- Vaida Karaliunaite
One of the leading providers of small satellite technology NanoAvionics has developed an innovative small satellite propulsion system which has passed extensive testing and qualification programs and is scheduled to have its in-orbit demonstration in May. This is an important advancement in the space industry, as the propulsion system will significantly lower the cost of small satellite constellation operations by an estimated 80 percent.
The in-orbit demonstration will be conducted by maneuvering LituanicaSAT-2, a 3U smallsat which will be launched with PSLV from India, as part of QB50 project. Besides maneuvering the orbit, The Enabling Propulsion System for Small Satellites (EPSS) will empower LituanicaSAT-2 to attain the correct attitude and orientation, avoid collisions, compensate for drag, and ultimately prolong its orbital lifetime by a factor of four.
The EPSS will easily provide standard commercial 6-unit or 12-unit platforms with at least 200 m/s of delta-V as a nominal option. Furthermore, the propulsion uses a contemporary, non-toxic, mono-propellant blend, and adheres to the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Clean Space Initiatives.
The currently developed EPSS will enable SmallSats to achieve an unprecedented amount of functionality. “Propulsion enables satellite constellations to perform high precision maneuverability requiring orbital missions such as commercial Earth Observation (EO), high frequency and data throughput communication, accurate weather forecasting, swarm and formation flights, interplanetary missions and many other applications,” says Vytenis Buzas, CEO and Co-Founder of NanoAvionics. “There are currently no technical solutions available on the market to empower our targeted range of SmallSats with high performance propulsion systems that are low in cost and possess the required level of functionality and technological adaptability.”
The new EPSS fills this need, and will shake up the space industry by granting SmallSats comparable performance and functionality to their large counterparts, at a fraction of the cost.
The benefits of this affordable space propulsion system will empower space startups and science missions, adhering to NanoAvionics’ goal of making space accessible to a wide range of organizations around the globe.
NanoAvionics is currently working with its customers to develop a 6-unit platform that will be powered by EPSS. It will demonstrate the extended functionality that EPSS provides, and will be capable of performing both high-value commercial services as well as scientific experiments.
NanoAvionics is a Small Satellite and CubeSat mission integrator that provides products and technological solutions including electronic and mechanical subsystems, complete integral satellite platforms, and mission integration services. Products provided by NanoAvionics address the significant factors of price, durability, reliability, integrity, and lead time.
NanoAvionics supplies customers worldwide and has implemented successful satellite missions including LituanicaSAT-1 (first national satellite mission) and LituanicaSAT-2 which will be launched in the 2nd quarter of 2017. NanoAvionics performs intensive R&D activities and is currently developing enabling green propulsion technologies that will unlock new opportunities for Small Satellite and CubeSat applications and businesses.
The company’s goal is to make small satellites affordable to a wide range of companies and organizations around the globe, expanding their capabilities. NanoAvionics is an active member of the global small satellite community. Learn more at www.n-avionics.com.