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de Nederlandse ruimtevaartsector

Falcon-9 Transporter 2 launched with 16 of our sun sensors on board - 15 MAUSes and 1 BiSon64-ET

The BiSon64-ET is the first sun sensor to be qualified for ESA in over 15 years.With a qualification temperature range of -125°C..+125°C it is the two-axis sun sensor with the widest temperature range in the world.The only radiation-hardened Solar Sensor using diodes developed in Europe and tested up to 4E14 1MeV electrons (at the reactor institute in Delft).The combination of temperature range and radiation hardness makes the sensors suitable for more than 25 years in a GEO stationary orbit while mounted on solar panels.

The BiSon64-ET (and its daffodilised brother the BiSon64-ET-B) are therefore unique products that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Based on this sensor, the MAUS was developed at the request of ISISpace (and some other serious small satellite builders).This sensor uses the same radiation-hardened diodes and sapphire windows and therefore has almost the same radiation resistance.Unlike the BiSon, the MAUS is based on a so-called nano-D connector as a result of which it has a lower mounting height and is therefore better suited for cubesats.

The combination of radiation-hardened diodes and a nano-D connector has led to the world's first radiation-hardened dual-axis cubesat sun sensor.Both products have now gone airborne for the first time which is truly unique.Furthermore, together with Systematic Design b.v. we have started the redesign of a special chip that should lead to a miniaturised digital sun sensor.The redesign was not necessary because the first design would not work, but because it contained a number of known weaknesses for cosmic rays due to the limited financial resources available. 

The evaluation of the first design by ESA was so good that there was no longer any doubt about the chosen working principle. Therefore, to avoid wasting money and to speed up the whole project, it was decided to start a redesign using all known techniques to improve the radiation hardness.If this development is successful (demonstrator expected end of 2022) then in all likelihood it will become the first commercially available small digital sun sensor worldwide.


dotSPACE is launching a new initiative to support the Dutch space sector

Netherlands Space Office
Commissioned by the Netherlands Space Office, dotSPACE is launching a new initiative to support the Dutch space sector in finding relevant Horizon Europe and other European funding calls. This initiative is managed by Groundstation under the name OpenCalls.Space. The project includes a portal with all relevant calls, including factsheets, and a series of information webinars. dotSPACE offers support to organisations looking to find suitable consortium partners.

One of the objectives of the OpenCalls.Space initiative is to make the Dutch space sector more actively aware of opportunities and enable Dutch organisations to showcase, apply and share their knowledge in European consortia. This will strengthen both the Dutch and the European space industry simultaneously.

Funding calls for the space sector
The funding calls that will be collected in the portal include the new Horizon Europe calls, but also calls from other sources, like the European Development Fund (EDF) and Digital Europe. Initially, the calls in the portal cover potential space applications in sectors like health, civil security, climate, energy, mobility, and bioeconomy, with more sectors being added over time.
The new open calls portal offers great opportunities for a wide variety of space organisations, including those specialising in space, Earth observation, remote sensing, and satellite navigation technology and applications.

Series of webinars
On 17 June 2021 the Netherlands Space Office and dotSPACE organised the first in a series of webinars in which some of the best calls for the Dutch and European space sector were highlighted. Please join us in the coming webinars to learn more about these great (new) business opportunities, to find potential consortium partners and find out about the dotSPACE services for writing successful proposals! Dates and topics are: 

- 1 July: Climate 

- 8 July: Agriculture

Other webinars are planned in autumn about Copernicus/ GNSS/ Technology 

At this webinars you will hear about:

  • Funding opportunities in Horizon Europe, selected for space organisations
  • Potential other funding opportunities in other programmes
  • How to initiate or join European consortia for projects
  • How to find support for writing winning proposals

To stay informed please go to: 

Developing new applications for satellite data

In the last decades various earth observation instruments have found their way in orbit. This brings a phenomenal amount of data that can be exploited in applications that help us to monitor our living environment. S[&]T has over 20 years of experience in processing and analysing Earth observation data. Based on this, we have developed a wide range of remote monitoring and inspection applications. At S[&]T we specialize in combining data from all types of satellites, (multispectral) optical, radar and atmospheric, using advanced data science techniques.

This knowledge is currently being successfully used by some of the S[&]T spinoffs, such as Orbital Eye and Sensar. However, at S[&]T we are always looking for new applications of our knowledge. One of the ways we do that is by participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme of the Dutch government. In this programme, the government challenges companies to come up with innovative solutions to societal problems.

In the last year we have successfully worked on a number of these SBIRs, together with our partner 52impact. In all cases we used a combination of radar, multispectral and high resolution satellite data and machine learning algorithms. One example of such projects is MEANDER (which stands for MutatiE ANalyse, Detectie En Registratie), which focusses on detecting changes in and around waterways.

Detecting changes near water ways

Water management is crucial for quality of life in the Netherlands and access to clean water. Rijkswaterstaat (Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management) and the Dutch water boards play an important role in the proper management of water systems. Good information provision is necessary so that Rijkswaterstaat and water boards can intervene in time when there are relevant changes in a water system, and effective policy can be developed. Currently, most information for surveillance and enforcement is obtained through visual inspections on site. This is a time-consuming and therefore expensive activity, which means that it is not possible to register all necessary mutations in the water system in time. In addition, the supervisory area is increasing, while it is expected that capacity will decrease due to staff turnover.

In order to support Rijkswaterstaat and water boards in carrying out these inspections more efficiently, we have developed the concept for MEANDER. MEANDER is a service that automatically detects and classifies changes in and around water systems.

In the first phase of the SBIR, we successfully showed that changes in and around water ways can be detected and classified using a combination of radar and multispectral data. In addition we demonstrated that using multiple data sources yields a more reliable service. Since radar data is always available, because it is not dependent on weather conditions, MEANDER can provide reliable and timely information.

Our solution was selected as one of the two to continue on to the next phase of the SBIR, where we will develop our concept into a service.

CAPTION: Overview of open satellite data (Sentinel-2, Sentinel-1 change detection) and Superview high resolution images (obtained from the Satellietdataportaal) covering the area around an embankment who’s presence changes with the seasons. The radar based change detection (in red) can be pin pointed in time using Sentinel-2 time series, which clearly show 2 transitions (early April and November). High resolution imagery (50 cm resolution) confirm that these transitions took place. 

Kleos Polar Vigilance Mission Satellites dispatched to Cape Canaveral for Launch

Kleos Space, a space-powered Radio Frequency  Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company confirms the successful dispatch of its cluster of four Polar Vigilance Mission satellites (KSF1) from Delft in the Netherlands to Cape Canaveral for a launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc, no earlier than June 2021. The satellites have been built by small satellite specialist Innovative Solutions In Space B.V (ISISPACE).

The Polar Vigilance Mission will provide global data that will increase Kleos overall coverage density in the equatorial region and also cover areas North and South of the Kleos Scouting Mission satellites which successfully launched in November into 37 degrees inclined orbit.

Three satellites build, designed and integrated by ISISPACE will be launched during the upcoming mission WILD RIDE from D-Orbit

In June 2021, D-orbit will launch its satellite platform carrying six satellites and three payloads from eleven different nationalities. The mission, which will start on a 500 km Sun synchronous orbit (SSO), will go through four phases: satellite deployment, in-orbit demonstration of the payloads hosted onboard, testing of D-Orbit’s services, and decommissioning. During the deployment phase, ION will deploy each satellite into a distinct orbit. The release of the six satellites onboard will follow a highly customized plan that defines the moment of release, and the direction and speed of ejection of each spacecraft.

On board, under contract with ISILAUNCH and integrated into a QuadPack from Dutch satellite manufacturer ISISPACE, are W-Cube from Finnish Reaktor Space, a 3U satellite designed to demonstrate the feasibility of using new higher frequency bands for future telecom satellites, Ghalib from Marshall Intech Technology from United Arab Emirates (UAE), a 2U satellite designed for space-based tracking of falcon bird migration, and Napa-2 for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), planned to enhance the monitoring and response to natural disasters, including fires, floods, earthquakes, and landslides.