satellite Bus

We offer you to have a glimpse at how our Electrical Power System (EPS), the very heart of M6P (and every nano-satellite), is being manufactured. EPS is responsible for controlled supply, flow, and storage of energy for other subsystems and mission’s payload – critical functions, to say the least. This in-house designed, highly efficient and fail-safe subsystem is truly versatile – suitable for all types of payloads – the ones which require high average orbit power and the others – which functionality is based on high peak output power.

The EPS is just part of the whole set of M6P subsystems – every one of them designed with versatility in mind, and being the reason why our Customers choose M6P nano-satellite buses for their small payload missions – amazing performance, no hardware adjustments needed, and extreme cost-effectiveness.

Read the technical overview and request more information about the Electrical Power System (EPS) here:

Manufacturing Mechanical Parts of M6P Nano-Satellite Bus

NanoAvionics’ M6P nano-satellite buses have around 150 mechanical parts, which are being designed, analyzed and manufactured with the highest precision and advanced industrial technologies. Have a look at this sneak-peak video illustrating how we produce some of these mechanical parts at Ekstremalė.

Few highlights of the mechanical processing we bring into play:
– The highest quality age hardened aerospace grade aluminum alloys are being used
– Most of aluminum part surfaces are hard anodized to provide hard wearing and electrically isolating protective layer.
– We use most sophisticated industrial balancing technologies
– All the mechanical parts are weight and stiffness optimized using finite element analysis.
– Electrochemical etching is being used in the manufacturing of the propulsion system
– The sealing surfaces are being polished using precision electrolytic polishing
– Pressure vessels used in the propulsion system are checked with non-destructive testing techniques
– Electrochemical etching is being used in the manufacturing of the propulsion system
– The sealing surfaces are being polished using precision electrolytic polishing

Meet Christophe F. Promper – Propulsion Program Manager at NanoAvionics

Christophe F. Promper has joined NanoAvionics few months ago and took a prominent role of a Propulsion Project Manager. Since then he has been guiding NanoAvionics propulsion engineers through the development of the Enabling “Green” Chemical Propulsion System for Small Satellites (EPSS) and its serial production arrangements.

Christophe has more than two decades of experience working on aerospace propulsion components and he was glad to share his experiences and opinions in this interview, dedicated to the followers of our company.

 

Q: Christophe, you have an extensive work experience and impressive projects in your portfolio – from participation in Ariane 5 LV development to numerous propulsion projects with ESA. Could you briefly introduce how your professional interests have been developing throughout the years?

A: My grand father had already been working on turbines in the early 1920es in Germany. He inspired me to become an engineer. I began studying Aerospace engineering in Liège (Belgium)  then in Aachen (Germany) and continued my studies again in Liege for business administration. Soon after my graduation I served in the Belgian Air-Force before joining the Snecma Group which later evolved into Safran – an international high-technology group and tier-1 supplier of systems and equipment in the Aerospace and Defense markets. Over 20 years, I worked mainly in Belgium, leading a Research and Technology group,  but also in the Russian Far East, as a program manager for air-craft integration of nacelles and engines on a development program, and in Spain within the validation team of the Airbus A400M engines. My work involved projects related to jet engine systems, Ariane V engine and stage valves development and satellite propulsion. Since 2014, I have been working in the same industries through my own company.

 

Due to my professional background and fluency in languages, I was involved in production transfers and other transnational and highly multicultural projects and I have constantly been traveling across continents between Europe, the USA and Russia throughout my career.

 

Q: Is there any particular R&D project that you would be eager to tell us about and share some interesting moments?

A: The most challenging and the rewarding in terms of experience was Superjet100 Nacelle podding in Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Russian far east). Where I had the opportunity to lead the setting-up of a new production site in Russia which contributed to the roll-out and the first flights at power plant level. During this time, I was managing communication between four time-zones, from 90° West to 180° East. I spent more than two years working on this project and this period of time was very dynamic and full of unpredicted challenges and uncountable flights between the Americas, Europe and Asia.

 

Q: What was your first interaction with space and satellite projects?

A: I started to work on new actuation concepts for rocket propulsion equipment in 1994. I participated in numerous reviews with ESA, CNES, Snecma, Roskosmos and other space organizations. In 2003, I became involved with Satellite propulsion components for major EU and Middle East customers. Project time lines from spec to orbit where much longer than what we currently see here at Nanoavionics and this seems to be a common trend within the newspace sector. While for some classic space projects it can take more than twenty years from idea to first flight, this duration can be shorter than a year within the nanosat sector. One key factor for success is the correct understanding of applicable quality requirements and the deduction of the most appropriate quality plan.

 

Q: How to you see the evolution of satellites in terms of miniaturization of the technology and CubeSat industry in particular?

A: I see this small satellite revolution as being really exciting and game-changing for the industry. We can observe many young teams working in an unusual (for us, the “veterans”) and dynamic ways, thus making the technological progress much faster – due to small scale it is possible perform most of the tests in-house, also these teams are much faster in validating technology in space – usually they have funding for several upcoming missions so can receive performance data in much less time, make adjustments and launch again. Of-course, the dynamics might change with the growth of these organizations and with certain commitments for insurance companies and legislative bodies. But at this point it is exciting to observe this space-tech start-up scene shaking up the market.

Meet Jesper A. Larsen – Head of Systems Engineering at NanoAvionics

NanoAvionics has experienced a considerable growth during the recent years and one of its amazing outcomes is the opportunity to work with real experts in the space technology field.

One of them, who recently joined NanoAvionics is Dr. Jesper A. Larsen who took the role of Head of Systems Engineering at the company. Jesper is known in the industry as a man behind one of the first CubeSat missions in Europe and a manager of the Student Space group at Aalborg University.

 

Jesper – great to have you on board! Can you tell the followers of our company a little bit about yourself and your background in the space tech industry?
We started out by building CubeSats at Aalborg University as some of the first teams here in Europe, including the first CubeSat launch in 2003. There weren’t many people building CubeSats back then, therefore everything had to be developed from scratch. This philosophy has stuck at Aalborg University, so even though there are now close to 100 small companies, which are selling all the components needed to build a satellite, we still keep building things from the bottom, thereby forcing students to reiterate the concept for each generation.
We have had groups on both stratospheric balloon test flight as well as several parabolic flight campaigns, on which I also flew myself in 2004, where we were testing the reaction wheels for AAUSAT-II.
In 2013 I formed a company together with a couple of my former students, which focuses on SDR based payloads for CubeSats, mainly, but not limited to maritime monitoring.
Over the years I’ve been given talks, lectures, and consultancy over most of the globe, from Canada and Colombia in the west to Singapore and Japan in the east, and a lot of places in between.

Where do you see the small satellite industry going in terms of key directions for the development?
The small satellites are growing up. Both in size, but also in terms of maturity. From an interesting “toy” 15 years ago, the technology has matured to a point where commercial services can be provided based on the possibilities that a CubeSat offers.
The individual subsystems are also maturing in the sense, that they start getting HW or SW redundancy built in, along with more thorough tests begin performed at the subsystem level. 10 years ago a simple random vibration test was performed for a flight acceptance and that was it. Today system engineers check the qualification programs which the subsystems have been through, which, nowadays, besides thermal and vibration also often include radiation testing.

What are the biggest challenges in this industry?
One major challenge from the technological side is that there’s quite a lack of standards, both on the physical layer, but especially at the protocol layer in-between products from different vendors, which makes it quite difficult and time-consuming, if at all possible, to combine subsystems from different vendors into one satellite.
On the legal side, there’s, of course, the traditional challenges with getting frequency coordination and national approval through in a timely manner. It takes about 1-2 years to get it all in place, so as long as you remember it from the beginning it not too bad.
People sometimes tend to forget, that even though the satellite is physically and monetarily small, it still takes the same effort for ITU to coordinate the frequency, for UNOOSA and the national register to register the satellite and an even bigger effort for NORAD to track the satellite as it would be for a large traditional satellite.

What advantages you see in the NanoAvionics’ product portfolio?
I see two strong directions: Propulsion and integrated platform solutions.
On the propulsion side there’s no good European flight proven cubesat solutions out there for orbit manoeuvres, which is needed.
On the platform side, then a turn key platform solution has a high potential, where customers could just come with their payload and it’s plug-n’-launch. It’s sort of like when I built my first computer – motherboard from one shop, hard disk from a second and ram from a third. Today you’d just go and buy a pre-assembled computer, where you know that all the parts work together and has been tested together. The same will happen for the more professional side of the CubeSat market, where customers are just interested in the data from the payload, and how they get it does not matter anymore.