FSSCAT mission, launched by the beginning of September 2020, is the winner of 2017 Copernicus Masters Sentinel Small Sat Challenge award promoted by ESA. The objective of the competition was to define, implement and validate a complementary Earth Observation mission to the Copernicus program, with a budget limited to € 1M.
The mission, proposed by Adriano Camps (UPC) and Alessandro Golkar (Golbriak), has been carried out by a European consortium led by Elecnor DEIMOS and composed by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and by 3 other companies: Golbriak Space OÜ, from Estónia, Tyvak international, from Italy and Cosine, from Holland.
It is a mission of 2 6U cubesats flying together for monitoring polar ice and measuring soil moisture, using state-of-the-art two-sensor fusion technology, one combining a GNSS Reflectometer and a Microwave Radiometer (developed by UPC), and another consisting of a Hyperspectral camera (developed by Cosine) that operates in the visible, near-infrared and thermal spectrum. The two satellites also have onboard an inter-satellite communication system, which uses frequencies in the optical and radio domain (developed by Golbriak). The 2 cubesats, as well as the integration and validation of the different payment loads on the 6U platform has been the responsibility of Tyvak international. DEIMOS has developed the entire Ground Segment for data processing and dissemination, in accordance with Copernicus’ open data policies.
The Spanish and Portuguese contribution to this mission has been quite significant, both in the inclusion of the payload developed by UPC that seeks a consolidation in the technical domain of GNSS Reflectometry, as well as in the development of the Ground Segment, developed in record time thanks to the use of DEIMOS GS4EO product for Earth Observation missions.
With these types of activities, ESA manages to speed up the mission development process, making the production and use of Earth Observation data more dynamic. The first measurements of the mission are expected to be made one month after launch.
Images: ESA Credits