The Institute of Space Science develops the RoBiSAT space mission – Two nanosatellites launched by the QB50 international collaboration

Model preliminar. Credit: ISS
Preliminary model. Credit: ISS

RoBiSAT is the name of the Institute of Space Science’s mission that aims to develop and verify the critical technologies necessary for the nanosatellites formation flight. A specific characteristic of this initiative is the study of the technological solutions for obtaining radio communications for data exchange and commands between two identical satellites located on low-Earth orbit.

First step of the mission was funded by obtaining a research contract in the STAR project competition (2012), coordinated by the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA). RoBiSAT-1 project supports the development of a 2U CubeSat nanosatellite laboratory model  – approximate dimensions 20 x 10 x 10 cm3. The development of flight models and the tests and inspections related to the launch and space operation, as well as the operation will be funded through other contracts after the completion of RoBiSAT-1 project.

The RoBiSAT-1 and RoBiSAT-2 will be launched as part of the international collaboration QB50 – a 50 nanosatellites constellation – and will integrate, in addition to the radio communications experiment, tools developed by the QB50 consortium for the  atmosphere’s study. These sets of sensors will be integrated on the board of other satellites launched altogether, and will form a constellation of 50 mini-labs that will measure the characteristic parameters of the earth’s atmosphere upper strata in different positions, at different times, giving an unprecedented amount of data to monitor in situ the processes of interest, to check and improve existing models. Romania will actively participate also at the ground station network, mainly using the infrastructure developed in previous projects. The communication with the two satellites will ensure the transfer of scientific data required for the lower atmosphere analysis.

The project team is composed of researchers and research assistants at the Institute of Space Sciences. The research group is built on the critical nucleus formed following the GOLIAT nanosatellite development and involves, in addition to the experienced researchers, graduate students who have recently joined the team.

Funded by a FP7 European project, QB50 is the first international collaboration that is professionally using small satellites for the study of atmospheric areas less investigated until now. Romania is represented in this collaboration by the Institute of Space Science.

The Institute of Space Science (ISS), located in Magurele, Romania, develops research projects in various fields, like astroparticle physics, high energy physics, astrophysics and cosmology, space plasma physics and applied research, design and development of space technology activities. ISS has been involved in collaborations and partnerships nationally and internationally renowned (CERN-ALICE, ANTARES, KM3NeT, Pierre Auger Observatory), in ESA space program through missions such as Euclid, Planck, Cluster and has collaborated with NASA at the first Romanian experiment sent on the International Space Station.

This post is also available in: Romanian