Technological Research

One of the core activities of ESEP is to support the development of new space instrumentation that can be used on future space missions to a Technology Readiness Level 5 (TRL 5). It is at this stage that instruments are considered for flight by space agencies. For reasons of risk management, flight-proved technologies are often chosen by space agencies over newer untested technologies. The goals set for ESEP is to combine the complementary know-how that exists among the nine participating laboratories to further ideas for new and more daring technologies, with a strong focus on the development of nano satellites.

To concretise such projects ESEP provides support through human resources as well as material means in the form of physical space and equipment.

The human resources are the PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and engineers financed through ESEP, as well as consultation by specialists from the nine participating laboratories.

The physical space is a dedicated computer room for nano satellite space mission design (PROMESS) and a clean room for cube satellite integration and testing (testPOD3U). Both these spaces are located at the Paris Observatory at Meudon.

Among the nano satellite projects under study are:

- BIRDY-1: technology demonstrator for autonomous cubesat navigation (video);

- CIRCUS: 3U-cubesat for testing technology to measure ionospheric plasma properties in situ (video);

- NANOPOD: cubsat for evaluating and managing the electrical potentials on nanosats (video);

- OGMS-SA: 6U-cubesat for measuring the chemical evolution of materials in space (video);

- PICSAT: 3U-cubesat devoted to observing the transit of planet ß-Pictoris B in front of its star (video).

The technological R&D activity is organised by means of a Space Research Campus (C2ERES) in collaboration with the Master studies programme for Astronomical and Space-based Systems Engineering (OSAE).

An international scientific conference is being organised for 2018. Planetary exploration by cube satellites is the theme of the conference.