GomSpace and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a contract to adapt and improve smallsat systems and subsystems for science missions in deep space.
The contract value is €3,900,000 (U.S.$4,380,675) over 18 months. (€3,300,000 [U.S.$3,706,725] for GomSpace Denmark and €600,000 [U.S.$673,950] for GomSpace Sweden). The contract is carried out under the Science Programme funded by ESA.
Small satellites have been proposed in the framework of deep space scientific missions for several years. However, questions about the compatability and reliability of the small satellites’ technology, traditionally used for LEO applications with limited performance and lifetime requirements, have remained unanswered or not addressed in sufficient depth.
In this project, GomSpace will tackle the most critical technology areas that could enable the use of small satellites for a science mission with a launch date as early as 2028. The aim is to design and test various development models at subsystem level to demonstrate a technology readiness level of TRL6.
“This is an important step for GomSpace. Deep Space is by far the harshest environment, you will ever meet. Adapting our nanosatellites to this environment will increase their lifetime and the reliability way beyond state of the art. This will become a significant driver in meeting the technology requirements of tomorrow – also on the commercial market,” says CEO, Niels Buus, from GomSpace.
Scientific missions to deep space will become key in understanding the origin of the solar system as well as the planetary resources. ESA is working closely with NASA and the international space community to design and exploit these future missions.