Smart Small Satellite Systems

June, 2018

There’s plenty of room in space for big satellites, but you still have to get them there. So the smaller, lighter and cheaper the satellite, the more you can do. A startup recently launched in Würzburg is aiding efforts to minimize satellite size, mass and cost. S4 (“Smart Small Satellite Systems”), a spin-off of the Zentrum für Telematik, produces complete, custom-made pico-­satellite systems – often in the standardized CubeSat size – as well as advanced components and subsystems, such as for handling data, determining altitude and for use in telecommunications and earth observation. In addition to offering testing and development facilities, it can also realize formations of several mini satellites that can act as a sensor network in orbit, as well as networking devices across the world. The S4 can therefore bring the Internet of Things to remote locations, such as mines and oil platforms.

The mini cube satellite “Uwe 3” was launched using a Russian rocket from the test lab of the University of Würzburg on February 19, 2013, and has been orbiting the earth ever since. The purpose of the extra-terrestrial project is to provide data and practical training for students. © dpa

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