SmallSat Briefs – DCUBED to Conduct In-Space Manufacturing Mission (Image Credit: Parabolic Arc)
Greetings from Logan, Utah! At this week’s Small Satellite conference, DCubed announced the first in-space manufacturing mission, Endurosat, and Vyoma unveiled Europe’s first in-orbit space situational awareness (SSA) mission, Blue Canyon and KSAT were among multiple companies showcasing new products, Comat announced it was doubling its production capacity, and much more.
DCUBED announces In-space manufacturing demo
DCUBED announced it would conduct the world’s first in-space manufacturing mission in the first quarter of 2024. The Munich, Germany-based company plans to use a satellite to produce a 30-cm high, 3D-printed truss structure in space.
“Payload limitations and costs are real barriers hindering the use of space for the benefit of mankind. There is an urgent need for large structures in orbit to support an ecosystem providing services as diverse as internet from space, IoT, and Earth observation. The establishment of our new key business division shows that we at DCUBED always want to push the boundaries of what is possible, enabling our partners and customers to think big in space. Our demonstration of manufacturing in free space promises to revolutionize in-space fabrication and repair of space structures and trigger a paradigm shift in how we approach the production of space hardware, opening many doors which we can’t even imagine right now. This is a truly disruptive enabling technology,” said CEO and Founder Thomas Sinn.
EnduroSat & Vyoma collaborate on SSA mission
Vyoma and EnduroSat announced the two companies are collaborating on Europe’s first commercial in-orbit SSA mission. Vyoma’s in-orbit optical telescopes will observe space objects and map the orbital environment at a high frequency, providing SSA data and services with near-zero latency. EnduroSat will design and build the microsats that will house the telescopes. The first two pilot satellites are scheduled for launch at the end of 2024. The full constellation will have 12 satellites.
Blue Canyon introduces its largest CubeSat
RTX’s Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) has introduced the XB16 CubeSat, which is the largest form factor in its CubeSat product line. The XB-16 offers 14U of payload volume with a canister-dependent option with an additional 12,000 cubic centimeters of volume. The new CubeSat can be utilized for Earth observation, remote sensing, and in-space communications.
KSAT unveils automated Ka-band ground network
KSAT announced that its KSAlite is the world’s first commercial fully automated Ka-band ground network optimized for small satellite constellations.
“This fully automated tri-band satellite communication network will enable seamless communication across multiple frequency bands using a standardized 4-channel baseband unit. By integrating S-band uplink and downlink, X-band downlink, and Ka-band downlink capabilities, KSATlite Ka-band services offer flexibility, coverage, and high speeds, unlocking the full potential of high-throughput applications such as Earth observation, data-intensive research, and real-time communication,” the company said in a press release.
Bright Ascension launches new product suite
Scottish software company Bright Ascension introduced a new product suite covering the entire space system from spacecraft flight software and ground operations systems to service management products and data-insights applications. The company said it designed the suite to allow satellite operators to make full use of available assets and save significant costs across development, operations and data delivery.
ERG showcased Duocel foam
ERG Materials and Aerospace showcased its Duocel foam material during the conference. Duocel is a lightweight, rigid, and customizable open-cell foam with solid ligaments, specifically designed for space and aerospace applications.
Comat doubling manufacturing capacity
French satellite component manufacturer Comat announced it will invest €8 million (USD $8.8 million) in a new facility that will double the company’s production capacity. The move is designed to meet the needs of NewSpace customers, particularly ones launching large numbers of satellites.
“We are seeing a real increase in our order intake on the constellations,” said General Manager Ludovic Daudois.
Experior Laboratories partners with Acoustic Research Systems
Experior Laboratories and Acoustic Research Systems (ARS) announced a partnership to provide spaceflight hardware manufacturers and launch providers with a full suite of next-generation direct field acoustic testing capabilities. Experior Labs offers customers cost-effective testing services that include vibration, shock, thermal, and vacuum. The ARS NEUTRON system increases access to testing for any size item with an acoustic test requirement without significantly impacting a customer’s schedule.
ExoTerra demonstrates Halo Hall-effect thruster
ExoTerra Resource successfully demonstrated the Halo Hall-effect thruster on orbit last month. On June 22, 2023, a Defense Advance Research Projects Agency Blackjack ACES spacecraft successfully lit its Halo propulsion system on its first attempt. Engineers plan to commission additional modules in the coming weeks. The Halo Hall-effect thruster is a 100-450 W class electric thruster designed for microsatellites.
Xona certifies Spirent’s SimXona simulator
Spirent announced that Xona Space Systems has fully certified SimXona, an industry-first Xona satellite constellation simulator. Xona is developing PULSAR, a commercial positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) service built on a backbone of low Earth orbit (LEO) small satellites. SimXona can simulate the Xona LEO constellation on its own and in concert with Spirent’s comprehensive PNT and threat simulation capabilities.
Green Circuits achieves IPC certification
Electronics manufacturer Green Circuits has achieved the prestigious IPC certification for J-STD-001 Space and Military Addendum. Originally developed for NASA projects, the Space and Military Addendum within the IPC J-STD-001 standard was specifically crafted to address the unique demands of the aerospace and defense communities.