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Group Discussion Topics for the 6th UNISEC-Global Meeting

  1. Commercialization of ISS - How to open up the ISS utilization to the private sectors
  2. Open Source Virtual Satellite
  3. Follow up for BIRDS project
  4. Global Antenna Sharing Project
  5. Commersialisation of the Small Satellite Imagery
  6. Global University Space Debris Observation Network (GUSDON)
  7. Standardization of Electrical interface for Pico/Nano Satellites
  8. Eco-system Development of HEPTA-Sat
  9. Design and Implementation of a Space Mission Concept Database
  10. Balancing Reliability and Cost; Towards Fostering Greater Mission Assurance For University CubeSats Projects.

We still need a few more topics and moderators. Please contact UNISEC-Global Secretariat (secretariat(at)unisec-global.org) if you are interested in being a moderator of a group.
Please click here to see Group Discussion Procedure.

Group 1
Commercialization of ISS - How to open up the ISS utilization to the private sectors

Moderator: Ryuichi Sato, Space BD, Inc. and Hilde Stenuit, Space Applications Services
Assistant: Heloise Vertadier, ISU

The budget of the ISS operation after 2025 is still unclear among the participating governments. NASA and other national space agencies are considering re-directing their budgets to deep space exploration such as cislunar habitation plan. In amidst of this transition, there is an urgent need for further commercialization of the ISS in order to keep it sustainable. What kind of uses or services can be contributing to such a need? You can come up with any ideas utilizing external and/or internal platforms on ISS, and ideas shall be summarized with a tentative business plan(s).

Format: Case study - the group members discuss the business plan and make a presentation about their plan to commercialize the ISS post-2025

Target: Anyone who have the unique and ambitious mind for private-sector-driven space development, especially in the area of LEO.

Group 2
Open Source Virtual Satellite

Moderator: Satoshi Ikari, The University of Tokyo
Assistant: Katie Harris, ISU

Cubesats have opened a heavy door to access space activities for university students, venture companies, and developing countries. However, success rate of cubesats is not high, and there still are many people who cannot join space activities. In order to overcome these issues, we focus on software development for space systems in this group. For improvement of success rate, reuse of reliable software resources, peer reviewing of source codes and standardization of software testing environment are effective. To increase new space developers, a free virtual platform that can be executed on only a PC is required.
An idea of "open source virtual satellite platform" can provide these solutions for all space developers. The platform is constructed by three parts: "virtual universe" which simulates astrodynamics, "virtual satellite" which emulates spacecraft itself and components, and "virtual ground station" which emulates antenna, telemetry & command, and ground analysis software. An important point of the platform is seamless connection between the virtual world and real on-orbit satellites. On board software and ground station software tested in the platform can be used for real satellite systems without large scale modification. Because of the seamless connections, the platform is effective for software testing and educations. Since the platform is published as open source, new player can be easily join the activities, and peer reviewing by many developers can improve software. We believe that the platform is useful for both cubesat professionals and new space challengers.
Several universities are developing similar platforms, but they are not completed and published as open source yet. In this group, we want to discuss wide topic about the open source virtual satellite platform.

Group 3
Follow up for BIRDS project

Moderator: Mengu Cho, Kyushu Institute of Technology
Assistant: Sarah Halpin, ISU

The BIRDS project is a capacity building program ongoing at Kyushu Institute of Technology since 2015. The prime mission of BIRDS program is to "By successfully building and operating the first satellite of the country, make the first step toward indigenous space program". In 2017, five 1U CubeSats, BIRDS-I, were released from ISS. The countries who owned the satellites are Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria and Bangladesh. In 2018, three 1U CubeSat, BIRDS-2, owned by Bhutan, Malaysia, and Philippine, were released from ISS. For Ghana, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Bhutan, the BIRDS satellite became the first national satellite. The BIRDS project also has an aspect of graduate level education program especially for Japanese students to learn systems engineering via project-based-learning. BIRDS is a unique program at graduate level to foster the human resource in non-space faring countries as well as in developed countries like Japan.
In the group discussion, we will discuss how we can apply the BIRDS methodology to other institutions engaged in the capacity building activities and space engineering education as a sustainable capacity building and education program.

Group 4
Global Antenna Sharing Project

Moderator: Rustem Aslan, Istanbul Technical University
Assistant: Adi Rahamiomff, ISU

The Global Antenna Sharing Project initiated by Kyushu Institute of Technology, UNISEC-Japan in collaboration with Istanbul Technical University, UNISEC-Turkey, with support of InfoStellar, Japan. The main goal of this project is to help use Micro/Nano Satellites in more efficient way. This project will help less developed institutions to reach higher levels by sharing resources; increased usage time of expensive systems (ground stations), and overall, better use of systems are targeted.
The current state will be presented and discussion on how to proceed further with desired benefits to all involved will be carried out.

Group 5
Commersialisation of the Small Satellite Imagery

Moderator: Alice Pellegrino
Assistant: Abhishek Diggewadi, ISU

Despite that so many micro/cube satellites which are capable of capturing imagery of earth have been launched recently and are planned more in the future, there seem to be no mass civil applications for those imagery except national security purpose that requires much higher resolution of imagery.
There are some tangible applications for natural resources, weather observation/forecast, agricultural product and disaster monitoring/prevention etc. However these existing applications may not be a main driver to quadruple the satellite imagery market in the next 5 years
I would like to pick your brain and come up with some fresh ideas how we could develop satellite imagery market for civil purposes, how we could increase a number of customers who utilizes the imagery from small satellites and make them use the imagery data/information in their regular workflow through the discussion?
Developing and expanding the satellite imagery market, not only it will help to grow small satellite market much more quickly but also it inevitably will highlight the future requirement of small satellite for the design and development.

Group 6
Global University Space Debris Observation Network (GUSDON)

Moderator: Fabio Santoni, Sapienza University of Rome
Assistant: Kaluthantrige Don, ISU

Space debris is becoming a thread for future space missions. UNISEC is very active in spreading knowledge and making young students aware of this global thread, stimulating them to find solutions for a cleaner space (e.g. the Space Debris Mitigation Competition).
A very important activity in preserving the space environment is avoiding collisions in orbit, not only for the value of the functional spacecraft that is lost, but much more because of the enormous amount of new debris generated in the collision, which may become a thread impairing future use of space. Therefore, it is very important to educate young students to the constant monitoring of the space debris environment.
Many measurements of the same object are necessary for orbit determination. These can be achieved by single telescopes, but the accuracy of the overall orbit determination process is strongly limited by the relatively short arc of the orbit observable by single sites. If data gathered by a network of many telescopes are available, the global observation time, the number of objects tracked and the accuracy of the orbit determination would be greatly improved.

Several Universities around the world are active in space debris observation using telescopes. Basic, but still significant and useful measurements, can be obtained by using a quite affordable equipment suite.

The Sapienza Space Space Systems and Space Surveilance Laboratory (S5Lab), which has a long and extensive experience in space debris observation using telescopes and which is part of UNISEC, proposes the establishment of the UNISEC - Global University Space Debris Observation Network (GUSDON).

This group discussion aims at seeking ways of setting up the global university space debris observation network GUSDON, both at technical and managerial level. Topics such as observatory automation, data sharing, access to observation time in partner observatories, scheduling of requests are open issues to be discussed and preliminarily agreed upon.

The expected outcomes of the discussion consist mainly in

  • confirming shared interest among partners in this topic
  • outline the typical technical implementation of an observing site
  • outline possible organizational implementation

Group 7
Standardization of Electrical interface for Pico/Nano Satellites

Moderator: Oliver Ref
Assistant: Kuren M. Patel, ISU

The standardization of geometric dimensions led to the initial success of CubeSats, based on the well defined interface between launcher and payload. With more and more countries, companies and universities becoming part of the "CubeSat Community" in recent years, the demand for specification and standardization of the electrical interfaces is emerging. The widely utilized PC/104 approach is not well-defined and therefore interpreted differently among all users. This entails significant drawbacks regarding subsystem exchangeability and is therefore not very suitable and efficient in the pico-satellite context, especially in the education domain.

However, a well defined standardized electrical interface would shorten development time while increasing robustness and enable subsystem exchangeability between different partners. Especially Universities in joint projects could benefit a lot from such standards, allowing them to focus on their specific core competency without the need to reinvent the wheel. There have been first attempts towards an electrical interface definition. A standardized electrical interface for generic pico-satellites was promoted by UNISEC Europe and was first implemented in the UWE-3 mission, which accumulates excellent in-orbit experiences since November 2013. Together with the Birds-I and Birds-2 constellations, UWE-4, the NetSat Formation, TOM, QUBE and CloudCT, there are now more than 30 pico-satellites announced utilizing the UNISEC Europe CubeSat Interface Definition (CSID).

Within this group, related aspects of the electrical interface standardization and drawbacks of current approaches are discussed. Participants will be asked for their experience with CubeSat interfaces and comment on their requirements for a common standard. The long-term goal is to establish a UNISEC Global CubeSat Interface Definition. Therefore it should be examined, whether the UNISEC Europe CSID is a potential candidate to become a global UNISEC standard. This group is interesting for everyone related to CubeSat subsystem development - from industry partners, that are already years in business, to students, that are about to start their first CubeSat related project.

Group 8
Eco-system Development of HEPTA-Sat

Moderator: Stoil Ivanov, Sofia University and Masahiko Yamazaki, Nihon University
Assistant: Scott Ritter, ISU

The HEPTA-Sat (Hands-on Educational Program for Technical Advancement-Sat) training was designed as a way to introduce university students and even non-specialists to the design and functions of a satellite. During the training, the attendants must assemble and program a fully functional classroom satellite equipped with all basic subsystems - command and data handling, communications, power management and attitude determination. An original mission with clear objectives must be designed and presented during the final stage of the training. This educational approach proved to be very well accepted by the participants, because it demonstrates a good blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practice. The practical component is not always available for universities without their own satellites project and this is where the HEPTA-Sat can fill the gap. Even when the particular educational institution has its own satellite project, the access to it could be somewhat limited and coming with relatively high costs (components, special lab equipment time, supervising staff and others). Further developing and promoting the HEPTA-Sat training program could help such educational institutions to provide practical experience of its members (students, lecturers, specialists) at very low cost and practically without limit regarding the number of participants.

The main goal of this discussion group is to define and better understand the various components of the Eco-system around the HEPTA-Sat training such as HEPTA-Sat managing organization, Support organizations, Educational Institutions, Companies and others. Possible answers will be discussed of the following questions:

  • How the Eco-system components should interact with each other? (for example, financing models, integration with regular classes/programs at universities and colleges, etc.)
  • How to make the HEPTA-Sat training easily accessible by universities all over the world? (for example, online platform where different participants can post their code, hardware solutions, mission ideas...)
  • How to further develop the HEPTA-Sat so it becomes a more exhaustive program related to satellite design and exploitation? (for example, satellite communication protocol, orbital navigation, data transfer scheduling, etc.)
  • How to broaden the target group of the HEPTA-Sat training? (for example, to provide basic understanding of space technology to non-technical individuals who are involved in the space field as administrators, lawmakers and others)
  • This discussion group is meant for individuals who are interested in conducting the HEPTA-Sat training, its development, as well as its promotion and outreach.

    Group 9
    Design and Implementation of a Space Mission Concept Database

    Moderator: Tadadjeu Sokeng Ifriky, the University Space Centre of Montpellier
    Assistant: Eoin Tuohy, ISU

    This idea stems from the "there's an app for it" concept, where for the vast majority of functionalities one can think of, it is highly likely that someone has developed an app with that functionality.
    Since the start of the Mission Idea Contest (MIC) adventure, there have been a number of high quality mission concepts that have been submitted, many of which were published. These missions were adjudicated and selected by world renowned researchers, engineers and professionals, who also have knowledge of other international competitions similar to the MICs.
    A discussion is proposed on how a collaborative effort can be initiated to achieve the design and implementation of a database of nanosatellite mission concepts. With a border-line cheezy name sounding like "There is a concept for that mission", this database would be the Go-To place as first point of reference to look for a mission concept for any nanosatellite mission. It would be UNISEC's "gift to the nanosatellite world", open source, free to use for any nanosatellite community in the world. Missions added to this database would be finalist missions from MICs and similar competition to guarantee their quality. There would also be the possibility to enter mission concepts of nanosatellite missions which are either launched, under construction, or planned/funded.

    Group 10
    Balancing Reliability and Cost; Towards Fostering Greater Mission Assurance For University CubeSats Projects.

    Moderator: Taiwo Tejumola, International Space University
    Assistant: Marc Joseph Abi-Fadel, ISU

    The explosive growth of Nano-Satellites (1-50kg class satellites) has redefined access to space and also transforming and recreating development. It is becoming a preferred tool for a technological demonstration in universities and excellent entrant for developing nations sustainable space program. They particularly offer benefits that make them attractive for many mission profiles. When compared to traditional satellite missions these benefits can include shorter development times, lower costs, opportunities to be launch as piggyback and scalable missions. However, as the market continues to grow there is increased concern regarding reliability as pursuing lower cost sometimes jeopardizes reliability if this is not balanced. Nano-satellites have different sub-classifications, one of which is CubeSat. CubeSats have standardized geometric dimensions, but there is no such standard or recommendation on reliability requirements in terms of part selection, testing requirement for mission assurance and project management processes. The lack of standards and recommendations on how to balance reliability and project cost is a significant factor contributing to inconsistent CubeSat mission success and higher failure rates when compared to traditional larger satellites.

    This discussion group hopes to discuss what reliability is in the context of Nano-satellites and the driving factors. The group shall also peruse on the essential factors that drive satellite mission cost. At the end of the discussions, we shall posit how these essential factors can be balanced towards mission assurance for CubeSats.

    The target audiences for this discussion group are:

    • Industry that make satellite hardware.
    • Mid career space Engineers (Students)
    • Faculty members serving as mentors for university satellite projects.
    • Policy makers from developing countries who hope to use Nano-satellite as tools for accessing space and meeting national needs.
    • Start-ups interested in CubeSat development and hardware marketing.

6th UNISEC-Global Meeting



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