Assembly of software-defined OneSat spacecraft about to start
(14 Dec 2021) OneSat, the latest type of telecommunication satellite that can respond from space to changing demands on Earth, is about to start assembly of its electronic components.
The highly flexible satellite is setting a new paradigm for geostationary telecommunication satellites by using off-the-shelf commercial components in the standardised physical hardware and using just software to configure bespoke missions, according to ESA.
The design was developed in an ESA Novacom Partnership Project with satellite manufacturer Airbus, which has now sold seven different OneSats to various commercial customers. The OneSat spacecraft were ordered by Inmarsat (three satellites), Intelsat (two), Sky Perfect JSAT and Optus (one each).
OneSat's avionics rely on two complex electronic units: the command and data management unit; and the power-supply regulator.
- The command and data management unit, which is being designed and built by Airbus in Elancourt, France, monitors and controls everything on the satellite and continuously processes the data needed to operate it autonomously and safely.
- The power-supply regulator, which is being developed and manufactured by Airbus Crisa in Tres Cantos, Spain, provides the electrical power needed for all equipment to fully function. It does this both during full daylight and eclipses, shifting power generation between solar arrays and batteries and ensuring a proper supply is available whether the satellite operates at full power or any fraction of its capacity.
To keep costs low and lead times short, these two units are being made from carefully selected commercial off-the-shelf components, rather than radiation-hardened ones specially developed for use in space.
This means the OneSat satellites will be able to use advanced technologies such as gallium nitride transistors on the power-supply regulator, which enables better performances and limits heat dissipation, compared with classical space-rated components.
Both equipment units passed their critical design review earlier this year and production of the flight models has now begun.
Reference: ESA PR