Where’s my plane? Nano-satellites are revolutionary mini spacecraft

“Keeping track of what you care for” is the motto of GomSpace Dennmark. It is a fact that today...

“Keeping track of what you care for” is the motto of GomSpace Dennmark. It is a fact that today aeroplanes get lost. For example, they cannot be monitored if they are over a large body of water, or some other such circumstance. For the first time a Nano-Satellite has been developed with state of the art technology creating a new system to catch aeroplanes ADS-B transporter signal from space. The demanding circuit boards for this space technology are produced on the Essemtec SMT assembler FOX.

Today’s satellites are big, heavy, complex and extremely expensive. Additionally, their deployment into the universe is another massive cost. Nano-satellites are small and lightweight (<10kg). These Nano-Satellites provide low cost, high tech communication solutions for space for a fraction of the cost of the old conventional satellites.

The typical operation area of a Nano-Satellite is inside the Earth’s low orbit range (350km – 1,200km). For comparison: The ISS is on a 400km orbit and a TV broadcast satellite is typically in a 36’000km orbit.

Video: Nano-Satellite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgfLf0OQI14

There are hundreds of possible tasks such a system could manage; here one actual example is described. An aircraft sends a signal. Usually ground stations and other airplanes receive this information, but when flying over large bodies of water it is common that there are no receivers within reach. It happened, when the airplane MH370 got lost a view years ago. This is where satellites come in. Various satellites circle around the earth. No matter from which point an aircraft is sending a signal there will be one satellite within reach. Using satellites a seamless surveillance is possible.
Other assets, which can be tracked are:
•    Ships
•    Trains
•    Trucks
•    Etc.

The NANOCOM ADS-B is a unique payload opportunity for small sized satellites.
Main Features of NANOCOM ADS-B Flight-proven ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast) receiver for tracking aircrafts
•    Consists of an in-flight reconfigurable FPGA Cube Sat kit compatible board
•    At less than 0.3U in volume it fits in a Nano-Satellite / Cubesat and uses less than 1 W of power
•    Reconfigurable FPGA (in flight)
•    Up to 800 ADS-B packages per second

Nano-Satellites feature advanced ADS-B and AIS receivers as well as mission tailored antennas providing multiple spot-beams for ADS-B reception. GomSpace designs and manufactures these highly reliable Nano-Satellites.


About GomSpace
GomSpace has strong experience with both applications and has been a pioneer in developing and demonstrating space based aircraft monitoring though their investments in the GOMX-1 and GOMX-3 missions. Depending on the need for coverage and revisit time they deliver constellations of Nano-Satellites to meet the needs based on the advanced radio payloads and flexible satellite platforms. Tracking solutions for other assets can be designed as a turnkey solution based on the needs of the application and radio technology building blocks for rapid design of new payloads.

About Essemtec
Wildlife consistently shows us with breathtaking flexibility how nature can adapt itself to the many different demands of its environment; that is what inspires us! Essemtec AG is a privately owned company with its development and production site in Switzerland. The product portfolio comprises of production equipment for electronic assembly and more. Our high tech solutions can be adjusted quickly and easily to meet wide ranging requirements; we are therefore able to respond to all manner of customer requests. That’s why “naturally adaptive” is our motto across all ranges.


Picture 1: 3U Nano-Satellite (illustration)
Picture 2: Size of Nano-Satellite
Picture 3: NANOCOM ADS-B


3U Nano-Satellite (illustration)

Size of Nano-Satellite


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