Weighing a mere 6 kg and under 30 cm in length, it carried a computer ten times more powerful than any other satellite of the European Space Agency. The lab will serve as a testbed for several innovative onboard satellite systems and space mission control techniques.
“What makes this mission unique is that it caters to an actual need of the space industry. On the one hand, the sector must perfect its procedures and improve mission efficiency. On the other, due to costs associated with satellite manufacture and orbital launches, it simply cannot risk failure by relying on experimental solutions yet untested in space. OPS-SAT addresses this very problem and presents an opportunity to implement completely new, often revolutionary ideas and systems,” said Jacek Kosiec, President of the Management Board of Creotech Instruments S.A. Creotech, together with its Polish partners, the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) and GMV Polska, was responsible for around a third of relevant work.
The satellite is designed so that the failure of one of the numerous experiments does affect the others. More than 100 companies from as many as 17 European countries have already expressed interest in testing their solutions on the platform.
“In this project, we are a subcontractor for the Graz University of Technology of Austria and are responsible for programming the satellite’s onboard communication module,” explained Jacek Kosiec. “The module’s purpose is to ensure reliable communication between the Earth and the satellite, as well as direct communication between its components. It is one of the key elements of any mission. Through its participation in this project, Creotech gained unique experience in building such subsystems, which has already allowed the company to secure contracts for similar solutions.”
The mission was launched on 17 December, at 9:54 a.m. Polish time, when a Soyuz rocket took off from the Kourou launch facility in French Guiana. It deployed the OPS-SAT into a heliocentric orbit 600 km above the Earth. Worth around EUR 2.5 million, the project, apart from Polish entities, also involved companies from Denmark, Germany and Austria.