Two Singapore NewSpace startups, Aliena and NuSpace, are planning to build and demonstrate an integrated avionic suite to be used for a constellation management system targeting the nanosatellite market.
The demonstration mission will take the form of a 3U cubesat, NuX-1, planned for launch in the first quarter 2021. The cubesat will demonstrate autonomous orbit control maneuvers comprising Aliena’s ultra-low power miniature Hall-thruster – a first for cubesats of that size – as well as NuSpace’s Attitude Determination & Control Systems (ADCS) that comes equipped with an autonomous orbit control system. The cubesat will also carry an IoT payload by NuSpace, which NuSpace will test for its planned IoT constellation.
The collaboration will see the two companies, both spin-offs from research done by the National University of Singapore (NuSpace) and Nanyang Technological University (Aliena), addressing the upcoming demands for large constellations. With their integrated avionic suite, Aliena and NuSpace hope to bring down the manpower requirements and operation costs of conventional constellation management. Also, with such a system, they aim to reduce the lead-time for traditional non-space-faring industries to rapidly deploy space-borne assets.
Both new companies, Aliena and NuSpace are working towards developing commercial indegenious capabilities, which they believe is key to growing the local space ecosystem. To this end, NuSpace plans to roll out a Space IoT network covering the equatorial belt as a first priority before expanding to global coverage.
Aliena, meanwhile, aims to provide turn-key solutions for satellites and spacecraft through customized engines, which will incorporate its proprietary ultra-low power electric propulsion systems, along with other products that aspire to translate fundamental physics concepts into commercially viable solutions. Aliena is currently expanding operations to commission an integrated space environment simulator, and jet propulsion test facility at a fully-owned private aerospace hub at Changi, Singapore.