Fascinated by innovative space technology? Click here to have a look at the European Space Agency’s interesting article on Proba-3.
According to the ESA’s website, “Proba-3 is the world’s first precision formation flying mission. A pair of satellites will fly together maintaining a fixed configuration as a ‘large rigid structure’ in space to prove formation flying technologies.”
Neptec is developing the sensors that allow precise alignment of the two spacecraft , this technology builds on innovative techniques Neptec developed for the Canadian Space Agency’s contribution to the JAXA Astro-H mission. Neptec’s HAMS (Hi-Accuracy Measurement System for precise formation flying) is responsible for measuring the relative position of the two satellites to micrometer accuracy so that they are effectively flying joined to each other, even though there is no physical connection.
It is expected that this technology will allow smaller satellites to be launched from earth independently and then joined in space to form larger structures or platforms such as large telescopes. We also expect to exploit potential terrestrial applications for this technology.