The following feat was made possible thanks to the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the European Space Agency (ESA): In Germany, the new satellite platform SmallGEO, which is developed in Bremen by satellite manufacturer OHB System AG, makes it possible to deliver whole satellites. Attitude control sensors by Thuringia-based space company Jena-Optronik GmbH are also included.
The first satellite based on the new platform was launched on January 27, 2017. "Hispasat 36-W1" has begun its journey around the earth, starting from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana), on board of a Soyuz rocket. The star sensors made in Jena are also on board.
"Taking part in developing a new satellite bus from the very beginning is a rare opportunity – this opportunity presented itself to us and we were happy to contribute our ASTRO APS star sensor. This was an important milestone for us, since the sensor was initially chosen for a Hispasat 36-W1 telecommunications mission," explains Dietmar Ratzsch, Managing Director of Jena-Optronik GmbH. "It opened the door for many additional orders by numerous international clients. By now, ASTRO APS has been established as the standard sensor for more than 40 telecommunications satellites and also helps our company in its continued global success."
Jena-Optronik is a global market leader in attitude control sensory technology for use in space. The ASTRO star sensor product family works reliably and is highly accurate, a symbol of cutting-edge technology made in Germany. ASTRO APS is one of the newest members of the sensor family and embarked on its 2013 maiden flight on the European communication satellite Alphasat. ASTRO APS is part of the operative attitude control system on the SmallGEO platform and thereby guarantees the stable orientation of the satellite in space.
"A new development for a system as complex and highly-reliable as a telecommunications satellite platform is a challenge for all parties involved. OHB has mastered this challenge. Now, interesting discussions will be held to determine whether we will also be able to support OHB in new developments in the SmallGEO platform. We look forward to this work and thank the OHB team for an exciting, fruitful and successful collaboration," says Dr. Boris Pradarutti, Director of Star Sensors.
Compared to previous sensors, ASTRO APS is lighter, consumes less energy despite improved performance parameters and is also more durable. Thanks to the lower weight and energy consumption, ASTRO APS is also the perfect fit for smaller satellite platforms. Jena- Optronik is proud of its involvement in SmallGEO - an involvement that cements the status of Jena-Optronik as a regular supplier for almost all renowned satellite manufacturers across the world.
"We are grateful for the OHB team's faith in our star sensor. It significantly facilitates the market introduction of our ASTRO APS. We wish OHB a successful SmallGEO mission, and of course many follow-up missions for the new platform," says Hans Knut Raue, Head of Sales at Jena- Optronik GmbH.