Space Technology


Project Overview

ProjectnameDetailed Concept for Nanosatellites in Formation Flight (NanoFF-DeKon)
Contact PersonDipl.-Ing. Sascha Weiß
Funded byFederal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
Grant No.50 RU 1701

In the NanoFF-DeKon project (phase B) it was investigated how two nanosatellites can be launched together into a low earth orbit in order to fly in different formations. The project focused on the following 4 aspects.

The satellite bus will be a further development of the BEESAT series. Important points were, of course, the integration of a propulsion and the further miniaturisation of individual components. At the same time, the satellite should remain single failure tolerant and the redundancy should be increased. The study showed that the number of boards can be reduced compared to BEESAT-1,-2,-4. Thus the PCU (hot redundant), OBC (warm redundant), COM (UHF and S-band each redundant) and the majority of the ACS sensors (except sun and star sensors) can be assembled on 2 boards. Together with the battery/reaction wheel (4 wheels) assembly, the entire satellite bus can be integrated on approx. 0.7U. Together with the 0.6U for the propulsion, the selected 2U configuration provides 0.7U for the payload. In order to increase the generated energy, the satellite should have deployable solar panels.

In addition, manoeuvres and formations were investigated which can be carried out with the given delta v and which provides meaningful application possibilities for CubeSats. Within the scope of a mission, a helix orbit comparable to the TanDEM-X, TerraSAR-X formation, will be flown. Furthermore, Along-Track-Orbits, In-Track-Orbits and a Projected Circular Orbit, in which one satellite is "orbited" by the other, are considered. This is particularly suitable for observing other spacecraft.

The possibilities of integrating an optical payload were also studied. It is expected that 4 optics can be integrated into the satellite for earth observation. Each sensor should record a different spectral channel for scientific use of the image data.

Within NanoFF-DeKon, a first model was produced, mostly 3D printed. Only the mechanisms for the deployment of the solar panels were made properly for a flight demonstration. The project was completed with the PDR in November 2018 and the results will be used within the NanoFF project.