OHB Italia signed with ASI-Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, a “Phase A” contract for a technology demonstration mission called #SATURN (Synthetic AperTure radar cUbesat foRmation flyiNg). It consists of a preliminary system study with definition of technical requirements and assessment of critical technologies for a train of 3, 16U-MicroSats equipped with miniaturized SAR instruments.

The main target of the SATURN mission is to demonstrate the key technology “Cooperative Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output ( #MIMO) Swarms of SAR MicroSats” for innovative, low cost and versatile Earth Observation applications.

SATURN will become the first ever Space SAR MIMO mission, introducing a new paradigm in SAR Earth Observation. SATURN will allow low-cost, scalable SAR missions for a quick approach to Space for private and public entities. The distribution of the key resources, normally concentrated in a single, large and complex satellite, can be distributed among small-sized and simpler systems, thanks to the proper combination of the signals from each single node of the swarm. Such constellation of swarms deployed on different orbital planes allows high revisit time and high performance independently from the available daylight and cloud cover.

The industrial team is led from OHB Italia as prime contractor, provider of the CubeSat 3M platform and ground segment, responsible for the development of the SAR payload antenna deployment mechanism. The subcontractors are ARESYS responsible for the SAR payload, MIMO SAR data processing and the payload Ground Segment; POLITECNICO DI MILANO responsible for the mission requirements and data scientific exploitation; AIRBUS ITALIA responsible for the payload antenna design and manufacturing.

 “SATURN swarms configured from 3 up to 36 MicroSats will be a “super Earth Explorer” thanks to its great versatility and reconfigurability” – stated Roberto Aceti, Managing Director of OHB Italia – “Moreover the demonstration of the MIMO Paradigm allows the miniaturization and the development of novel SAR instruments enhancing real-time 3D imaging and a very short revisit timing particularly suitable to search-and-rescue all weather services.”

#ASI #PolitecnicodiMilano #Aresys #AirbusItalia #technology #SAR #smallsized #3DImaging #SuperEarthExplorer #MicrosatsSwarm