Work is underway on first Polish telecommunications satellite
Thorium Space and the European Space Agency are working on the first Polish telecommunications satellite. The SmallGEO device could be in orbit in five years.
In November, the Polish company Thorium Space S.A. joined HummingSAT - a partnership project of the European Space Agency (ESA). The programme that also includes, among others, the Swiss company SWISSto12, involves building small telecommunications satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO).
'We have been waiting for this moment for six years, since the launch of Thorium Space. These were years of hard work to enable us to build telecommunications satellites based entirely on Polish technological thought. We wanted it to be done by Polish engineers in cooperation with the Polish Space Agency,’ said Paweł Rymaszewski, founder and CEO of Thorium Space.
In the project, Thorium Space is responsible, among other things, for defining the entire mission, the design of the SmallGEO satellite and the development and construction of data payload.
The initial value of the project is estimated at EUR 75 million. ESA funding for the telecommunications payload designed and built by the company will amount to EUR 8 million in the first phase of the mission, which will last two years, and EUR 25 million in the next, three-year phase. Regarding the remaining funds needed for this purpose, Thorium Space is in talks with companies and institutions from several countries. If everything goes according to plan, the Polish telecommunications satellite could be launched into space in five years.
The SmallGEO satellite will weigh about a ton, which is many times less than older generation orbiters. The device may be used for military or government applications, but Thorium Space assumes that the first satellite launched into orbit will be commercial.
'The device and payload we are developing are the same regardless of their use. The satellite will have the full range of frequencies, including those used by NATO. The idea of this project is that we can change the configuration depending on the needs. We can do this many times, also when one client discontinues the use of the satellite and another client one appears,’ said Rymaszewski.
The satellite will operate for 15 years - that is the period for which the platform on which the device will be located can take fuel. Later, it will go from orbit to the cosmic 'satellite graveyard'. The deorbitation of SmallGEO will be carried out by SWISSto12.
Rymaszewski said: 'We want to reset the market, change the approach to how customers order satellites. Until now, when building a satellite, you had to know about 18 years in advance what would happen at the end. Our technology will probably not only make satellites several times cheaper, but also increase the flexibility of their use. We have managed to do it, and thanks to the European Space Agency we have found a small platform that will launch our product into geostationary orbit. We can now say that Poland and Polish companies are strongly entering space.’ (PAP)
PAP - Science in Poland, Anna Bugajska
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