MERLIN Frequency Reference Unit - C/D Contract


[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)

Successful test of ICARUS Antenna in Bodensee-Therme Konstanz

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) visits SpaceTech

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.

Wolfgang Pitz succeeds Bernhard Doll as SpaceTech CEO

SpaceTech is pleased to announce that, effective from 1st of July 2016, Wolfgang Pitz will be CEO, succeeding Bernhard Doll, founder and CEO of SpaceTech GmbH since 2004, leading the company growth from 2 to about 90 employees in 2016.

Bernhard Doll remains in the Board of Directors, reducing his worktime to 80 %, ensuring a smooth transition over the next years.

We are looking forward to a continuation to our successful partnerships with all existing and new customers, always providing the best value for money, focussing on the essentials necessary for timely delivery and reliable in-orbit operation.


(From left to right:) Wolfgang Pitz (CEO), Frank Gilles, Bernhard Doll



SpaceTech selected for delivery of JUICE RIME Antenna

2016 05 23 JUICE RIME

[image from]

On May 12, 2016, SpaceTech and Airbus have reached an agreement on the contract for the RIME Antenna delivery for the ESA science mission JUICE (RIME = Radar for Icy Moon Exploration; JUICE = Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer). The STI proposal stands out for the smart and light-weight technical solution and its cost-benefit ratio. The proposal features a deployable antenna design, made of CFRP, with a total of 6 hinges and a total length of 16 meters.

JUICE will be launched in 2022 and reach Jupiter after one Venus swing-by-manoeuvre and multiple Earth swing-by-manoeuvres. Eventually, it will explore Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. The RIME payload is a radar instrument which allows for analysis deep below of a moon’s icy surface up to depths of 9 km. Scientists are expecting to gain pioneering insights to the geological and geo-physical structure of Jupiter’s moons.

2016 05 23 JUICE RIME Antenna Proposal