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May 17, 2024 @ 12:00 - 1:30 pm

AeroAstro Special Seminar | F-Series: A Generic Development Kit for Intelligent Mini and Small Satellites

Professor Jens Eickhoff, Institute of Space Systems, University of Stuttgart

The philosophy of New Space and small satellites includes short development times and “off-the-shelf” parts for cost effectiveness. Already based on these criteria, a 120kg satellite named “Flying Laptop” was developed at the Stuttgart University in cooperation and guidance from Airbus. It was launched in 2017 and is still reliably operational, has three axis stabilization and uses off-the-shelf units. The development while fulfilling some main criteria also showed deficiencies. Until launch it took more than 7 years and scalability was achieved only for the software. Airbus from this baseline initiated a consortium with diverse SMEs in a continuous effort to optimize the ideology and technology about building satellites. Tenets of this “F-Series” approach include automotive-like Scrum development and continuous verification, scalable avionics, again employing “off-the-shelf” parts, a consistent path from early digital twin to full flight hardware/software/operations featuring flexible payload connectivity. Considering the main takeaways from diverse modelled satellites and studies, the F-Series development kit for building SmallSats emerged.