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Thread: Micro satellites

  1. #1
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    Micro satellites

    first of all, i'm sorry if this thread came up in the wrong place, coz i cant find a room about space programe.

    i found this article about my country (co-operation with germany) micro satellite :

    Lessons From Europe
    U.S. Space Office Explores New Video Concept
    By ben iannotta
    Published: 16 November 2009
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    At an undisclosed location in Europe in October, American intelligence workers and military officials got their first glimpse of a European-pioneered technology that could offer a new way to monitor battlefields, shipping lanes or disaster-relief zones.

    The tool is video from space. U.S. personnel recently got a demonstration of video beamed from a German-built satellite. The video was taken by a 50-kilogram satellite called LAPAN-TUBSAT. It showed the terrain where the U.S. team was participating in a military exercise.

    The satellite was built by the Technical University of Berlin - the TUB in TUBSAT - for the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia, abbreviated as LAPAN. An Indian rocket blasted LAPAN-TUBSAT into low-Earth orbit in 2007.

    With the United States facing a shortage of full-motion video from unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan, and constant warnings from intelligence officials that the country might not have immediate control of the airspace in the next war or crisis, the U.S. Defense Department's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office has begun a six-month assessment of the technology. It sees a potential to deploy video cameras aboard satellites much as cameras are installed on manned and unmanned aircraft, ground vehicles and security towers.

    ORS officials arranged for the viewing in Europe. They are reaching out for opinions from commanders in all domains - air, land, sea and special operations - about its potential usefulness.

    Marine Corps Lt. Col. Robert Terselic, who once coordinated artillery and bombing strikes for Marines in Iraq, thinks he knows what field commanders will say: "Talk to an ops guy who's got nothing, and say, 'I'll bring you this.' He'll say, 'Bring it on.'"

    Terselic manages ORS Tier 1 projects, meaning equipment that exists in the commercial world or defense industry that can be adapted quickly for military space applications. Higher-tier concepts are those that require more research and development. Part of his job is to act as a liaison with operational forces.

    Beaming the precise equivalent of airborne full-motion video is not what Terselic is talking about. That would be impossibly expensive - the satellites would need large solar arrays, batteries, processors and antennas.

    The Pentagon could not afford enough of those satellites to revisit a piece of terrain often enough to be militarily useful. The satellites whiz by overhead, providing two to three minutes of coverage per pass. Parking satellites in geosynchronous orbit 22,500 miles up is not an option because their camera lenses would have to be huge to provide meaningful ground resolution.

    Instead, Terselic and the ORS office are exploring the idea of buying a "pearl string" of six to eight simple, 50-kilogram-class satellites similar to the LAPAN-TUBSATs, though perhaps not identical, and perhaps not from the German technical university. They have not gotten that far in their analysis.

    According to its makers, LAPAN-TUBSAT captures about 25 frames a second, not quite the 30 frames a second under the definition of full-motion video. "The human eye would see a slightly staggered view," Terselic said.

    TUBSAT's resolving power also is not as fine as that of airborne video cameras. Engineers attempted a 6-meter resolution, but from space, the satellites are providing 8- to 10-meter resolution. They could never track individual terrorist suspects, Terselic said, but they could spot groups of people, such as refugees fleeing a natural disaster or war.

    The exact capabilities of the notional pearl string would depend on the size and number of the satellites that were chosen. Depending on all that, they could provide some coverage of an area every hour, Terselic said.

    The Cost Factor

    For ORS, cost is a huge factor. Terselic said he likes the feedback he has gotten so far from the U.S. officials who participated in the demonstration in Europe, but he said ORS is just starting to explore the need for the satellites and possible options for vendors. What is certain is that the pearl string couldn't cost more than $60 million under ORS' philosophy of buying only what is "good enough."

    The LAPAN-TUBSAT spacecraft cost Indonesia about a million euros ($1.5 million), not including the rocket to launch it, a TUBSAT official said. A second Indonesian satellite scheduled for launch in April 2011 with a high-definition video camera will cost about 2 million euros.

    "You cannot compare [LAPAN-TUBSAT] to a big satellite, but we have a good price-per-capability ratio," said Juergen Haese, chief executive of Kappa opto-electronics, the Goettingen, Germany-based company that built the LAPAN-TUBSAT video camera and is building the high-definition camera.

    Haese said he sees space video as a potential growth area for his small company. Part of the growth plan involves high-definition video. That video will provide better contrast and color than the standard video on LAPAN-TUBSAT, Haese said. Design work is going well, he added.

    Compressed Images

    One of the challenges was the bandwidth and power the high-definition video would soak up during transmissions. Kappa engineers have devised mathematical algorithms to compress the images so they can still be sent by a small satellite.

    Earlier this year, Kappa deepened its business partnership with the Technical University of Berlin, which has launched seven TUBSATs since 1991.

    "We just agreed that we would really market the satellites on a bigger scale," said Udo Renner, the former European Space Agency official who came up with the idea of stripping satellites to their essentials and installing cameras on them. Renner, a professor at the university, calls the TUBSAT concept "my baby."

    In addition to Indonesia, Morocco is a customer, having launched Moroc-TUBSAT in 2001. Morocco also is buying a second TUBSAT.

    U.S. forces have told Terselic that they want to be able to control where the satellite looks if they get video cameras in space. That is one of the biggest complaints that troops, intelligence analysts and commanders have about other satellites and some unmanned aircraft - they cannot "retask" them quickly, if they can get access to their views at all.

    Control would not be a problem in the case of the TUBSAT, backers said. An operator controls the view with a joystick.

    "If you see something interesting, a plane - if you decide you want to follow the plane, you follow the plane," Renner said.

    During a demonstration in Dubai, for example, TUBSAT officials borrowed the ground station that Dubai is using to control the Dubai Sat 1 imaging satellite. An operator controlled TUBSAT with a joystick and imaged the famous Palm Jumeirah artificial island off Dubai, in the Arabian Gulf. ■

    E-mail: biannotta@atpco.com.

    source: Lessons From Europe - Defense News
    my question is:

    1. we all know the US have many hi-tech spy satellite, so why they are interested in less hi-tech satellite? except the micro sat is more cheap offcourse...

    2. how effective this micro satellite, compare to normal satellite and UAV?

    3. are the Micro Sat becoming next generation spy sat?

    and here's another link about LAPAN TUBSAT

    Lapan-TUBsat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    LAPAN-TUBSAT - Home

    thx in advance...

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    Re: Micro satellites

    Quote Originally Posted by karbol View Post
    1. we all know the US have many hi-tech spy satellite, so why they are interested in less hi-tech satellite? except the micro sat is more cheap offcourse...
    2. how effective this micro satellite, compare to normal satellite and UAV?
    3. are the Micro Sat becoming next generation spy sat?
    1) The USA is interested because the high price satellites have a limited amount of fuel to adjust or change the orbit. Many times what is needed is something that can just get an image and it doesn't have super sharp. To launch a satellite because a conflict broke out in some area of the world where intelligence is not high can fill a gap left by the retirement of the SR-71! (This type of situation occurred during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The USA did not have any satellites covering the Sinai Desert, so the USAF flew the SR-71 each day from Langley AFB, Virginia to the Sinai Desert to gather the intelligence needed.)
    2) Time will tell.
    3) I don't think so but, they will fill a nitch.

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    I believe Indonesia is actively building their rocket program, can anyone give me the status of their program, thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthh View Post
    I believe Indonesia is actively building their rocket program, can anyone give me the status of their program, thanks
    in mid 2009, LAPAN (indonesian Space and aeronatics agency) successfully launched a rocket with diameter 420mm, call RX420. she reached 53 km with speed 4.4mach and range about 100km...

    in march 2010, LAPAN plan to launched bigger Rocket, with diameter 520mm called RX520. the combination between RX420 and RX520 will become Indonesia first satellite launcher... if anything goes well, they will launched it in 2014 or 2015...

    here are the pics of RX 420...



    here are the movie...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ5gSfLFstA&fmt=18

    also the news about RX420

    Space Agency Launches RX-420 Rocket - The Jakarta Globe

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    Quote Originally Posted by avon1944 View Post
    1) The USA is interested because the high price satellites have a limited amount of fuel to adjust or change the orbit. Many times what is needed is something that can just get an image and it doesn't have super sharp. To launch a satellite because a conflict broke out in some area of the world where intelligence is not high can fill a gap left by the retirement of the SR-71! (This type of situation occurred during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The USA did not have any satellites covering the Sinai Desert, so the USAF flew the SR-71 each day from Langley AFB, Virginia to the Sinai Desert to gather the intelligence needed.)
    2) Time will tell.
    3) I don't think so but, they will fill a nitch.
    thank you sir....

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