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HiberDrive Brings New Level of Control to Cubesat Market

Backed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Netherlands Space Office via the ARTES programme, HiberDrive brings capabilities to CubeSats, previously accessible only to large satellites.

HiberDrive is a brand new Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) miniaturized to 1U for the global CubeSat market. Hyperion’s Attitude Determination and Control System has been combined with Dawn Aerospace’s high-performance green bi-propellant propulsion module. Linked with Hiber’s automated constellation management software, creates this world-first.

“As many smallsat constellations target services related to telecommunications, IoT, asset or frequency monitoring, ESA Telecommunications welcomes the development of HiberDrive”, said Frank Zeppenfeldt, Technical Project Manager at ESA. “This AOCS takes into account emerging regulations related to smallsat deployments and responsible use of orbital resources.”

“Being a responsible operator, constellation longevity with minimal impact on the space environment is extremely important for us,” said Erik Wienk, Hiber COO. “The new HiberDrive means we can easily avoid space debris, increase CubeSat lifetime by raising orbit and perform complex orbital manoeuvres with low power usage, whilst keeping our constellation online and guaranteeing high customer service levels.”

Space debris is becoming a serious issue. With more than 250,000 pieces under 2cm currently untracked in low Earth orbit, risk of the Kessler syndrome is very real. By using high-performance green bi-propellant propulsion, Hiber now have complete control of their satellite’s end-of-life, de-orbiting and burning up CubeSats in Earth’s atmosphere when they choose.

“The total size of the integrated AOCS has been brought down to 1U. It is revolutionary to the CubeSat market”, said Maarten Engelen, Hiber CTO. “There are alternatives out there, but nothing that suit a 3U CubeSat like this”.

By choosing 3U form factor satellites, hiber’s launch costs have halved. These savings allow hiber to create a larger, faster, cheaper IoT network – passing benefits and savings back to customers.

The HiberDrive was developed in partnership with Hyperion Technologies and Dawn Aerospace for Hiber’s next-generation low power 3U small satellite IoT constellation.

The Hiber constellation will come online much faster and with much more capabilities than any other small satellite constellation. The use of high-performance green bi-propellant propulsion and miniaturized components has been key.

“We were lucky that we found good partners with Hyperion Technologies and Dawn Aerospace, who managed to bring down the total size of the integrated ADCS / Propulsion module, down to 1U.” said Maarten.

“We believe the payload should dominate a satellite, and we focus our business on this,” said Bert Monna, Hyperion CEO. “Miniaturised components that deliver high performance like miniaturised reaction wheels, sun sensors and magnetorquers, give capabilities to nanosatellites that the market has never seen before.” Similarly, Dawn’s green bi-propellent propulsion system offers thrust ~1,000x higher than electric propulsion based systems for CubeSats.

Although developed for Hiber’s low power IoT SmallSat constellation, HiberDrive is being opened up for use in other small satellite constellations.

A demo unit will be on display at the 33rd AIAA/USU SmallSat Conference 2019, August 4th – 8th, Utah.

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