2017 06 06 ICARUS antenna team

Last week the ICARUS Flight Hardware was declared ready for hand-over to the ICARUS Project Cooperation Partners in Russia. After a series of thorough tests and inspections, Russian specialists from RSC Energia gave the go-ahead last Friday for transportation of the ICARUS Flight Hardware to their company test facilities in Korolev, near Moscow. There the ICARUS Flight Hardware will undergo further functional testing in mid July together with a fully representative Ground Model of the Russian part of the International Space Station. Upon successful completion of the joint test program, the ICARUS Flight Equipment will be transported to Baikonur for a launch planned in October 2017.

The ICARUS Instrument consists of an antenna which will be mounted on the outside of the Russian ISS module and a processing unit accommodated inside the ISS. During routine operation, the Antenna will receive data from transmitters attached to animals which will allow scientists to better study animal behavior. SpaceTech GmbH has developed, built and tested the ICARUS Instrument over the last 4 years as leader of a team of German SMEs.

The ICARUS Space Project was commissioned by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and is funded by the German Space Agency DLR.


2017 05 24 JUICE RIME Antenna DeploymentTest

The ESA/Airbus DS Review Board has declared the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of JUICE RIME Antenna successful, just one year after project start. The Review Board has highly appreciated the effort made for the breadboard test activities, the excellent cooperation and good design provided for the review.

In the very next step, the first flight representative RF test antennas will be delivered to Airbus DS. One of these test antennas will be RF tested by Airbus DS under a helicopter over Heiligenberg glider airfield in August 2017.

The deployable boom antenna of the Radar for Icy Moon Exploration (RIME) is part of the Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) first large-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Programme. Planned for launch in 2022 and arrival at Jupiter in 2030, the spacecraft will spend at least three years making detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

STI is the design and manufacture authority, supported by CarboSpaceTech (CST), Frentech Aerospace (FTC) and LKE, located in Czech Republic.

More information about the JUICE mission can be gathered on the ESA web site : http://sci.esa.int/juice/



[Source: CNES, Illustration by David DUCROS]

SpaceTech has acquired the C/D contract for the development of the Frequency Reference Unit (FRU) of the German-French methane gas mission MERLIN, in subcontract to Airbus DS Germany, responsible for the LIDAR instrument.

The MERLIN Satellite will monitor the global concentration of methane, one of the key climate changing trace gases in the atmosphere. The mission is a cooperation between DLR and CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), now entering the realisation phase. The FRU provides the absolute frequency of the methane absorption feature at 1645 nm to the instrument and ensures the correct frequency of the high power laser pulses with which the actual LIDAR measurements are performed. It contains a methane gas cell, several frequency stabilised diode lasers, a wavemeter, and the electronics to achieve the actual closed loop control of all needed frequencies throughout the mission.


Read more about MERLIN FRU ...

Information on MERLIN (DLR Site)

Video of MERLIN Mission (from CNES, Link to YouTube)

Video of MERLIN Satellite (from CNES, Link to YouTube)


Zusammen mit Wissenschaftlern des Max-Planck-Instituts für Ornithologie Radolfzell (MPIO) und russischen Ingenieuren absolvierte das SpaceTech-Team von ICARUS am 22. Oktober 2016 erfolgreich einen Schwebetest in der Bodensee-Therme in Konstanz. Die Aufgabe bestand darin, ein Modell der ICARUS-Antenne, welche 2017 am russischen Modul der Internationalen Raumstation (ISS) montiert wird, unter Bedingungen der Schwerelosigkeit handhaben und entfalten zu können. Das Ziel der ICARUS-Initiative ist eine satellitengeführte Tierbeobachtung mit Kleinst-GPS-Sendern.

2016 10 22 ICARUS Antenne Schwebetest Therme Konstanz

The SpaceTech ICARUS team conducted a successful buoyancy test on October 22, 2016, in the thermal baths “Bodensee-Therme” in Konstanz. The test was performed in collaboration with scientists fof the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPIO) of Radolfzell and with Russian engineers. The goal was to test the handling and deployment of the ICARUS antenna model, under absence of gravity; the ICARUS antenna will be mounted to the Russian modul of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017. The ICARUS Initiative aims at setting up a satellite guided animal observation system, using small GPS tags.


Lothar Riebsamen (MdB, CDU) visited SpaceTech to discuss existing capabilities, future chances and needs, of a small and medium enterprise (SME) active in the space business. Specific focal point of interest addressed was the political environment in view of future developments of governmental and private budgets. The visit has been coordinated with a visit at ASP-Equipment, together with BSSE and Hema, other SMEs from the Lake Contance area, active in the space sector.

STI Riebsamen med

Left to right: Kolja Nicklaus (STI), Wolfgang Pitz (STI), Lothar Riebsamen(MdB,CDU), Thomas Hintze(ASP)

As an acknowleged SME space system provider, SpaceTech sees itself well positioned to handle the challenges of the future, also associated with new developments such as "New Space" or "Space 4.0". To continue the success story of german space industry, also relying on a strong SME community, one important cornerstone is the reliable funding of technology developments in national and european programs, such as GSTP and Artes. These programs provide a huge leverage if supported reliably and are particularly effective and essential for SMEs.

While the big programs, such as ISS and Ariane 6 are of course very important, it is the earlier technology development which brings german space SME in the position to maintain and extend their international competitiveness in the future.

SpaceTech would like to express its thanks to Lothar Riebsamen for the visit and his will to support the SME request, for a strong and reliable technology funding in the space sector. In the frame of this meeting, certain next steps have been agreed on.