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Integrated Standard Imager for Earth Observation Microsatellites

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - iSIM (Integrated Standard Imager for Earth Observation Microsatellites)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-06-30

SATLANTIS is a Spanish technological SME that develops high-resolution Earth Observation (EO) payloads for small satellites all over the world. The company’s core technology is iSIM, the integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites.

For monitorisation activities including coastlines, border security and critical infrastructures, traditional satellites can cover large areas and record cumulative effects, but are less good at measuring more rapid changes. Until recently, further impediments were the scale of spatial resolution (which limited the level of detail that could be obtained), as well as the high costs and long timescales required for the development of high-resolution EO payloads.

SATLANTIS is pursuing a complementary approach to tackle these issues through the development of its innovative iSIM payload technology for microsatellites (<100 kg). iSIM payloads are compact optical imagers designed to achieve high spatial resolution (up to 1m), reduced mass (<15 kg), reduced production costs (between 3 and 5 times cheaper than traditional imaging systems of similar performance), and delivery times at least 5 times shorter than traditional tailor-made solutions. To do this, iSIM combines a very compact and straightforward optomechanical design, with the latest advances in electronics (both in detectors and processors) and the use of COTS components.

The overall objective of this project is to demonstrate iSIM in-orbit and introduce it into the EO market. Within the scope of the project, SATLANTIS has carried out the design, manufacturing, assembly, integration of iSIM payload technology, and has successfully demonstrated the technology in-orbit, at the International Space Station.
The iSIM project from SATLANTIS has achieved the following results:
• Defined the main functions and specifications of the payload;
• Selected the most suitable architecture for the payload subsystems;
• Designed, verified and manufactured a QM of the iSIM technology demonstrator;
• Planed a qualification test campaign;
• Identified suppliers of key components, business partners and potential customers;
• Carried out an environmental test campaign of the QM;
• Closed a contract for an IOD at the International Space Station;
• Carried out the development and MAIT of the iSIM IOD FM;
• Successfully passed the Safety Assessment Review for the IOD;
• Successfully launched iSIM on the 20th of May 2020;
• Successfully started nominal operations on the 11th of June 2020;
• Completed validation of key characterisation parameters and verification of functional and operational processes.
The overall project goal was to introduce the innovative iSIM technology into the market, guiding the development of iSIM technology all the way through an In Orbit Demonstration (IOD). SATLANTIS can now proudly say that this objective has been successfully achieved.

Within the scope of the project, the company has covered the design, manufacturing, assembly, integration and demonstration of iSIM technology, including optomechanical and electronics and control subsystems. At the same time, the project has provided an integral support to the company’s growth by providing managerial and financial resources. In particular, the SME-Instrument project has had a direct impact on the company’s position in the international market, helping it grow significantly to become a more solid actor within the New Space market thanks to the development of commercial and communication activities. The opportunity to participate in events and congresses has opened the market perspectives and opportunities to the iSIM technology, and has allowed us to understand the real impact of supplier and customer requirements on the technology development roadmap.
iSIM IOD FM in SATLANTIS' laboratories