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Space Blog

Fly the subsystems we fly!

At SSTL we are proud of our mission heritage, with the 39th successful small satellite launch chalked-up in 2012. However, none of these would have even been possible without our reliable satellite subsystems.
Subsystems are vital to the operation of a spacecraft, its maneuvering, and fulfilling mission objectives by imaging the Earth or recording payload data.

It’s a little known fact that SSTL designs and constructs the majority of the systems and subsystems used in its missions. SSTL also provides subsystems for a broad range of international third party missions too, and these are all available via a new dedicated microsite so anyone can leverage SSTL’s cost effective, space heritage products and fly the subsystems we fly.
NigeriaSat-2 (SSTL-300 platform) during final assembly and test 2011 Subsystems are developed in-house using SSTL’s innovative and cost-effective approach to space systems engineering and product build. This gives us control over the schedule, cost and performance, enabling SSTL to keep to customer-agreed budgets and deliver to schedule. Our subsystems have 7+ years design life and benefit from extensive flight heritage onboard SSTL missions. We are flexible, often working with customers to adapt our heritage subsystems to meet specific mission or platform requirements.

Launched into a sun synchronous orbit in 2011, NigeriaSat-2 is SSTL’s most advanced Earth observation (EO) spacecraft in LEO orbit, providing high resolution optical imaging to the Nigerian National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). This agile spacecraft flies the latest innovations in On-board Data Handling (OBDH) and RF communications necessary to support simultaneous off-NADIR imaging and high data-rate downlinking, in near real-time. The OBDH and RF communications payload downlink chain comprises a High Speed Data Recorder (HSDR), X-band Transmitter (XTx) and Antenna Pointing Mechanism (APM) offering 5GBps data-rate acquisition, 16Gbytes data storage and 105Mbps agile downlink with BER below 10-6. The APM’s wide range of motion allows NigeriaSat-2 to simultaneously track the ground station while slewing by up to 45 degrees off the NADIR. A similar downlink payload is also employed by data-intensive missions such as the recently launched AIS satellite exactView-1.

The requirement for higher data storage and downlink rates continues and to fulfill the operational requirements for SSTL’s DMC-3 mission, a constellation of three very high resolution optical imaging satellites of 1m GSD, based upon NigeriaSat-2 avionics and a more advanced imaging payload, an up-graded X-band payload down-link chain has been developed. The HSDR will fly with a secondary Flash Mass Memory Unit (FMMU), while a next generation X-band transmitter and APM with a higher gain antenna will also fly. The technical specification for this market-leading RF communication downlink configuration includes 256 GB mass memory, 500 Mbps X-band transmitter. The payload will fly on TechDemoSat-1 in 2013 to gain early flight heritage. As well as been slated to fly on DMC-3, the payload down-link chain will also fly on SSTL’s NovaSAR-S. For more long term missions, SSTL is looking to make use of the higher bandwidth available at Ka-band and the next generation XTx modulator has been designed with this in mind. SSTL is also focused on developing an APM capable supporting payload data down-link over the 1.5 GHz bandwidth at Ka-band, potentially enabling downlink at 1 Gbps and above.

SSTL produces manuals, test reports and full warranties for all of its subsystems and also offers its vast expertise and experience in integration to help customers integrate SSTL subsystems into their platforms. These are just some of the subsystems and suites available, to find out more about our subsystems and learn about the latest deals (based on the latest subsystem batches produced) visit the subsystems microsite.





03 December 20120 Comments1 Comment

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