ESA title
Enabling & Support

Sensing, I/O and instrumentation

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology / Onboard Computer and Data Handling

When a satellite is 36.000KM in orbit above the Earth, engineers need to obtain as much health data as possible from the satellite to have the possibility to diagnose issues and determine related solutions. As simple as the sensors could be, sensing is an integral part of building satellites and will continue to provide valuable data for years to come. A commercial telecommunication satellite will easily have more than 500 thermistors onboard, each of them providing temperature data of different critical areas of the structure or equipment. Recent developments in technologies have permitted space systems engineers to increase the accuracy of the measurements and to sometimes reduce the harness or the number of sensors altogether.