This replica of ESA’s Ops-Sat was displayed at this month’s Agency Technology workshop.
The mini-satellite is made up of three standardised 10 x 10 x 10 cm CubeSat units with deployable solar panels on each side.
Ops-Sat is a technology demonstrator, although its purpose is not to evaluate experimental hardware but instead to test out radically new control systems and techniques.
In order to do this, experimental software will be uploaded to the satellite – which contains a computer 10 times more powerful than any current ESA spacecraft – each day, along with its ground system.
In effect, Ops-Sat, due for launch in 2017, will be a flying software lab. More than 100 companies and institutions from 17 European countries have registered experimental proposals to fly.