Video: OPS-SAT, the flying laboratory

space
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

On 17 December, ESA will launch a first-of-its-kind space laboratory, OPS-SAT. The small, low-cost test satellite has been specifically designed for operational experiments in space, and includes the most powerful flight computer on board any current ESA spacecraft.

Consumer electronics have gone through a revolution over the last 30 years with computers becoming ever faster, smaller and better. But when it comes to million- or even billion-euro satellites, their onboard hardware and software have not seen this revolution because of the risks of testing new technology in flight.

As spacecraft managers dare to fly only tried-and-tested hard and software in the harsh conditions of space, innovation on the operational side of satellites is a very slow-moving process. This is where OPS-SAT steps in, bringing down the barriers to spacecraft operations it provides a chance to safely test out new mission control techniques.

Anyone can apply to become an 'experimenter' and test their innovative software and new mission operations techniques in . Proving technology for future missions and paving the way for satellites to further evolve with minimum risk, OPS-SAT will be launched with ESA's Cheops from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Credit: European Space Agency

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Citation: Video: OPS-SAT, the flying laboratory (2019, December 13) retrieved 18 January 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2019-12-video-ops-sat-laboratory.html
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