Today we are excited to announce a service agreement with OrbAstro, a UK-based company focused on enabling tiny satellites to operate in large flocks. 

In collaboration with the European and UK Space Agencies, OrbAstro has developed the most advanced autonomous nanosatellite flock management system commercially available. 

Smallsat flocking is relevant to existing and emerging markets in newspace. OrbAstro believes there is much needed room for improvement in constellation-level efficiency, so the new company is developing the onboard hardware and software to close the gap. The company is focused on launching its own flocks as well as continuing to invest heavily in maturing the technology towards enabling tight formation-flight for large flocks through highly flexible systems.

This in-orbit demonstration on our December Falcon launch mission will host a variety of payloads:

  • An Ultrascale+ based onboard computer, 10X more powerful than the current state-of-the-art in Zynq 7030 based systems, coupled to an Artificial Neural Network based constellation management system
  • An Electrical Power System with a novel battery chemistry, allowing typically a 5X increase in mission lifetime compared to conventional Li-ion chemistries for a given volume and mass
  • A compact ADCS allowing for fast steering and accurate pointing, tailored for precision formation-flight
  • A new type of thermal management system, allowing kW-class payloads to operate on nanosatellite-class platforms at a compelling duty cycle

We are excited to see OrbAstro working on developing key technologies that could really enable flocks of satellites to be in close proximity to each other, and we are happy to support them.