NTNU Small Satellite Lab

NTNU Small Satellite Lab

NTNU Small Satellite Lab is an initiative to strenghten the small satellite and space related activities at NTNU and make them more visible. 

At the lab, we have a group consisting of about ten PhD-students, two post.docs and many bachelor- and master students every semester. Physically, the lab consists of a concurrent design work space as well as an well-equiped ESD-safe area for development and testing of electronic and mechanical parts for payloads and platforms.

As of December 2020, the lab is part of the ESA_Labs@NTNU initiative.

Activities include 

  • Projects supported by internal NTNU-funding, AMOS, Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian Space Agency, ESA, and others:
    • Small satellite mission with hyper spectral imager to support oceanographic applications (part of satellites HYPSO-1 and HYPSO-2).
    • Small satellite mission with software defined radio to provide better communication systems in the Arctic (part of the satellite HYPSO-2).
    • For more information on these projects as well as other projects where the members of the SmallSat lab contribute, see the project overview tab.
  • The student satellite project Orbit, including the satellites SelfieSat-1 and FRAMSAT-1.

For the HYPSO-2 mission we have a project with the ESA PRODEX office, which is supporting the electrical and electro-optical development of the payload. This includes requirements development support, so that the NTNU team can learn more about how ESA projects are run.

Blogs

RSS

The first couple of weeks in the life of HYPSO-1 has gone by without any troubles. Feeling confident, we attempted to power on the payload for the first time today. As you can see from the screenshot of the corresponding stream there were a lot of confidence regarding our systems ability to boot.  And it did! The team is very happy to see that the processing unit of the payload has...

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Today we have received the first radio signals form HYPSO-1 SpaceX executed the launch of the transporter-3 mission flawlessly. Here you can listen to the SpaceX operator say our name, sound file courtesy of Christoffer Boothby  In the early hours of today, the ground station at NTNU Gløshaugen was able to send and receive signals from the HYPSO-1 satellite. In the image below you can...

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The HYPSO-1 satellite, the first research satellite from the NTNU SmallSat Lab, is launching today, Thursday 13.01.22, at 10:25 EST (16:25 CET, Norwegian time) with SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-3 from Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida, USA.    [LIVE!] Watch SpaceX Falcon 9 launch with NanoAvionics - YouTube - from 4:00 p.m.    Two of the people involved in the...

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Following up from yesterday’s setup of ground station antennas and modem, we now have the information we need to track the satellite available in our mission operations center at NTNU. All the systems and dependencies are coming together, and we are very excited to soon see data from our own satellite on these screens. PhD candidate Sivert Bakken and Mariusz Grøtte and master student Simen...

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Soon, we expect to have our satellites in orbit! That means that we have to make sure that the equipment is installed correctly and working as it should. let's take a trip to taket to see how that is going! Picture above: S-band antenna to the left, UHF-antennas to the right. Below you can see Roger Birkeland making sure that the S-band modem is installed in the rack properly! In...

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Next year the new satellite launch facilities at Andøya Spaceport will be in operation, and a satellite from NTNU SmallSatLab will be on-board the first flight! The 13th of December the German space organization DLR announced the winners of a free seat on the first launch from Andøya, onboard a Spectrum launcher from the company ISAR Aerospace. The NTNU contribution is a 1U CubeSat named...

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Our ground station is one step closer to operations, as we now can track satellites with both antennas simultaneously. From the video, the experienced satellite antenna engineer will observe that the antennas don’t exactly point in the same direction. Directional calibration of the UHF, as well as installation of the rest of the RF equipment remains. The satellite we tracked was LUME-1...

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The award for the best space-related thesis has been given by NIFRO (the Norwegian space industry association) since 2013. It is usually handed out at NIFRO's yearly meeting - the Space Dinner. However, due to Corona, this year it was awarded at a digital meeting. We are proud to congratulate Ole Martin Borge receiving the prize for his work! Remote sensing satellites with advanced cameras can...

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The 7th of December 2020, NTNU and ESA signed a Memorandum of Collaboration for adding NTNU to the ESAs academic network through the establishment of ESA_Lab@NTNU. The new agreement, signed by ESA Director General Jan Wörner and the university’s Rector Anne Borg will establish a close cooperation between ESA and the research community at the university, as well as the industry and...

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Our team is currently putting together a Hardware-in-the-loop test platform with the same hardware from our partner NanoAvionics and our in-house developed hardware we want to put into the satellite. It is important to test, test, test, and fail, and test, test, test, and fail…did I mention test and fail? when you’re building CubeSats. The most common issue facing CubeSat teams is the...

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At Space Dinner 2020, Dordije Boskovic was awarded the NIFRO prize for best space related master thesis. This is an annual prize, rewarded for the 8th time this year. Dordije received this prize for his work on a near-real time FPGA implementation of target detection algorithms for hyperspectral remote sensing applications. The prize consists of a small model of the NORSat satellite, a diploma...

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To ensure that the payloads are sufficiently rugged, they are subjected to a controlled mechanical shock on a shock testing machine. Mechanical shock is a nonperiodic motion of the foundation or an applied force on a mechanical system that is characterized by suddenness and severity. Image from UP Aerospace...

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Next week, some of the HYPSO students are going to Denmark to perform radiation testing on the camera with a Cobalt 60 radiation source. Why are we testing radiation on our camera? Because space can be a harsh environment for spacecraft with energetic radiation sources that can darken the glasses in our camera, resulting in poorer optical quality for the hyperspectral images. HYPSO...

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Before the hyperspectral imager can be used, it must be calibrated. The calibration provides calibration coefficients that are applied to the data before further analysis. Spectral calibration maps from spectral pixels to actual wavelengths, which is needed to recognise spectral signatures in the data. Radiometric calibration converts from sensor counts to spectral radiance, which is used to...

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One of the on-board tasks is going to be target detection, but in order to be able to detect features or targets in the acquired images, it is beneficial to have images with a spatial resolution as high as possible. If the resolution is low, the task of differentiating between objects becomes hard. Higher spatial resolution can be achieved by doing on-board processing of images....

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Yesterday we had a great workshop with Idletechs' Petter and Harald. Idletechs are working together with HYPSO on the on-board processing. As you can see, the whiteboard is an essential tool when building satellites! We also have a gigantic one in our lab that is in frequent use.

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The wealth of spatio-spectral data obtained using modern hyperspectral imager has brought in new challenges in the analysis and extraction of useful information from hyperspectral datasets. That is why we are developing an on-board processing system which will reduce the data downlinked to our ground stations. A significant part of the on-board pipeline is target detection. The objective of...

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One of the main motivations behind many space technology projects and applications, is the desire to learn more about the Earth and to use this knowledge to improve the society and improve our lives. This is especially true for many Earth observation missions, such as our HYPSO. EU and ESA teamed up in 2016, and engaged in common projects for space outreach. One of their goals is to better...

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In addition to the previously mentioned HSI (HyperSpectral Imaging) mission, we have another mission for the Software Defined Radio (SDR) in the pipeline. The longer-term goal of the SDR mission is to provide Arctic researchers with easier and faster access to scientific data. We want to design a flexible communications system that includes SmallSats and different kinds of sensor equipment. To...

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For the HSI camera to capture something interesting, HYPSO's attitude will be controlled such that the camera points towards parts of the oceans we want to observe. Magnetorquers and Reaction Wheels are used to avoid the satellite spinning from perturbations or simply pointing in the wrong direction. By modeling the physics of the system, it is possible to simulate how...

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