Webinar – Accessing Space: Platforms and Launcher Services
Uploaded on December 14, 2022
Webinar – Accessing Space: Platforms and Launcher Services
2022-12-14 - Webinar on currently available platforms and launcher services used to place small satellites into orbit hosted by Alfred Ng, Manager, Projects/Programs Portfolio. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)
Mario Ciaramicoli: Okay, so it’s two o’clock; I think we should get started. Welcome, everyone. My name is Mario Ciaramicoli and I will be the facilitator for this webinar. Thank you for joining us for this event that is sure to be educational for us all. You will notice that the chat and mics are turned off in order to ensure we get through the entire presentation and leave enough time at the end for some questions. You are, however, invited to submit any questions to the email address that you see on the screen, the firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be monitoring that throughout the presentation and we’ll try to have the presenters answer them at the end where we’ve reserved about 15 minutes for a Q & A period at the end of the hour. If we do not get to your question, we aim to post all questions and answers on the event web page in the near future along with the presentation that you will get to see in a moment and the recording of today’s event.
And now I’d like to present André Jodoin who will introduce our guest speakers.
André Jodoin: Hello, all. So my name is André Jodoin and I’m a Program Lead for Small Satellite Mission Initiatives. So the purpose of this webinar is to share general information we have on CubeSats, hosted platforms, launchers services, and some regulatory considerations for those of you who are interested in flying their projects in space.
Our main presenter today is Alfred Ng who will be conducting the English session today. Alfred is a Program Portfolio Manager in the Engineering Development Division of the Space Science and Technology Directorate and Alfred is currently involved in the Canadian CubeSat Project and Stratos Balloon Program.
To assist him today, Tony Pellerin, who will be the host of the next week’s session in French. Tony is the Manager of the Mechanical Group in the Engineering Development Division of the Space Science and Technology Directorate, and he’s also involved in the Canadian CubeSat Program, and he’s also the Canadian Delegate for ESA -- to ESA, sorry, for SatCom and Navigation Programs. So without further ado, I hand it over to you, Alfred, to begin the presentation.
Alfred Ng: Thank you, André, for the introduction. So I’ll share my screen now. Okay, so everyone can see my screen?
Mario Ciaramicoli: Yes.
Alfred Ng: Thank you.
Welcome, everyone. Welcome to this webinar. So this webinar material is prepared by myself and Tony Pellerin, my colleague, and, as André mentioned, today I’m doing the English presentation and next week Tony will do the same presentation in French.
Okay, so the primary objective of today’s presentation is really to provide information to organizations that are interested to access space. So as such, the focus here is really on talking about the CubeSat, what are the characteristics of CubeSat, and then I’ll move on to talk about the ability for launch, okay. And then the next one we’ll deal with -- will also be -- we touch upon will be, like, hosted payload opportunities. And finally, we also go on to bring to your attention what are the regulatory considerations that you should think about right from the beginning of your project.
Now, here, why -- for those who are new in the satellite domain, I just want to explain to you, in the satellite domain, we like to classify satellites mostly by the mass of the satellite, okay. According to the NASA definition, Smallsat is something between 100 to180 kg; Microsat is 10 to 100 kg; and Nanosat is 1 to 10 kg. And CubeSat is regarded as one of the Nano Satellites, just that it has special format, okay, form (inaudible), which I’m going to explain.
So this is briefly the agenda for today. I’ll start with the CubeSat platform, and then talk about the launchers, the hosted payload platforms, and finally, wrap up with the regulations, and then we’ll leave time for Q & A.
So before 1999, basically, there was virtually no standard satellite bus for non-GEO station satellites, okay. For GEO station satellites, yes, there were a few major manufacturers in the world so they come up with something called standard bus. But for non-GEO station satellites, virtually there is no standard. So this makes all the -- like, certain missions became a really lengthy process and also very complicated. And this is one frustration felt by the Professor Bob Twiggs. At that moment, he was a professor at Stanford University and he was leading and still doing like the Micro Satellite project. And he found it very frustrating when there is no standard for like small missions.
So this is why he came up with this idea of something called CubeSat, okay? He said that let’s come up with a standard which is like cube (inaudible) better for satellite. In this idea he should have a satellite bus which is 10 cm by 10 cm by 10 cm. And the mass should be limited to about 1 kilogram. And he called this a CubeSat.
So the idea is great. Then people asked him, “How are you going to launch such a satellite? It’s such a small satellite. How are you going to launch it?”
Then his friend in the CalPoly come up with the idea, well, what we can do, we can put a -- if you have such a satellite, we can put it inside something called a deployer, a CubeSat deployer. Okay? Here you can see the unit here. This is called the CubeSat deployer.
At the bottom of the deployer there’s a spring in it. So his idea -- he said, well, what we have to do is once you have the CubeSat finished, put it inside the deployer, close the door, and then it is the deployer that will be attached to the satellite launcher, okay? To the launcher adapter ring there. This way, once the upper stage of the rocket reaches the space then a signal can be sent and open up the door and then the spring at the bottom of this deployer will push the CubeSat into space. So this is how you can launch the CubeSat into space.
So this standard format is known as 1U. Okay? They’re 10 by 10 by 10 is know as 1U. It’s good but it’s too small, okay? It’s just sufficient to accommodate basically the battery, the radio frequency communication, and also the flight computer. And it leaves very little space for the payload.
So this is (inaudible) rapidly. People will start proposing, “Well, 1U is not big enough. Let’s propose other formats and come up with something like 2U, 3U, 6U, and up to 12U, for example.” This image did come from NASA website. You can see it is for 2U basically it’s just the two times the 1U format. And the 3U is three times, and so on and so on.
And also recently there’s some that are proposing 1.5U format, okay? These are kind of like very recent but not that popular yet. But eventually it might become popular, okay? So basically the key message here is that CubeSat originally referred to 1U but now we are seeing different sizes of it, okay, which are multiples of the 1U. And these are all known as CubeSats.
So let’s look at the statistics of the CubeSat since it was introduced in 1999, okay?
In the first 10 years, in the year 2000s -- so basically only universities were doing CubeSat. Here this is the statistics that are extracted from this website. You can go there and you can see it.
So the green part here represents university participation, the number of CubeSats per year. And then the blue one represents military participation. And then the orange part here represents civil space agencies, like NASA, (Inaudible) Space Agency, and CSA and so on.
And finally, the red one is the commercial, okay? You can see the trend here. At the beginning, really really dominated by academia. But then the trend started to change around 2014. You can see this now, the commercial start adopting CubeSat in a large number. Okay?
So on the right-hand side here is the same size except now is the actual Cube missions. You can see the trend. It’s just a rapidly growing since 2014. Now we’re seeing, like, over on average almost more than 200 CubeSats per year. We are seeing it rapidly grow. And most of this growth is due to space start-up, for example, Planet and Spire. They launch hundreds of CubeSats to build up their own constellations.
So what are the real advantages of building a CubeSat? First of all, because the format is standardized, so mechanical design is very simple, okay? Also now when you build your CubeSat you don’t have to worry about where am I going to attach the launcher? Okay, how do I design the launcher? You don’t need to worry about it. It is all done through the deployer so you just focus your very simple mechanical structure.
And because there’s now you have a standard, okay, 10 cm by 10 cm is basically the standard processing area. So once you have this standard, then the mainly supplier were created, okay? Mostly in Europe you see many suppliers in Europe. And because of this they are now with a booming industry in CubeSat suppliers.
And the low cost of construction is a big advantage offered by CubeSat, okay, because now you have more suppliers to choose the component and then the price of it all automatically (inaudible) competition and then the price becomes more affordable.
And in general also the launch cost is affordable because the mass is lower, because the CubeSat mass is lower. And now most of the commercial launchers offer accommodation for CubeSat deployers.
And finally, one of significant boosts for the CubeSat is really the launch from ISS, the International Space Station. On the right here is shown the statistics based on the 943 missions that have been launched, the CubeSats that have been launched.
Yes, USA they are making launches, they are the most dominant, okay, 43 percent. But for this is from the ISS, the International Space Station. Almost 20 percent of the CubeSats that have been launched is from ISS and I do have one slide showing how they are going to do it, okay?
On the other hand there are some disadvantages of using CubeSat you have to keep in mind. First of all the form factor, although it is nice and standardized form factor but then it can also put significant constraint on the payload design. For example, you want to develop a telescope doing the space astronomy. Then this form factor will limit the size of the aperture of your telescope.
And also, don’t forget, that you have to stow the CubeSat into the deployer. That means that you have to be very -- you really limit the way how you're going to put any deployable appendage. In this image here you can see that this is like the purple antenna and also depends on what deployable appendage. So it really limits the way you design all these deplorables because you have to fit inside the deployer, okay?
So these are the two major disadvantage of using CubeSat.
Now because of the booming of the CubeSat and the popularity now today you basically see a lot -- not only do you supply -- they will sell you like the battery, the communication module, the computer, but they are also supplying -- provide you the turnkey solution, okay, both in Canada and internationally.
I’m going to go through a few of them but here I just want to reiterate this is provided as a reference and not as an endorsement.
The first one that comes to the mind is the Space Flight Laboratory. This is located, co-located on the campus of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in Toronto, okay? They have achieved quite remarkably.
First, they participated in the first batch of CubeSat launches ack in 2003. They were the first one in the country to build a CubeSat and the first batch in 2003. And since then they have grown significantly and now they provide a large number of satellite form factors other than CubeSat. They don’t just do the CubeSat; they do other kinds of form factors.
And also they have an excellent track record of success. In the last count there were 31 successful missions from CubeSat to microsatellite. And recently now they are looking at a sat that reaches even bigger than a smallsat which is 300 kilogram astronomy satellite for NASA’s Starburst Mission.
As mentioned earlier, in Europe you find many CubeSat suppliers for the components but there are also CubeSat turnkey providers.
The first one I mention here would be ISISpace. This is based in Delft. This is a spinoff from the Delft University in The Netherlands back in 2006.
And GOMSpace likewise is also a spinoff from Aalborg University. The students, they were working on the CubeSat and after one or two missions they created their own GOMSpace.
Another notable CubeSat is a place called Clyde Space, AAC Clyde Space based in Glasgow, Scotland. And all these companies provide components as well as the CubeSat buses up to 16U.
Okay. Now that I've gone through, like, to introduce you to the basics of CubeSat now let’s see how we’re going to launch that. Okay?
Before we’re going to do that, let’s think about also -- suppose you're now ready to launch a satellite. What should you think about? Is it only the price of the launch that you should think about? Well, here I just want to remind you, it is not only the price you should consider. There are other factors you should consider, okay?
First one, you should think about launching the satellite to the altitude that you require to achieve the mission. Don’t just think about, oh, I should launch it as high as possible or as low as possible. You should always find the altitude that is necessary to achieve what resource satellite mission.
For example, if you want to say, “Oh, I want to launch it as high as possible,” then you are (inaudible) about it. Going into a higher orbit automatically means that the launch have to spend more energy to bring you up there. That means that they will charge you more for your launch cost. Okay?
Likewise, the higher you go, that means at the end of the mission -- you also have the obligation to de-orbit your satellite. That means the higher you go, that will take more energy to bring it down so that it can be de-orbited. In the satellite business, the energy required, the energy that’s carried -- we always use the term “delta V”, okay?
So if you want to send the satellite to a higher altitude at the end of the mission you must have enough Delta V to bring it back such that it can be de-orbited to meet the international obligation. I have one slide talking about this later, okay?
Likewise, if you want to send your satellite into a higher inclination orbit, that will also mean that you have to pay a higher launch cost. So other factors that you should consider, I've listed some of them here.
The first one will be safety and environmental test requirements. Each launcher has some requirements but they’re not all identical. Some require more; some require less, so none of them are identical.
And also as I mentioned here, Delta V, so that means that the satellite has to carry a certain Delta. So that means that you probably have to carry certain propulsion systems so that you can de-orbit at the end of the mission. Then the propulsion system probably will trigger more tests and more paperwork.
And also don't underestimate the logistics to transport your satellite. Suppose you get very low cost of launch over in a far away, then you're thinking about how you're going to transport you’re your satellite over there. It might be quite difficult or quite costly.
And in Canada exporting the satellite to the launch site, you also must obtain an export license in most of the cases, okay? Here you have to consult Global Affairs Canada. They will guide you, whether your satellite will require an export license.
And finally, this applies mostly for when you purchase a component, even (inaudible) maybe it says a (inaudible) FPGA. You purchase this from a U.S. company and then when they sell it to you, you say this is for satellite use. Then the company will have to apply for an export license to sell it to you. Once you receive this component, put it on the satellite, then when the time comes to launch, and then you say, “Oh, now I have to export my satellite to a third country for it to be launched.” Then you must ask for a re-export license from the U.S. government authority, okay?
So this is mandatory. You cannot say that once you purchase this component, you have the freedom to bring it anywhere. No. This is tightly controlled. So you must have the license to re-export the satellite component.
This picture here shows you what are the launch sites in the world today, okay? Those that are in the red lettering means that these are launch sites either under development at different levels of maturity in the developing the launch site so they can carry out the orbital launch, okay?
For example, Kiruna already do the orbital launch but right now they’re upgrading so that they can handle the orbital launch. Santa Maria Island is (inaudible) in Portugal (inaudible) island. It is on the joint border. They want to build launch sites there, okay?
Alcantera in Brazil, they have the launch site already but they never have conducted any orbital launch up to now. Canso in Nova Scotia -- there’s a company called Maritime Launch Service. They started breaking ground, building the first Canadian Space port. Okay?
Now, I highlight here but on the other hand will be meaning that those launch sites which are accessible commercially. That means that they are now commercial vendors. They can provide launch from those launch sites. And I’ll go through those slides now.
So here is the top leader which is the Virgin (phonetic) Orbit which normally launches from air. And they take off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
So the first one I want to talk about is the ISS Launch. Under the Space Act Agreement between NASA and the company called NanoRacks, the company can provide commercial launch services of CubeSats from ISS; it’s from 1U up to 6U. The way it is done is the CubeSat, once it’s finished, then the company will help you integrate all the CubeSats into a deployer which is 6U in length.
Here, this is a photo taken last week in the CSA. There were three university built CubeSats that were integrated in CSA. So this is like completed, so the 6Us --there are three CubeSats here, 6U (inaudible) at the end here hiding behind the space that (inaudible). So once this is integrated, then the company transferred this deployer to NASA and NASA would then arrange the flight to ISS through the cargo resupply flight. So either from the Kennedy Space Centre or from Wallops Island, depending on which launch they are going to use.
So once this 6U deployer reaches space, reaches the space station, then the astronaut will put them into the CubeSat NanoRacks CubeSat deployer of this size. Okay?
In this one you can see actually it can handle up to eight of these units. So the ISS astronaut will put all this (inaudible) of this tube into this deployer. So when the time comes to deploy them, then they just use the robotic arm in the Japanese Experimental Module called the JEM. So then they use the robotic arm there, pick it up from the airlock and put it in the right position in space. And then the astronaut then will control one by one release the door and the CubeSat will be launched into space.
So that is the -- on this cargo flight, okay, on one of these launch campaigns, the company can provide up to 48U deployment in space.
The next launch vehicle I want to talk about is called the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or we commonly call it PSLV. This is the workhorse of the Indian Space Research Organization called ISRO. They have a very long history of providing commercial secondary launch opportunity to small, micro and nano satellites.
For example, in 2017 at that time they achieved a world record of delivering 104 satellites in one launch, one of the (inaudible) that they launched 104 satellites. Okay? Out of these 104 there were 101 CubeSats; 99 of them are 3U, one is 2U and one is 1U.
The next one (inaudible) name is SpaceX. And SpaceX introduced a rideshare service about 2019. They started introducing it, the rideshare service on the Falcon-9. And they allow a small, micro, nanosatellite builders -- you can reserve a flight directly on the website, on the SpaceX website. And obviously this is a much better, more powerful launcher than (inaudible). And in January 2021 they achieved another new world record which 143 satellites.
Here only the first 10 of the (inaudible) SpaceX which is the Starlink satellite. The rest are all CubeSats, okay? You can see here, these are like the deployer tubes. So you get these all are deployer tubes so you can just deploy all the -- there’s so many because of the -- you can (inaudible). And then also it includes some of these, looks like micro satellites. And they did this again in 2021 June flight, and once again they launched over 100 satellites including 102 of them are CubeSat. Only three of them were from Starlink; the rest of them are all CubeSat customers.
The Rocket Lab Electron is a company based in New Zealand. They started providing the launch service in 2017 and they have two launch sites. One of them is in New Zealand in Mahia, New Zealand, which is in the north island of New Zealand. And recently they have completed a second launch site in Wallops Island. And here right now on the website they said that this one only serves the U.S. government customer but we don’t know whether this will change in the future.
So this is a smaller launcher. It can carry up to about 500 kilograms into space. But on the web it showed that on one single mission they can carry like a small sat on top and then they can simultaneously launch the CubeSat by putting the deployer at the bottom here.
So Vega is a ESA small launcher. And they use the ESA launcher which is from Kourou, French Guiana. This one is quite a big launcher actually even though it is called the small launcher for ESA but it has a capacity to carry up to about two tons into space. In its 16th flight it launched 65 satellites, three smallsat, four microsat, and 58 CubeSats.
What is interesting in this mission is that 46 CubeSats were released directly from the launcher. Then the other 12, they were released later through another platform called the D-Orbit ION platform.
I have one slide explaining how this is done later, okay? So don’t miss that.
At the launch, only 46 were released and then the other 12, the waited until the right moment, right orbit, then they released them later.
I earlier mentioned the Virgin Orbit, the launch from the Mojave and Space Park in California. So basically they entered the service in 2021. The way it is worked is by using a repurposed Boeing 747 and under one wing they carried the rocket so when the aircraft is in the air at the right altitude, that it will release the rocket and then rocket will be ignited and then the two stage rocket will bring the satellite into space.
So so far they have had four successful flights and launched over 30 CubeSats. Now, the company really wanted to promote the flexibility of the launch capability. This is why the next launch they will launch it from the U.K., Cornwall, U.K.. And today they announced the date it will take place, next Wednesday, December the 14th, evening. They will launch it from Cornwall, U.K., okay?
So basically in the future they will want to demonstrate it. If you have a satellite, we can bring the carrier aircraft to you, and as long as you have a runway big enough for the Boeing 747 we can launch it from your regional airport. This is the whole idea.
Well, other than these established players now there are many other new players, okay? And as I mentioned, like in Canada, Maritime Launch Service is building the first Canadian spaceport in Canso, Nova Scotia.
And we also noted now there are quite a few companies, Canadian companies. They are developing the first Canadian launcher. They are at various stages of maturity, so probably in the next few years we will see the first Canadian rocket launched from Canadian soil. Here this includes the companies like Reaction Dynamics, SpaceRyde, and C6 Launch.
In Europe there is also a newcomer, for example, Rocket Factory in Augsburg, Germany, based in Germany. The intent here, they will use the Kiruna facility for their launch in the future.
In the U.S. there are also two newcomers. One is called the Firefly Alpha and the other one is called the Astra Rocket 3.3. So Firefly will be using the Vandenberg in California and Astra is using the launch site in Alaska and also in California.
So there’s no doubt the launch success statistics has been improving. However, failure is still happening, okay? And the launch failure is still represented as the single point of failure for satellite missions. So if you are unfortunate, your satellite is on one of those failure to launch then you lose the mission. That’s unfortunate.
For example, here I show you the statistics since 2020. Even Vega has one failure. And then two of the satellites were lost.
And Rocket Lab also had two failures out of 22 launches since 2020 and nine missions lost including six CubeSats.
And Firefly Alpha -- they have launched twice so far. The first one was lost a satellite and nine CubeSats were destroyed and the second was partially successful because it went into a much lower altitude orbit. But still they managed to deploy seven CubeSats.
And the Astra Rocket, they launched five times so far and three failed and six CubeSats were destroyed.
So in the event that you launch certain missions on one of those failed launches, most of the time the launch provider can only offer you the re-flight opportunity as compensation. So this is the reality of the space business.
So now suppose your intent says okay, I don’t want to build a whole satellite. I just want to test fly my payload. Is there -- can this be done? So in the next few slides I will show you how this can be done.
So there are at least three commercial companies providing service that can host the payloads in space. The major advantage here is that okay, now you don’t have to develop the whole satellite. You don’t have to worry about, like, the power, the onboard computer. They will provide that for you. They host the payload there and you can plug it in; you get the power, you get the data link for your payload.
So the pretty complete list here -- one is from NanoRacks, one is from Airbus and one is from D-Orbit. So both the NanoRacks and Airbus are using the space station, okay? So NanoRacks is using like the Japan Experimental Module; that is an Exposed Facility. So they use that one to do hosting the payload.
And Airbus likewise, they -- on the space station there’s a Columbus module belonging to European Space Agency. So they attach a platform to it, called the Bartolomeo, that can host the payload or so that the payload can do like gather the data in the deep space.
And D-Orbit is using a satellite to host the payload. I will have one slide to explain to you how this works, okay?
So each one will offer you different volume and also different mass capacity, okay? And also for the Nano and Airbus, they also provide the option idea of the payload demonstrating in space. You can have the option to say, “I want to bring back my payload.” There is option to bring it back.
But for D-Orbit, no, because they launch your -- they will carry your payload on the satellite in space so there’s no chance they can bring it back for you.
So NanoRacks -- that’s the way we see the way that they launch the CubeSat. Basically, they want to use the Exposed Facility, using the external platform. So your payload is carried to space. Then the astronaut would -- so your payload is in the empty space underneath here. Then they use like the Japan robotic arm in the JEM module through the airlock and bring this one out into the Exposed Facility platform there, and leave your payload there, exposed to deep space. They will provide you with power, data link, and then the payloads are switched about 6 months. You get to leave it there for about six months.
I should also highlight that the company also provides similar (inaudible) that are inside the space station. For example, you say, “Oh, I have no payload but I just need the micro (inaudible) environment. I don’t need to be exposed in deep space.”
Yes. The company says, “Yes, if you build your experiment in the CubeSat format there is internal rack that can hold your payload inside the ISS and it can carry out the experiment for you.”
So Airbus Bartolomeo, as I mentioned, is attached to the ESA Columbus module, okay? It can host up to 12 payloads simultaneously, highlighted in the purple colour here. So each payload can have different kind of viewing directions. You can view at the zenith, the nadir or the RAM direction, okay? So some payloads can have all three directions. Some might be limited only either zenith or limited either the nadir direction. And also the payload can stay there for up to seven years.
So D-orbit ION, this is the Italian company, a small company in Italy. So what they are doing is that they want to serve as both a satellite carrier and a hosted payload platform. They had this ION -- we call it the ION platform which can (inaudible) the satellite or it can host a payload, okay?
You say, “Oh, I want to attach a payload here.” Sure, they will find you space so that you will -- like, attached to the ION platform throughout the whole mission. Otherwise you -- then they have this kind of like a (inaudible) like the CubeSat deployer so that they can release the CubeSat in space for you. So this is the model they are working on.
Basically you bring either the CubeSat or the payload to the company and they integrate it into this ION platform. Then they put it on the launcher. Once it’s in space, then they release the CubeSat for you or they will keep your payload on board throughout the whole mission so that you can still get your data that you're looking for, okay?
Now, the CubeSat they deploy is -- they can also time it to the time you want. Or they can change the orbit for you. So for example, you say, “Okay, you're going to do a 450 kilometre orbit. I’d like to go higher.”
Then they say, “Okay, we can do it for you. You say you want to go to 20 kilometres higher.” Then they push up the ION to a higher altitude, and then release the CubeSat for you. Of course, everything there’s a price tag to it, okay? But this is like giving more flexibility and choosing to orbit (inaudible) but the trade-off is that you have to pay more price.
Mario Ciaramicoli: [37:50] Alfred?
Alfred Ng: [37:51] Yes?
Mario Ciaramicoli: It’s Mario. Sorry to interrupt. Normally you would have only seven minutes left but we are not getting really any questions yet in the inbox so you have extra time if you need it.
Alfred Ng: Okay, thank you.
So now I’m coming to the last section here talking about the regulations.
As I mentioned, don’t overlook the regulatory requirements. You should (inaudible) about what is required when you do the certain mission. The first one I’ll talk about is the debris mitigation requirement. So in 2010, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Space -- or commonly we just call it COPUOS -- adopted the guideline proposed by Inter-Agency Debris Coordination Committee, IADC.
So what is this guideline? These guidelines are basically stated, they are two regions in space which we should try to keep it free of orbital debris. They call it Region A and Region B. The figure here is -- imagine we are looking through the equator of the earth. So the Region A is a region which is 2000 kilometres above the altitude from the surface of the earth, 200 kilometres is Region A.
The Region B will be at the GEO Station (inaudible) the altitude which is about 200 kilometres higher than GEO Station altitude, and 200 kilometres lower than the GEO Station altitude. So this is the Region B. This is right from the side view looking from the equator.
So if you look from the pole what does it look like? Basically you look from the pole, then the region remains like a circle, 2000 kilometres above the surface of the earth and therefore the GEO Station (inaudible) is basically a ring; you see a ring.
So what the guidelines said, at the end of your satellite mission you must move your satellite outside the Region A or Region B. And if you are in the -- you’re set already in the Region A, the guidelines say okay, you must remove it but we allow you to have 25 years time. Then it’s the idea the mission, you should try to push your satellite, using Delta V as I mentioned, Delta V (inaudible).
Either push it in the lower altitudes so that the satellite orbit would gradually decay and within 25 years it will be burned up in the earth’s atmosphere.
Or if you say, “Okay, I would rather use more energy to push it out to the 2000 kilometre altitude,” this is one option too. If you think this is more economical, you can do the same. You just have to push out to 2000 kilometres or higher.
So likewise for GEO Station satellites; at the end of the mission, they have to keep it up to like 15 degrees north and south as I mentioned from the earth’s centre. Okay? So they have to push the satellite outside this zone, outside this Region B zone. This is the requirement to become part of the United Nations COPUOS Guidelines on debris mitigation.
Note that this 25 years of guidelines -- and this was a topic in 2010. In the last 10 years we have been seeing an explosion in the number of satellites that have been launched mainly from those mega constellations like Starlink. So this is why now the national authorities have become more concerned thinking that 25 years is too long. So a few months ago the U.S. FCC -- which is like the Federal Communication Commission -- they are responsible for spectrum license in USA. So they proposed that this period of 25 years should be reduced to five years. Okay?
So now they are lobbying like the international community to change this from 25 years to five years. So we don’t know whether this will be adopted in the future but the trend is that -- basically the trend is now as soon as you finish the space mission you must try to de-orbit as soon as possible. Okay? The general feeling from the international community is that 25 years is really too long. They would like that people take more action to de-orbit the space, okay, to make it safe for everyone.
So the first regulation I want to point out is the Radio Communication Regulation. We call it spectrum license. Basically, this is the license that allows you to communicate with your satellite. In Canada this is handled by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ISED, or we call it ISED Spectrum Management Group in Ottawa. Okay? So this is mandatory. You must have a spectrum license in order to operate a satellite.
So ISED is responsible to authorize use to use the radio service, the frequency bands, and orbital location, and coverage area. Okay? They have the full authority.
And getting a spectrum license is a long process and it also is a multi-step process. The first process is that you must submit the ITU which is the International Telecommunications Unit. This is a United Nations body that will be doing the international recognition and coordination.
So you have to do a filing so that you show your intention that I want to use this frequency over which regions, for what period. So you get the international recognition and make sure your request is coordinated with all the players in the world.
Once this is done, then you have to submit your application to the ISED office directly. This is what we commonly call the CPC2602. So this application -- this is where you apply to get your spectrum license.
And there is a license fee associated with the spectrum license, okay? This fee is dependent on the class of mission, the mission duration, frequency, and band width you're asking for. And don’t forget that even though your radio spectrum license to (inaudible) you also should apply for the license to operate your ground station. Okay?
So from the ISED point of view, this is the advice provided by ISED. They said that every error you make your ITU filing or the CPC application, will lead to delay. Okay?
Right now, the ITU filing is done electronically. ITU provides the software that they recommend you use it. This will allow you to do the filing properly. Make sure everything checks correctly all the parameters, all the numbers you enter, they are correct, okay?
For the CPC application, right now they still accept applications as a document but they will soon move to the electronic filing platform.
And the filing process is long, okay. In general, it takes about four months before the ISED will give you a decision whether your application is approved or denied. If it is denied, then you will receive a notification and then you can correct all the errors and you resubmit.
So this is why the advice from the ISED office is to apply early, talk to them early, okay? Sometimes it might take up to one to two years before the launch date that people will start working on it.
So if there are any questions, there are two email addresses here that you can write to and get the support from them.
The next license that I have to point out is something we call the Remote Sensing Space System Act license, okay? Now, commonly we call it the RSSSA. So RSSSA is not as well known as the Radio Frequency Spectrum license but actually it became into force in 2007. In violation of the RSSSA you are subjected to a monitoring penalty. And in Canada it is Global Affairs Canada that has a mandate to administer and enforce the Act.
So here there are two key words here -- Remote Sensing and Space Systems. So what is the definition of Remote Sensing? Under the Act, the definition of Remote Sensing basically says it is raw in the sense that it refers to a satellite. Remote sensing only refers to the satellite. It does not count if you are, like, flying on the high altitude aircraft. It does not count. It only refers to the satellite that has the ability to image the Earth through the use of electromagnetic waves with one or more of the onboard sensors, payload, or instruments.
That means that it is not only limited to your payload. Suppose you say, “Oh, I’m flying a camera.” But no, they also look at what kind of sensor you have on board. If you have like a sensor that is for the guidance or the (inaudible) control purpose, but that sensor has the ability to image the earth, this is a -- then they will classify this as a remote sensing satellite.
Then the second part is the Space System. The Space System here refers to the space segment which means the satellite itself and the sensors. The ground segment means the antenna on the ground, the mission control centre, the network and other ground facilities, as well as the data. This here refers to where is the reception facility; how the data is being stored, processed, or at the end how you destroy the data. Okay?
So the Act also examines the people behind the Space System, okay? Then it’s who is the operator? Who is the collaborating on this Space System? They’re also looking at that.
So the application basically is a very detailed form. You have to answer all these questions, provide all the right information regarding the Space System. So for some of you have to tell them at the end of the mission how you're going to dispose of this information. So also you have to tell them, like, who is helping with the filing of the data, and how the data is being stored, and how it is going to be distributed. Okay?
Once again, they recommend early consultation, and here’s the email address.
And the RSSSA license, there is no charge for it. It’s just an application you must follow if your satellite contains a unit, that (inaudible) remote sensing.
Finally, the slide here I want to bring to your attention is the Registering Canadian Space Objects. So there is an obligation to register space objects and this is codified in the international space law and in Canada, we are the State Party to both the Outer Space Treaty and the Registration Convention. So we are obligated to register all the space objects.
This includes not only like the (inaudible) mission. Also no (inaudible), okay? So then the mission from the private companies, from the academia, we must register them. And we register them with the United Nations. And there are many advantages of why we have to do this. One of the key advantage of the (inaudible) is that you help the international community identify the space objects so they know, okay, this is an object that belongs to Canada. In the event of an emergency they know who to notify. They know how to -- who like, the national authority should notify in case that they see something emergency here.
So CSA has the responsibility here. So we maintain a national registry for all the space objects and also we coordinate the registration with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. So once again here, there’s an email address you can write to when you're ready to register and you have people respond to your questions and guide you how to register.
Basically one the satellite is launched in space you have to download a form from the UNOOSA website and fill out the form and submit to the CSA email address, and then they will help you register on the United Nations registry.
So this comes to the end of my presentation. So as a summary -- so I presented to you what is a CubeSat and the many possibilities of building a CubeSat. You can either buy the components or you can (inaudible) a turnkey solution. And likewise. Because of the popularity of CubeSat now, you see a lot of commercial opportunities to launch your CubeSat into space.
And if you say, “Well, I decide not to use the (inaudible) by myself then there’s always options. Just (inaudible) the payload in space. And I showed you three examples.
And finally, it is very important to pay attention to regulatory requirements for your space project. Don’t start late, okay? Don’t think that, “Oh, I can look at this after I build my CubeSat and my mission satellite.” No, it is too late, okay?
I have to re-emphasize for example, there’s spectrum license. Many launch providers will not accept your satellite if you cannot prove that you have the spectrum license in your hand, okay? They will not accept to launch it, that they know that this is some kind of law or (inaudible) in their country, okay?
Thank you for listening. And now we are open to Q and A. Thank you.
Mario Ciaramicoli: Thank you very much, Alfred, for the very informative presentation. It concludes the core element of today’s webinar but we do have a little bit of time left to address some of the questions that may have come in, although from what I can tell, only one question has come in. And that question is from Janine.
It says, “Thank you for the informative presentation. Is there a reason Momentus…” -- and Janine mentions Vigoride and Ardoride; I guess those are platforms from the Momentus Space Organization or company. And the other one is Space Flight, and they have something called Sherpa. So she’s asking -- Janine is asking, “Is there a reason Momentus and Space Flight were not included in the presentation?”
Alfred Ng: [53:52] No, no, there’s no reason for that, no. As I mentioned, the industry is changing so fast. Again, when I get my information I forgot about that one. No, there is no reason for that, okay? That gives me more reason to update my slides for the next year presentation. Sorry about that.
Mario Ciaramicoli: Oh, I think that’s not a problem. And thank you, Janine, for the question. I think it just proves at what rate things are changing in the Space industry, which is a good sign. And so I guess we’re having trouble keeping up with all the newcomers.
Alfred Ng: That’s right.
Mario Ciaramicoli: But that’s actually a good thing. So great.
So unless Alfred and Tony, you had something else you wanted to add, I would say this is the end of the webinar.
I’d like to take a moment to thank you both, Alfred and Tony, for taking all your time to prepare for this and deliver it today, and to prepare for the one next week that will be given in French.
And I’d like to thank all those that helped to organize this event, and all of you for participating.
So good luck with your projects and we hope to see you next time. Take care.
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