RUBIN-2 small-satellite sucessfully launched

OHB technologically advanced micro-satellite launched sucessfully

At 6:00 CET this evening, a Russian Dnepr rocket blasted off from Kazakhstan, successfully putting its six multinational payloads into orbit. Included on board was the RUBIN-2, a mini-satellite which the Bremen-based space company OHB-SYSTEM AG developed in conjunction with students at the Bremen College of Technology.

The RUBIN-2 will be performing six experiments in orbit aimed at advancing knowledge on interruption-free satellite tracking among other things. RUBIN-2 is the far more sophisticated free-flying successor to the BIRD RUBIN, which OHB-SYSTEM launched in July 2000 to gather key data on transferring data via the Internet and satellites.

Experiments on board

The core experiment to be carried out by the satellite concerns OHB RUBIN-2 communications box, which enables satellites to be tracked in orbit without any interruptions. Until now, it has only been possible to contact satellites while they fly over a ground station. What makes RUBIN-2 so special is that it can report key status parameters at all times on a near real-time basis. At the same time, it can accept real-time commands. With this advanced technology, it will be possible to control orbiting satellites more effectively and quickly in the future.

RUBIN-2 uses the ORBCOMM network comprising 30 satellites to ensure interruption-free communications with the earth. In this way, it is possible to transmit telegram-style messages. In order to send and receive longer reports, OHB-SYSTEM has additionally developed the SAFIR-M communications payload in conjunction with Arbeitskreis Amateurfunk in der Schule e.V. AATiS and students at the Pforzheim College of Technology.

SAFIR-M is a communications system for amateur radio users and students capable of storing and transmitting greater volumes of data such as voice mail. Whereas RUBIN-2 emits messages and receives commands in telegram style, SAFIR-M can store and transmit lengthier messages around the world. The system marks a continuation of the technology implemented in the SAFIR-1 and the SAFIR-2 communications satellite, which are already successfully orbiting in space for the OHB Group.

The Italian space company CARLO GAVAZZI SPACE is testing the controlling electronics systems for an ion drive for satellites on board Rubin-2. This entails a control system for electric thrusters in which the particles of an electromagnetic field are expelled at the speed of light to achieve a longer drive time. This new technology is particularly important for interplanetary missions as it will, for example, allow Mars to be reached more quickly. As well as this, the ionic drive is far more environmentally friendly and inexpensive as solar cells are used as a source of energy in space.

US company Eagle Pitcher is supplying Carlo Gavazzi Space, Milan, with a lithium battery for testing purposes. Although these small light cells have proven their merits in mobile communications, they have so far not been tested in space. So that more can be learnt about how this material behaves in gravity-free conditions, the battery will be powering the Italian experiments on board the satellite during the mission.

Carlo Gavazzi Space is also supplying a GPS receiver optimized for use on mini satellites. The less expensive and smaller version of the receiver will be tested on Rubin-2 to determine its viability in the future as a compact technology for use with mini-satellites. Similarly, inexpensive standard silicon cells will also be tested to determine their suitability for use in space.

OHB-System AG

OHB-System AG is a medium-sized systems provider belonging to the European OHB Technology AG group, which employs 277 people in the areas of telematics, space + security and satellite operations. OHB-System AG specializes in space + security applications. OHB-Systemós headquarters at the Bremen Technology Park are home to highly qualified scientists and engineers working on numerous prestigious national and international projects related to small satellites, manned space flight as well as security and reconnaissance technologies. The experience and knowledge gained from numerous orders as well as the fruitful collaboration with other.

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Günther Hörbst
Head of Corporate Communications

Manfred-Fuchs-Platz 2-4
28359 Bremen

Phone.: +49 421 2020-9438
Mobile: +49 171 1931041