2009

PRESS RELEASE
September 23, 2009:

ÅAC Microtec in Sweden tests miniaturized satellite systems in space

For the second time in 2009, ÅAC Microtec (ex. Ångström Aerospace) will fly their revolutionary microsystem-based components in space. Wednesday September 23rd an Indian PSLV launcher will bring ÅAC’s miniaturized computers, control systems and mass memories to test in their real working environment. ÅAC Microtec is the first company in the world to demonstrate a 3D-wafer level packaged (3D-WLP) microelectronic and MEMS-equipped nano-satellite in space.

ÅAC Microtec has together with RUAG Space (ex. Saab Space) developed the world’s most advanced nano-satellite architecture based on a plug-and-play concept for rapid response and scientific satellites on behalf of the German company group OHB Systems in Bremen.

The satellite architecture is called INOVATOR (”IN-Orbit Verification of ÅAC Technologies on Rubin”) and consists of miniaturized subsystems for Data Handling, Communication, Attitude Control and mass memories. INOVATOR is an advanced experiment for future small, powerful satellites that can be offered for launch from jet airplanes and by small launchers. The Attitude Control Modules use ÅAC’s unique thru-silicon-via (TSV) technology XiVIA®.

This is the first time that a nano-satellite system entirely built in a 3D-packaging technology is demonstrated in space. Through INOVATOR, we demonstrate the basis for the small satellites of the future: the total mass of our subsystems is only 120 grams! This is a revolution which makes it possible in the future to fly very advanced instruments on small satellites since the control electronics becomes so small, says Robert Thorslund, Project Manager at ÅAC Microtec.

ÅAC has together with RUAG Space built a mass memory reusing electrical design elements from the ESA-satellites Herschel and Planck, aiming at demonstrating that the ÅAC technology can be used for realizing existing designs.

RUAG Space has contributed with their long experience of designing space electronics and specifically mass storage memories. It has been of particular interest to see if ÅAC’s technology could be useful in hybrid solutions where parts of existing designs are miniaturized. We have successfully integrated and tested ÅAC’s technology in our labs in Göteborg. It will be exciting to see how the systems will perform in space, says Lars Nordfeldt, Director of Communications at RUAG Space.

The launch will be performed as a piggyback service when the research satellite Ocean-Sat 2 is launched at 11:56 local time in India Wednesday September 23rd. The launcher is a Polar Launch Service Vehicle (PLSV-C14). 

The INOVATOR-experiment has been financed by the Swedish National Space Board and has been developed under a three-year schedule.

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