A young group of workers at ESA have come together to design a space payload of their own, with ESA technical experts contributing the technical assistance they needed. The result, Young Professional Satellite, YPSat – was presented to representatives of supporting departments at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.
YPSat is a project run in its entirety by ESA Young Professionals to give them direct early experience of designing, building and testing for space. Its goal is to capture all the key phases of Ariane 6‘s inaugural flight.
The payload – equipped with cameras, a magnetometer, ham radio and onboard computer and enshrouded in multi-layer insulation – was displayed in ESTEC’s Mechanical Systems Laboratory, which performs environmental testing of satellite subsystems and complete small spacecraft, and has played a pivotal role in YPSat development.
“It is inspiring to see the results of the talents of Young ESA displayed in this way,” said Torben Henriksen, ESA Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality and Head of ESTEC. “It has taken entrepreneurship, ingenuity and sustained hard work to reach this stage, much of it taking place during their own spare time. Many people from ESTEC and across ESA have pitched in to make this milestone possible.”
ESTEC is the technical hub of European space activity, with new space missions guided through development from here. But usually any actual building work is done by industry. YPSat is a rare exception, to give Young Professionals working across all areas of ESA activities the experience of designing, building, testing and finally operating flight hardware.
Advice for the project is coming from ESA experts mainly from the Agency’s Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality, which is also underwriting most of the costs of manufacturing and supplying test facilities for YPSat. ESA’s Directorate of Operations is giving support in terms of the ground station coverage needed to gather data from YPSat while the Directorate of Space Transportation Systems is advising on the Ariane 6 launch campaign.
The project was first inspired by the news there was an announcement of opportunity on the first Ariane 6 flight. With time at a premium, the team devised the YPSat concept at the start of 2022 on a ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ basis, with its design finalised that August.
The various YPSat subsystems have already been tested; next comes joint testing of the overall payload.
“ESA has this unique capability to make your dreams come true,” comments Young Graduate Trainee Julien Krompholtz, leading the YPSat effort. “YPSat is an amazing hands-on learning experience and a perfect example of what Young Professionals can achieve with motivation: Designing, building, testing, and launching a mission into space!”
- ESA also photos
Source: Auto Draft