Space Technology


News from LEOP (Launch and Early Operations Phase)

Both satellte in good health state

Published on 2024-01-30 10:30 UTC

Even after just over two weeks of LEOP and the commissioning phase, the two NanoFF satellites are still in very good condition. A positive power budget was confirmed in the first few days of LEOP and the batteries were fully charged after their stay in the ION orbital transfer vehicle. Both satellites are operated in several daily passes and, in addition to commissioning, navigation data is also recorded to monitor the relative orbit drift.
The operations team is currently working on commissioning the attitude determination and control system. NanoFF B has already been successfully pointed towards the sun.


Published on 2024-01-30 10:30 UTC

NanoFF A - NORAD ID 58810
NanoFF B - NORAD ID 58755

Shortly after deployment (2024-01-12 for NanoFF B and 2024-01-16 for NanoFF A) we were able to confirm with the help of our GNSS data that the above mentioned objects are the NanoFF satellites.

Two Line Elements (TLE) for NanoFF B

Published on 2024-01-09 20:30 UTC

Here are the preliminary TLE for NanoFF B:

1 99999U 24000XX  24010.21910573  .00000000  00000-0  33105-5 0  9993
2 99999  97.6457  79.4258 0017058 106.5628  73.1545 15.01768915    07

Deployment of the satellites

Published on 2024-01-09 08:30 UTC

NanoFF B will be deployed from the ION orbit transfer vehicle on the 2024-01-10 at 05:15 UTC. NanoFF A is scheduled for deployment on the 2024-01-11 at 05:38 UTC. For initial tracking, the TLEs from ION (ID 58469) can be used. After separation the satellites are transmitting a beacon every 60s in the UHF band on 435.950 MHz. It contains the morse code transmission of the respective callsign DP0NFA and DP0NFB. It is transmitted in CW via FM (F2A). The transmission of the beacon will be disabled during the first contact. After that, telemetry transmissions of the satellites over Europe can be received. More information on how to receive the satellites can be found here.

Project Overview

ProjectnameNanosatellites in Formation Flight (NanoFF)
Contact PersonSascha Kapitola
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.