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Payload Universal Geostationary Interface

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PLUGIN (Payload Universal Geostationary Interface)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

-The PLUGIN study for European Commission aims at developing technical standards and business models guidelines to interface IOD/IOVs on Airbus DS Telecom commercial GEO platforms. IOD/ IOV representing a vast range of applications (from Techno demonstration to whole system or end to end service), the study team preferred considering the embarkation of Hosted Payloads -as a generic terminology- on board the GEO space segment .
Hosted Payload providers, commercial or institutional are more and more considering flying as passenger on Commercial GEO as this scheme can be a “win win win” approach. Nevertheless the approach has a range of risks as many parameters have to be considered in the overall equation.

-Defining standards might be a way to decrease overall costs and therefore allow attraction of more candidates for flight in GEO, especially for IOD/ IOV/ TDP.

-The study has been divided into two parallel branches:

• The Passenger Representative Panel (PRP) focused on the development of the interface requirements from a technical, operational and programmatic point of view. This group includes the PLUGIN core team members plus an open list of Candidates for flight. ESA representative are also part of this panel in a supervising role, given their experience and background in flying hosted payloads.

• The Advisory Group (AG) having a role of reviewer/ advisor about the proposed solutions of the PLUGIN core team. Participants are the European Space Agency (ESA), three major satellite operators (EUTELSAT, INMARSAT and SES), and satellite insurers (MARSH). The core team led by Airbus DS will submit propositions –as far as practical- to the Advisory Group regarding the business model, baseline Terms and Conditions, the implementation schedule, and the main principles for technical interfacing.

Illustration of the stakeholders and study organization can be found in the Final report executive summary.
For the first effort, passenger representatives, i.e. the developers of the payloads potentially interested in “piggybacking” a GEO host satellite were invited to discuss the needs and constraints from their side in three separate workshops as follows:
• Workshop 1: hosted by ISIS in Delft (Netherlands), will kick off the Panel and discuss system requirements for mounting on Geo Satellites
• Workshop 2: hosted by SSTL in Guildford (UK), will review sub-system requirements, especially mechanical, thermal, electrical, data bus.
• Workshop 3: hosted by Airbus DS in Toulouse (France), will focus on integration, tests and flight operations, and conclude the panel.

Overall, the workshop main mission was to identify and describe the gaps with current interface (s) (standards) and then to determine which areas should be iterated between the primes, the operators and the candidates for flight.
RD 6, 7, 8 summarize the contents and outcomes of the discussions.

Three categories of Hosted Payloads were defined (S, M, XL) corresponding to increasing level of resources required from the Host Satellite.

The following technical documentation has been prepared to describe the standards worked out by the PLUGIN team:
• Eurostar 3000 IRD for Hosted Payloads
Status: i1 released, being updated to cover the GMP-T platform, draft was delivered to EC in June 2016

• ISIS Hosted Payload Container (HPC) Technical Specification
Status: Draft released July 2015, v0_5 released to EC in June 2016, final version being updated.

• Hosted Payload Interface Unit (HPIU) Technical Specification
Status: Draft released July 2015, currently being updated
The two IRD documents (RD 2 and RD 3) are the results of heritage and background plus exchanges between the core team and candidates for flight invited to the three PRP workshops.
The HPIU technical spec contains a list of functional specs which might be of interest depending on the category of the IOD/IOV/ HPL and its specific requirements. After many discussions it was agreed that the HPIU main function is to act as a firewall between the main mission and the IOD/ HPL through segregation of TC.

Those documents are referred on the PLUGIN public website and can be accessed by the candidates for flight as soon as they have filled in the survey defining their IOD/ IOV/ TDP mission.
The PLUGIN Study has defined technical standards and proposed a business model "one stop shop" which should ease the life of Candidates for flight in GEO by simplifying the interfaces, and increasing the number of host opportunities using Airbus DS Eurostar family platforms and SSTL GMP T platform.

In the future this standard should be extended to other Industrial Prime GEO platforms.
Overview of PLUGIN Standards