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SmallSat Briefs – Momentus and LeoStella Unveil New Satellite Buses

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 9, 2023
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SmallSat Briefs – Momentus and LeoStella Unveil New Satellite Buses
Small Satellite conference logo.

Greetings from the 37th Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah! Momentus and LeoStella have unveiled new satellite buses, NearSpace Launch and SEOPS have partnered to develop a new space tug, Pale Blue and Flight Works won contracts, Interstellar Technologies will use gas from cow manure to power its new launch vehicle, and much more.

Product Launches

Momentus Unveils Satellite Bus

Momentus has unveiled its first satellite bus, M-1000. The bus is based on the company’s Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle, which is used to deploy satellites during rideshare missions. Momentus said the low-cost bus offers up to up to 3 kW of peak power, a large payload capacity, and a flexible configuration. Momentus submitted a proposal to the US Space Development Agency to produce 50 satellites using the M-1000 satellite bus for the Tranche 2 Transport Layer Alpha program.

NearSpace & SEOP Collaborate on OctoBus Platform

NearSpace Launch and SEOPS announced the new OctoBus on-orbit launch platform. OctoBus combines SEOP’s proven Octobucket with NearSpace Launch’s satellite flight control systems. OctoBus will be capable of deploying satellites, hosting payloads, and performing other on-orbit functions.

LeoStella LS-300 satellite bus.
Satellite based on LS-300 bus. Image credit: InfoStella.

LeoStella Upsizes Satellite Bus

LeoStella revealed its new LS-300 satellite bus, which weighs 500 kg (1,102 lb) and can accommodate 250 kg (551 lb) payloads. The company said the new, more powerful bus is ideal for customers seeking to win contracts from the US Space Force’s Space Development Agency.

Moog Unveils New Solar Array Drive Assembly

Moog exhibited its new small satellite solar array drive assembly (SADA) during the conference. SADA is a compact power solution for positioning the solar arrays of small satellites.

Benchmark Announces Satellite Autopilot, Partners with Kayhan Space

Benchmark Space Systems unveiled what it said is the first-ever satellite “autopilot” system. SmartAIM (Smart Advanced In-Space Mobility) features an onboard software control solution capable of managing highly precise satellite maneuvers and travel through increasingly congested space.

Benchmark also announced a strategic partnership with Kayhan Space to integrate the company’s Pathfinder spaceflight safety service with the SmartAIM propulsion platform. Pathfinder’s capabilities for optimized maneuver planning and autonomous space traffic coordination provide a unique and complementary offering when paired with SmartAIM.

Bright Ascension Introduces New Product Suite

Software provider 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 the end-to-end space software solution will enable operators and space-based service providers to maximize their mission potential by making full use of available assets while reducing costs across development, operations, and data delivery.

Contracts

Pale Blue Wins Propulsion Contract

Japanese satellite propulsion manufacturer Pale Blue of Japan won a contract with Yonsei University of South Korea to provide its Resistojet water-vapor system for a pair of 6U CubeSats. The satellites will use the propulsion system as they fly in formation testing a laser crosslink communications system.

“The laser crosslink payload employs a deployable optical telescope in order to compensate for the compact bus capability of a typical CubeSat platform,” Pale Blue said in a press release. “With this novel design, a stable communication link can be achieved at a distance of up to 1000 km [621 miles]. The proposed data rate is at least 1 Gbps, which is a challenging objective given the efficient and low-cost nature of the systems.”

Flight Works to Demonstrate Xenon Transfer

Flight Works has received a NASA Small Business Innovation Research Phase I award to demonstrate the efficient transfer of xenon for on-orbit servicing applications. The technology utilizes a high-pressure ratio compressor capable of transferring xenon at greater than 10 kg per hour at a maximum power of less than 200 watts.

HEMERIA wins contract for Earth observation constellation

HEMERIA has signed a contract with PROMÉTHÉE to deliver the first satellite for the JAPETUS Earth observation constellation. HEMERIA will supply an additional 20 satellites after the launch of the first satellite. The satellites will weigh 50 kg and be based on the new HP-EOS platform. PROMÉTHÉE said the constellation will make it the first European satellite operator capable of delivering real-time and highly responsive data and services.

Technology

Japanese X-ray Observatory Ready to Fly

Japanese research institute RIKEN, Mitsui Busan Aerospace, and Kongsberg NanoAvionics announced that the NinjaSat1 X-ray observatory is ready to launch on the SpaceX Transporter-9 mission later this year. NinjaSat1 will observe X-ray photons from bright X-ray objects in the universe. The observatory aims to observe black holes and neutron stars that suddenly brighten in X-rays. NanoAvionics supplied its 6U CubeSat bus and integrated payloads provided by RIKEN.

Interstellar Technologies to Use Cow Manure Gas

Japanese launch company Interstellar Technologies announced it will use liquid biomethane derived from livestock manure to power its ZERO launch vehicle. Air Water Hokkaido will supply the gas. Interstellar is planning to conduct a static fire of ZERO’s engine powered by Air Water’s liquid biomethane this Fall.

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