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Satellite Communications Technology

Exolaunch to deliver SALSAT into orbit for the Technische Universität Berlin

(8 September 2020 - Exolaunch) The Technische Universität Berlin, a leading German university specializing in space engineering, and Exolaunch have announced a launch agreement for the SALSAT nanosatellite.

Under the launch agreement, Exolaunch is providing launch, mission management, and integration services for the Technische Universität Berlin on a Soyuz-2 rideshare mission later this month.

SALSAT (Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite), aims to analyze the global spectrum use of S-band and VHF, UHF amateur radio bands. This analysis is required due to the increasing number of users and the intensification of radio communication, which is leading to an escalating probability of interference between radio signals. It will analyze the global spectrum usage with SALSA, a spectrum analyzer payload based on a Software Defined Radio.

SALSAT also features a variety of unique secondary payloads such as a Linux based, intelligent onboard processing system to analyze the spectrum on-board. The nanosatellite also features novel, three-axis Fluid-Dynamic Actuator (FDA). SALSAT will be the first satellite in space to demonstrate three-axis attitude control with its FDAs.

The mission’s collected spectrum data will be made available to the public through a web portal which international researchers, study groups, and amateur radio enthusiasts can access. SALSAT will be a valuable contribution to the future of satellite communications. The mission is funded by the German Bundestag through the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR).

“The ultimate goal of SALSAT is to achieve the safe and sustainable utilization of the available frequency spectrum for space communications,” said Jens Großhans, SALSAT Project Lead. “We value our cooperation with Exolaunch and the support that we are receiving during the launch campaign – despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic. We look forward to seeing a successful launch of SALSAT.”

Michael Tolstoj, Program Manager at Exolaunch said, “The restrictions imposed during the first months of the global pandemic had an especially severe impact on universities. I have a deep respect for the SALSAT team for making this mission possible despite the significant challenges they had to overcome. The Technische Universität Berlin has a formidable track record of successful smallsat missions and Exolaunch is proud to continue supporting the university’s teams and working with them on this ambitious scientific project.”

SALSAT is a part of the September Soyuz rideshare mission – Exolaunch’s seventh mission with Soyuz-2 that is manifested by the company. The mission is set to launch numerous commercial payloads carrying cutting edge technologies from Exolaunch’s international small satellite customers. Named Wanderlust, Desire to Travel, this rideshare symbolizes both the ever-increasing importance of sustainable access to space for small satellites and the longing for travel that is currently restricted.

On the Wanderlust mission, Exolaunch is set to provide its market-leading separation systems – EXOpod for cubesats and CarboNIX for microsats – as well as its EXObox sequencers, to ensure timely deployment of small satellites into their target orbit. The company has excellent heritage flying international customers on Soyuz, having launched more than 85 smallsats on Soyuz missions to date. On this mission, Exolaunch will deploy a cluster of 15 smallsats into a sun-synchronous orbit for its customers from Europe, the UAE, Canada, and the USA.

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch is a rideshare launch and deployment solution provider for small satellites. Its flight heritage includes the successful deployment of nearly 100 small satellites into orbit, in cooperation with launch vehicle providers worldwide. Exolaunch enables the visions of the New Space leaders, the world’s innovative startups, research institutions, government organizations, and space agencies. The company also designs and manufactures in-house flight-proven advanced separation systems to deliver the best-in-class integration services and deployment for small satellites.

About Technische Universität (TU) Berlin

The Chair of Space Technology at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (ILR) of the TU Berlin was established in 1963 by Prof. Eugen Sänger as the first German Chair of Space Technology. Today the scopes of the Chair of Space Technology are the education of future system engineers for astronautics and their preparatory training for today’s requirements of the market. The focus is set on the design, implementation, and operation of small satellite missions. State-of-the-art research on picosatellites and nanosatellites (BEESAT, TUBiX10, TUBiX20, NanoFF) shall continue the successful tradition of the ILR. Until this point the TU Berlin launched 21 satellites.