Space Technology


Project Overview

ProjectnameNanosatellites in Formation Flight (NanoFF)
Contact PersonDr.-Ing. Sascha Weiß
Funded byFederal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
Grant No.50 RU 1803

The NanoFF project follows seamlessly the phase B study NanoFF-DeKon and is a project funded by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Within the project a 2U CubeSat with a propulsion system will be developed. After the successful qualification of the satellite, two flight models will be launched into a sun-synchronous orbit to perform formation flight manoeuvres. The primary mission objective is to fly a helix orbit. The satellites can be moved along their orbits in order to change the distance and to demonstrate different application scenarios. In the course of the mission, further formations are to be adopted in which one of the satellites will autonomously maintain its relative position to the other. 

According to the CubeSat Design Specification, the satellite will have a mass of 2.67 kg and dimensions of 100 x 100 x 227 mm³. It is divided into three parts of approximately equal size (propulsion 0.6U, bus 0.7U, payload 0.7U), of which both bus and payload are fully redundant. NanoFF uses deployable solar panels to generate the needed energy. These were developed at the department and will be verified on orbit within NanoFF. Reaction wheels and magnetorquers as well as a combination of star, solar, magnetic field and angular rate sensors are used to determine the position for the high-precision attitude control required for formation flight. Communication to and from the ground is handled via S- and UHF band.

As a payload each satellite will fly a camera system with four narrowband spectral channels, with both satellites potentially being equipped with different optical filters. This would allow a broader bandwidth of scientific data. The camera system will be radiometrically calibrated, the ground pixel resolution 39 m with a swath width of more than 160 km from a 575 km SSO. For the download of all the generated data, an S-band transmitter will be used.