Last week was the starting point of GRBAlpha’s (the second satellite constructed in Slovakia) journey to the Earth orbit. The satellite left our homeland and is heading towards the stars. Its first stage was the air transfer to Moscow, where it was collected by GK Launch Services company, which will be in charge of its placement to the Earth orbit.
The satellite has been through more journeys during the last months. At the finalization stage, environmental tests are mandatory, as it’s necessary to examine the satellite’s compatibility with the launcher, as well as its resistance against significant external factors having a possible impact during the space rocket’s launch and flight.
"In comparison with the previous project, skCUBE, the situation has changed a lot. We were significantly limited by travel restrictions, as the GRBAlpha team is quite international. Business trips to Budapest were required since a part of the required tests were conducted at the Hungarian Astronomical Institute, Konkoly Observatory, which developed and is managing the satellite’s science experiment. The second part of the tests was conducted in Experimental Physics Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Košice, gamma-ray detector calibration was done at the Department of Nuclear and Subnuclear Physics, Faculty of Science UPJŠ, and calibration of onboard magnetometers was done at the Department of Aviation Technical Training, Faculty of Aviation TUKE," noted astrophysicist Norbert Werner, the scientific coordinator of GRBAlpha mission.
Another step within the project will be the satellite’s integration into the satellite deployer. The integration itself includes a check-up of the satellite’s condition, its functionality, and on-board battery charging. After that, the satellite is placed into the container alongside others and the blocking key is removed, also known as „Remove before flight“. Once all the satellites are inserted, the container is shut and secured. At that point, we have no control over the satellite anymore and it will leave the deployer once it reaches Earth orbit.
"Because proper manipulation must be ensured, the integration of space devices is done by those technicians, who constructed the actual device and carry the responsibility for it. It is, therefore, necessary to organize a trip to Moscow, so we are able to perform the integration," said Jakub Kapuš, CEO of Spacemanic.
Spacemanic is responsible for project management, mission design, and necessary satellite simulations. Spacemanic also built and integrated almost all the components, such as the electrical power system, solar panels, on-board computer and GPS receiver module, attitude sensor module, and passive magnetic stabilization system with necessary calibration. Spacemanic has also coordinated the payload development team and integrated the satellite into a 1U structure with great success. Spacemanic's team also developed the software for their components like OBC and GPS modules. Spacemanic also worked on the "ground segment", including project documentation and ground support equipment. Further, Spacemanic provided development and expertise on the ground radio station and took care of all necessary environmental testing connected to a satellite launch including necessary transportation and integration to the deployment system.