We are very happy to report, that the TRISAT-R nanosatellite, equipped with our NANOsky satellite avionics, is a complete success! TRISAT-R continues to operate reliably, despite being exposed to intense radiation in mid-Earth orbit (MEO) for more than seven months.
The TRISAT-R, a scientific and educational mission, was launched in cooperation between SkyLabs, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Maribor (Slovenia) in mid-July 2022 by Vega-C rocket.
As explained by dr. Iztok Kramberger, our Chief Innovation Officer at SkyLabs and TRISAT programme manager, there are several challenges one needs to tackle when designing a nanosatellite mission to MEO. "It is much more than just design of reliable solar panels and appropriate radiation shielding to make such a mission a success. The presence of the Van Allen belts, a major source of geomagnetically trapped particles, is definitely one of the most important challenges. However, the constraints posed by the communication link budget when using a 30 cm box with only 1 W output power at altitude of 6000 km are also quite challenging to couple, but with the new ground segment from SkyLabs with high gain antenna array we are able to overcome them."
"The attitude determination and control subsystem of TRISAT-R based on PicoSkyFT processor with floating point unit successfully operates in an environment with much lower magnetic field strength in comparison to LEO using highly sensitive magnetic sensor and gyros. TRISAT-R is in many ways a world first. Nevertheless, the fully 3D printed plastic structure holding the magnetorquers has successfully withstand the long flight, and we put the new RISC-V processing core. Mid of January we performed the initial in-orbit position determination using the on-board GNSS receiver, which concluded with successful reception of six GNSS satellites and an absolute difference to the predicted vector of about 4 km." One of the important and outstanding innovations on board of TRISAT-R are also two miniature pinhole cameras intended to record the Black Sun Effect in Space caused by spillover of oversaturated image pixels to demonstrate determination of orientation of the satellite by accurately extracting the sun’s center on captured image. "Hopefully, they also deliver the first low-resolution image of our beautiful planet Earth from a nanosatellite in MEO", says dr. Kramberger.
As mentioned SkyLabs equipped TRISAT-R nanosatellite with NANOsky satellite avionics, more precisely NANOeps all-in-one EPS solution with battery pack, NANOcomm for TM/TC communication and NANOhpm-obc, as secondary OBC for In-Orbit Validation.
For SkyLabs and other partners of the TRISAT-R nanosatellite this is a very important mission. Despite the time spent in the MEO and the presence of the Van Allen belts as the major source of intense radiation, the nanosatellite systems still function reliably, demonstrating successful design, product quality and components used.