. 24/7 Space News .
Successful satellite launch for Graz University of Technology, Austria
by Staff Writers
Styria, Austria (SPX) Dec 19, 2019

The European Space Agency ESA's CubeSat OPS-SAT, developed by TU Graz, was successfully launched into space on board a Soyuz VS23 on 18 December at 09:54 am CET.

The aim of the OPS-SAT mission, which is being controlled from ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, is to carry out low-risk tests on space software directly in the course of flight. Until now, such in-orbit tests have been avoided for reasons of reliability.

Now, though, the OPS-SAT "flying laboratory" will validate new operating concepts in orbit. These range from the latest satellite control technologies to intelligent software for space vehicles, including on-board automatic image recognition systems and artificial intelligence.

This enables ESA to test cutting-edge technology in a low-risk setting. "OPS-SAT gives us room to innovate. Although it is small, this nanosatellite is bursting with potential, such as the opportunity to validate components of future exploration missions in orbit and test complex infrastructure on the ground," says Rolf Densing, ESA's Director of Mission Operations and head of the control centre.

Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) is responsible for the technical side of ESA's first CubeSat mission, which has been implemented at a cost of EUR 2.4 million; the administrative main contractor is UniTel IT-Innovation. Subcontractors from Germany, Poland, Denmark and Austria are also involved, alongside with suppliers from France and the UK. The launch service is provided by Tyvak International from Italy.

Flying hardware and software lab
Otto Koudelka, the project manager of the industrial team and head of the Institute of Communication Networks and Satellite Communications at TU Graz, comments: "At present, communication standards dating back to 1994 are still being used in space missions. Radiation-hardened - and as a result very expensive - processors for use in space technology are lagging about ten years behind their terrestrial counterparts."

However, these technologies are still around for a reason - ESA and other space agencies put their faith in tried-and-tested technology due to its reliability, which makes it a safe option. In this respect, OPS-SAT is making an important contribution to innovation.

"Now it's time for something new," Koudelka sums up. The OPS-SAT mission is a chance for ESA to develop and test new operational space applications. "OPS-SAT is the means for low-risk, cost-effective testing of new high-performance processors, radio and optical data receivers and space software under realistic conditions in space," Otto Koudelka explains.

Over 130 experiments from 12 countries
The core of the 30cm x 10cm x 10cm flying laboratory is a high-powered processor developed at TU Graz. Software developed by OPS-SAT scientists and pre-tested on the ground at the European Space Operation Centre ESOC will be uploaded to the OPS-SAT processor from the ground station in Darmstadt. This processor has access to peripherals including a camera focused on Earth, optical and radio receivers, as well as an experimental altitude control system that will test new algorithms.

A cryptography experiment using optical data transmission via laser, between the Lustbuehel Observatory in Graz and OPS-SAT, is also on the agenda. In this data security experiment, a cryptographic key will be used to encrypt the radio channel that will send data to the ground station at speeds of up to 50Mbit per second. Remote sensing experiments using on-board image processing technology will also be carried out. In addition, a programmable radio receiver on the satellite is designed to detect interference signals coming from Earth in certain frequency ranges. OPS-SAT will enable entire software programs and a large programmable logic chip (field-programmable array) to be loaded and modified during flight.

This will test ways in which flight software can be updated or modified reliably and securely during a mission, which will generate insights for future ESA missions. Despite its small size, the satellite has an uplink speed of 256kbit per second and a downlink speed of 1Mbit per second - the fastest transmission rate in the telemetry system of any ESA satellite to date; the standard rate is 64kbit per second.

The test phase will begin as soon as the European Space Operations Centre receives the first signals from OPS-SAT, which are due to arrive this evening at around 18:30. The first experiments will be performed after the commissioning phase.

Graz, Austria: a high-profile international space research hub
TU Graz Rector Harald Kainz is delighted with the university's successes in space research: "The TU Graz team headed by Otto Koudelka, the father figure behind the satellite, launched Austria's first satellite, TUGSAT-1, into space and this laid the foundations for further missions like ESA's OPS-SAT nanosatellite that was launched today." TU Graz's achievements in this field have also been supported by close links with major international players and local infrastructure partners.

As Harald Kainz explains: "We work very closely with the Austrian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute; with the Lustbuehel observatory, an internationally recognised monitoring station for all kinds of space projects; TU Graz's campus is home to the ground station for another international satellite initiative, the BRITE mission; and we have close ties with a number of Austrian pioneers in space research, such as the late Willibald Riedler, with Hans Sunkel and Wolfgang Baumjohann. Without doubt, Austria - and Graz in particular - is a high-profile international hub for space research."

Satellite research is part of TU Graz's Information, Communication and Computing, and Mobility and Production fields of expertise, two of the university's five scientific research focuses.

Related Links
Graz University of Technology
Microsat News and Nanosat News at SpaceMart.com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Sandbox satellite to test operations innovations in space
Paris (ESA) Dec 16, 2019
This coming Tuesday, ESA is launching the most powerful flight computer ever flown in space - inside a satellite smaller than a shoebox. The OPS-SAT nanosatellite will be the world's first orbiting software laboratory, available to test novel methods of operating missions in actual space conditions. OPS-SAT is ESA's latest technology CubeSat - a small satellite based on standardised 10 cm boxes, much cheaper and quicker to build than traditional missions. ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Boeing sends first crew capsule to ISS this week

Europe powers up for third and fourth Orion spacecraft

NASA selects informal learning institutions to engage next generation

United Launch Alliance set to launch Starliner Capsule on test mission

Equipment installation for Angara Launch Pad at Russia's Vostochny to start Sunday

Aerojet Rocketdyne selected to provide solid rocket motor for Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon

SpaceX launches JCSAT 18 Kacific 1 communication satellite

Scaling up for the next generation of rocket technology Down Under

Developing a technique to study past Martian climate

Scientists map a planet's global wind patterns for the first time, and it's not Earth

Mars Express tracks the phases of Phobos

Lockheed Martin delivers Mars 2020 rover aeroshell to launch site

China sends six satellites into orbit with single rocket

China launches satellite service platform

China plans to complete space station construction around 2022: expert

China conducts hovering and obstacle avoidance test in public for first Mars lander mission

Kacific's first satellite in orbit

Iridium Continues GMDSS Readiness with Announcement of Launch Partners

Nilesat-301 satellite to be built by Thales Alenia Space

SpaceChain sends blockchain tech to ISS

Capricorn Space and Infostellar cooperate to enable On Demand ground segment services

Shedding light in the dark: radar satellites lead the way

Liquid flow is influenced by a quantum effect in water

UV-Bodyguard by ajuma - sophisticated technology to prevent sunburn

Europe's exoplanet hunter blasts off from Earth

NYU Abu Dhabi researcher discovers exoplanets can be made less habitable by stars' flares

Breathable atmospheres may be more common in the universe than we first thought

Europe's exoplanet hunter set for blast-off from Earth

NASA's Juno navigators enable Jupiter cyclone discovery

The PI's Perspective: What a Year, What a Decade!

Reports of Jupiter's Great Red Spot demise greatly exaggerated

Aquatic rover goes for a drive under the ice

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.