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Blogs

The Next Generation of Small Satellites

Following the success of the reliable and adaptable PROBA satellites, we designed and developed the next generation of satellites to define the future of PROBA-like missions and spacecraft.

The development of the P200 platform aims to create a generic platform for a wide range of missions and studies and features new propulsion and avionics systems. To deliver the best operational outcomes, the platform has been designed to provide a very high level of versatility and will not only carry varying payloads but is also compatible with a wide range of launch rockets. It has a mass of +/-130 kg allowing it to fly at least a payload and mission-specific hardware of up to 70kg. This leads to a resulting total mass of the satellite as low as 200kg (explaining the name P200).

Configuration is also highly flexible so that the platform is easily adapted to meet specific payload requirements. If the payload needs a lot of energy, for example, solar panels for extra electricity can be added. The P200 platform in its generic configuration consists of a fully redundant spacecraft with two deployable solar panels, two star trackers, and a propulsion system. The hinges of the solar panels — the “articulations” — are also developed and made in-house to high specification. The qualification model is now in our new clean room facilities in Belgium.

Last April, it passed the environmental tests in Toulouse, where it was subjected to vibration tests and thermal vacuum tests to assure the quality of the product before it is sent to space. It is expected that the excellent results obtained will allow the use of the P200 platform for multiple missions to come.