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Small and Medium Enterprise Satellite (SME-SAT)

Final Report Summary - SME-SAT (Small and Medium Enterprise Satellite (SME-SAT))

Executive Summary:
Fuelled by mass market demand, terrestrial consumer electronics continue to drive technology advancement in the field of microelectronics devices. Many of these technologies are spearheaded by the contributions of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME). There is a clear opportunity to revolutionize space technologies by leveraging advancement in the commercial electronics market. However, despite the benefits to the space industry, it remains difficult for SMEs to get involved due to the significant cost, effort, time, and paper work to qualify parts for space applications.
The primary purpose of this spacecraft is as a technology demonstrator. Each SME in the consortium will be responsible for contributing a particular spacecraft subsystem. These systems/subsystems will be integrated into a nanosatellite forming SME-SAT and allow Small to Medium Enterprises to qualify and characterise their technologies in the space environment.
The SME-SAT will be implemented using a 3U Commercially Available Off the Shelf (COTS) structure. The 3U standard consists of a structure that has an external envelope of 100 mm x 100 mm x 340.5 mm, internal envelope of 98.4 mm x 98.4 mm x 295.2 mm (L x W x H). Solar arrays will be mounted on the outside of the structure to provide a source of renewable energy to the bespoke power system. Internally, the electronic subsystems conform to a PC/104 standard that allows system integration within the allowable mechanical envelope. The subsystems jointly provide the platform functionality and intelligence.
A majority of the sensor payloads are internal to the satellite except the magnetometer which is situated on a deployable boom. The magnetometer can be moved on the boom approximately 300 mm away from the spacecraft to reduce the effect of magnetic interference from the cubesat.
The SME-SAT project brought together one of the largest SME consortiums in order to develop advanced space technologies based on terrestrial applications. The aim of the project was to provide a platform for the partners to qualify their technologies both on ground and in the space environment within 3 years of the project start date. This project presents a unique, unprecedented space mission, fostering a new alliance between SME’s, universities and a large scale space prime/integrator in which high risk technologies will be developed and fully tested in space using CubeSats.

The particular payloads that will be demonstrated in this project include:
▪ High precision ADCS (Surrey)
▪ Nano-Control Moment Gyros for agility (Surrey)
▪ Gyros (Sensonor)
▪ Accelerometers (Sensonor/Theon)
▪ Star sensor (ISIS)
▪ Failure Detection, Isolation and Recovery (HSS)
▪ Power system (SystematIC design, NL)
▪ Thermal Structures (MPB)
▪ Magnetometer (LEMI)

Project Context and Objectives:
The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the project achievements and current status. The report also provides information concerning activities and tasks completed in all the previous work periods as well as current issues, risks and mitigation plans for future developments. A detailed description of all Work Package Tasks and development activities can be found in the D 5.4 - SME-SAT 2nd Period Report. SME-SAT Partner Final Technical Reports are included at the end of this document.

Project Results:
To date, the SME-SAT consortium partners and staff have been able to:

“Design, build, integrate and test platform and payload subsystem hardware and software into a new technology demonstrator mission based on the 3U CubeSat standard.”

As of 30 June 2016, the SME-SAT project has been closed. Surrey proposed a plan with the EC on 5 July 2016 and agreed to deliver outstanding deliverables by 3 August 2016, to review and adjust as required by the EC during August, and to formally close the project by 30 August 2016. No further actions are planned after this date.

As per the project goals, each subsystem has undergone new developments to raise the technology readiness level (TRL), and these results can be exploited for research and commercial purposes. Since 2013, the consortium partners have worked
together to ensure that hardware and software interfaces allowed for a complete satellite model and minimal remedial work or loss of project time.

A summary of the hardware status and qualification is presented at project close. At the start of the project the qualification status of each subsystem was reviewed and a tailored qualification plan was generated. The intention of the development plan was to ensure that all hardware was at the same level of acceptance prior to launch. The tests conducted included inspection, functional testing, vibration, thermal testing. The specific rationale and descriptions are provided in D2.4 – Qualification test results.

Potential Impact:
Given that the project is to be close before launch, the primary benefits and impacts of this project sadly cannot be achieved. However, there are a number of papers and presentations that have highlighted the project's work and the SME partner organisations to the space community as detailed in D4.2.

The Exploitation Plan for each platform and payload subsystem for research and commercial systems and also for future applications and opportunities was detailed in D4.3.
Although there is no current plan for exploiting the mission given the lack of flight results, parts of exploitation plans of each subsystem developed have been achieved. In particular:
• New payloads have achieved TRL raising activities required to for future research and business proposals.
• Conform to the CubeSat specifications of volume, mass, and power.
• Working closely with existing space industry and academia towards understanding and making new links in the space and aerospace sector.
• An appreciation for future expectations of downlink data budgets in CubeSat missions.
• A number of journal and conference articles, plus presentations to the public.

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