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OPS-SAT is the world's first mission dedicated exclusively to testing innovative operations technology in orbit.
The space segment – the hardware and software that flies in space – consists of a relatively modest 30 x 10 x 10 cm nanosatellite, but to teams and systems on ground it precisely mimics a typical, much larger ESA satellite and is packed with powerful, reconfigurable electronics and software.
OPS-SAT will be controlled using some important new techniques, such as 'file-based operations' and 'mission operations services', and is designed so that numerous European companies or institutions can fly their own experiments in a realistic operational environment at a very low cost. The project completed the Critical Design Review phase in September 2016 and this will be followed by the first System Validation Test, in which the ground systems used to control the mission and the satellite itself will be connected for the first time. The satellite will be launched into a low-altitude, Sun-synchronous orbit in 2018.