GOMX-3 was launched in collaboration with ESA and exceeded all expectations
It set out to demonstrate attitude control, downlink to ground station and antenna; and SATCOM spot-beam monitoring. and was later expanded to develop and demonstrate new capabilities incl. deployment of a new set of ADCS algorithms.
The nominal mission was completed with all objectives met after less than three months in orbit including successful demonstration of the following capabilities:
- Agile 3-axis attitude control with 1 degree pointing accuracy - changing attitude up to 7 times per orbit and tracking targets
- 3MBPS downlink to ESA ground station in Kourou and CNES antenna in Toulouse with Syrlinks
- SATCOM spot-beam characterization using the Software Defined Radio payload
- World-wide acquisition of aircraft signals by reception of the so-called ADS-B transponder signal (read story)
However, operations did not end after the completed nominal mission, but together with ESA and other partners, we continued to adapt the mission to develop and demonstrate new capabilities, including:
- Our engineering team deployed a new set of ADCS algorithms through an in-orbit software update to help manage aerodynamic drag for the mission resulting in extending the mission life in very low-earth orbit with 4-6 months.
- Together with Flightradar24 and Airbus Defence and Space, we performed live-tracking of aircrafts over the North-Atlantic integrating directly into FR24 infrastructure.
- Together with the UK Meteorology Office and ESA, we recorded the on-board ADS-B receiver on GOMX-3 to capture wind data from flights. These results were presented at the Technical Conference on Meteorological and Environmental Instruments of Methods of Observation (CIMO TECO, 2016).
The satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after one year in full operation and while GOMX-3 will be missed, we now focus on the projects that the succesful demonstrations with the satellite helped bring to the company, and the lessons learned from the mission are now being implemented across our product and project portfolio.
A success in terms of planning, speed of development and technical achievements
- Roger Walker, ESA