Aalto-1 is the first Finnish nanosatellite project
Aalto-1 is a student satellite project, the first in Finland. The Aalto-1 project started in the beginning of 2010, when a group of students made a feasibility study of the satellite in the framework of the Space Technology special assignment course. Since then the project has created significant excitement among students and teachers alike. New teaching methods have been applied and a significant interdisciplinary co-operation network inside Aalto University has been created. The team has now members from five different departments of Aalto University. Additionally, a consortium of Finnish universities and space industry has been formed to support the satellite project and international relations with several foreign universities have been created.
The satellite project is coordinated by Department of Radio Science and Engineering and supported by Space Technology teaching. In the project participate also Aalto University Department of Automation and Systems Technology, Department of Communications and Networking, Department of Applied Mechanics and addittionally Department of Physics of University of Helsinki (HY), Department of Physics and Astronomy of University of Turku (UTU), VTT, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Aboa Space Research Oy, Oxford Instruments Analytical Oy and other Finnish companies. The consortium will expand in the future.
The feasibility study of the satellite have been made by Aalto University students during the spring semester 2010. The main requirement for the satellite was a realistic implementation of an innovative Finnish space instrument. The goal was achieved. Several excellent instruments were found and most of them are included in the proposed satellite. The Preliminary Design was finished in the end of 2011 and currently the team works towards Critical Design Review in next year.
Although the satellite is build according to student satellite concept, the scientific mission of the satellite is significant and contributes to space and space technology research in many areas.
Imaging Fabry-Perot spectrometer
VTT has developed a new concept based on the MEMS or Piezo actuated Fabry-Perot Interferometer to enable recording of 2D spatial images at the selected wavelength bands simultaneously and to reduce the size of the hyperspectral spectrometer to be compatible with light-weight UAV and small satellite platforms. In the spectrometer the multiple orders of the Fabry-Perot Interferometer are used at the same time matched to the sensitivities of the image sensor channels. For example in a Bayer pattern RGB sensor or in a three CCD video camera based on a wavelength separation prism there are different types of pixels for three wavelength channels. The operational wavelength range of the built prototypes can be tuned in the range 400 – 1100 nm and spectral resolution is in the range 5 – 10 nm @ FWHM. The hyperspectral imager records simultaneously a 2D image of the scene at three narrow wavelength bands determined by the selected three orders of the Fabry-Perot Interferometer which depend on the air gap between the mirrors of the Fabry-Perot Cavity. The air gap value is determined using a capacitive measurement and changed under closed loop control with three Piezo or MEMS actuators. The effective aperture the Fabry-Perot interferometer is 7 mm in diameter and the air gap can be controlled in the range 0.8 – 3.5 ¿m enabling the use of the wide range of interferometer orders.
The subsystem will be manufactured by VTT.
Electrostatic plasma brake
The electric solar wind sail is a space propulsion method, invented in Finland at FMI (htp://www.fmi.fi) . The electrostatic plasma brake is a variant of the concept which consists of a single gravity-stabilized tether intended to deorbiting a satellite, to avoid leaving it in orbit as space debris after the mission. The Electric Sail Experiment onboard Aalto-1 is intended (1) to demonstrate the deployment of a conducting thin multiline tether, (2) to measure the electrostatic force exerted on the tether by the ram flow of the ionospheric plasma in different positive and negative tether voltages and finally, if all goes well, (3) to bring down the satellite and so to demonstrate the usefulness of the plasma brake as a satellite deorbiting device.
The subsystem will be manufactured by consortium led by FMI .
Compact radiation monitor (University of Turku and University of Helsinki)
A novel readout concept of the radiation monitor instrument allows a light-weight, low-power detector design with large enough dynamic range to be useful in various radiation environments from low-Earth orbits to geosynchronous orbit. The main goal of the project is to demonstrate that the proposed concept, minimizing the amount of power-consuming and slow analog amplifier electronics, is suitable for space applications.
The subsystem will be manufactured by consortium led by University of Turku and University of Helsinki.
Satellite Bus development
Imaging Spectrometer development
Electrostatic Plasma Brake
Radiation Monitor development