Insert written by our AOCS & Satellite Configuration Engineer @Simone Piani about his involvement in the RODiO mission.
WHAT IS RODiO?
RODiO (Distributed Synthetic Aperture Earth Observation Radar on a Cluster of CubeSats with High-Tech Micropropellers for New Operational Services) is a mission part of the ALCOR programme promoted by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The mission is characterised by a highly innovative factor: it combines the potential of a sensor, distributed on several CubeSat platforms, with that of a bistatic radar, which uses an “illuminator of opportunity”. Indeed, the system consists of the so-called “illuminator”, i.e., a larger satellite with the function of transmitting light towards a certain area of the Earth, in formation with a cluster of a further 4 CubeSats (with a 16 U form factor).
While it is clear that the ultimate goal of the mission is Earth Observation, we must not forget all the corollary objectives as well. RODiO, for example, has also the aim to demonstrate the “rapid reconfiguration of the formation”, in addition to its function as a demonstration mission, RODiO will provide SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) data useful for commercial and scientific applications.
WHAT IS OUR CONTRIBUTION?
To successfully complete the MDR (Mission Definition Review) of RODiO mission, Apogeo Space has primarily focused on defining a preliminary platform configuration for RODiO satellites. This involved conducting a detailed trade-off analysis to identify the optimal configuration for the Rodio satellites. The goal was to effectively accommodate the propulsion units intended for on-board use and ensure the proper deployment and functionality of the radar SAR.
One of the most critical tasks undertaken by Apogeo Space was defining the main resource budgets of the satellite. These budgets included volume, mass, and power considerations.
In addition to selecting the configuration, Apogeo Space proposed a preliminary design for the Attitude Determination and Control Subsystem. This entailed selecting the appropriate attitude sensors, sizing the actuators, and simulating the effects of environmental perturbations that could impact the satellite’s motion. Over the past few months, Apogeo Space also explored various solutions for the design of the Electrical Power Subsystem. The objective was to meet the energy and power requirements of both the payloads and the rest of the platform.
Looking at the whole journey, we are proud to be part of this project and the team that makes it up. Looking forward to see the results!