ESA backs Greek firms’ and universities’ CubeSats

cube sat greece

Seven CubeSat missions that demonstrate a variety of services including connectivity and secure communications are being developed by small and medium-sized companies and universities in Greece, following an open call and selection by ESA.

The initiative underpins efforts – led by ESA on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Digital Governance – to expand the nascent space industry in Greece, enabling the digital transformation of society while creating jobs and generating prosperity, as part of the nation’s EU-funded Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The seven CubeSat missions will demonstrate Greece’s capability to host multiple payloads in response to European and national needs. The missions primarily focus on secure connectivity, while also providing multipurpose services such as telecommunications and Earth observation. Most of them will use optical ground stations in Greece to track and communicate with the satellites.

A CubeSat mission called DUTHSat-2 will detect oil slicks and marine contamination, and monitor agriculture through soil moisture detection. The mission will demonstrate the use of an optical communications link and a telemetry and housekeeping unit. Led by the Democritus University of Thrace, the consortium includes the Athena Research Centre and two Greek companies: Space Asics and Prisma Electronics.

The EMTech project is a multiple CubeSat mission to capture Earth observation imagery that supports cartography, agriculture, forestry mapping and land use monitoring. It will validate in-orbit an optical communications link, a high-performance data processor and hardened microcontroller, and an analogue mixed signal library. Led by Athens-based EMTech Space, the consortium includes four Greek companies – Integrated Systems Development, Heron Engineering, Leo Space Photonics and Geosystems Hellas – as well as the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Hellenic Naval Academy, and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

The ERMIS mission is a multiple CubeSat mission to demonstrate an optical communications link, space-based 5G internet-of-things communications services, as well as hyperspectral Earth observation data to support precision agriculture. It is led by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, with subcontractors OQ Technology, the University of Patras, the University of the Aegean and the National Observatory of Athens.

A CubeSat mission called MICE-1 will track shipping in the Aegean Sea via automatic identification system signal reception and gather data from devices developed by Prisma Electronics to monitor and analyse maritime vessel operating parameters. It will be delivered in partnership between Prisma Electronics and the Democritus University of Thrace.

Optisat is a CubeSat mission to validate an optical communications link. It will also demonstrate the use of cognitive cloud computing in space and the implementation of the on-board processing for compression and cloud classification algorithms for multi and hyperspectral data. Led by remote sensing firm Planetek Hellas, the consortium comprises blockchain company BitRezus, Athens-based JNP Strategy and Consulting and the University of Piraeus Research Centre.

PeakSat is a CubeSat mission to demonstrate secure connectivity and validate space hardware and software developed in a partnership between the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Prisma Electronics.

The Phasma mission is a three CubeSat mission to fly in close proximity that will use radio-frequency signals to provide space-based situational awareness by monitoring terrestrial and satellite signals, led by the Libre Space Foundation.

Development is well underway, with design reviews due to be held over the summer and the final acceptance review prior to launch due within 18 months.

The CubeSat projects represent the first part of ESA’s Greek Connect Programme, which will include a dedicated satellite system providing secure connectivity for Greek national services, the set up of a state-of-the-art assembly integration and testing facility, and upgrades of existing optical ground and radio-frequency tracking stations in Greece.

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