The NEMO (Nanosatellite for Earth Monitoring and Observation) bus is the next evolution to the Generic Nanosatellite Bus (GNB) technology and provides a foundation for future high-performance nanosatellites from the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL). The bus has a primary structure measuring 20 cm by 20 cm by 40 cm and is capable of peak power generation up to 80W. A minimum of 30W is available to the payload, which enables the bus to support a dedicated state-of-the-art high speed transmitter. The bus is designed with a total mass of 15 kg, 9 kg of which is dedicated to the payload. It can be configured for full three-axis control with up to 1 arcmin pointing stability. The first spacecraft to use this new bus technology is the NEMO-AM (Aerosol Monitoring) spacecraft, which is designed to perform multi-spectral observations in the visual band. The satellite will detect aerosol content in the atmosphere with a nominal equivalent ground resolution of 200 m. NEMO-AM is being built under a collaborative agreement between SFL and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
NEMO-AM carries an optical instrument capable of observing in the blue, green, and red visible bands in two polarizations and from multiple angles. The instrument also has optional observation capability in the short-wave infrared band. The SFL-designed optical instrument is capable of a ground sampled distance that is scalable from 40 m to 200 m and a ground swath of 129 km from an orbital altitude of 650 km. The mission is designed to cover an area of up to 80,000 square km each day. In addition to the standard NEMO bus components, NEMO-AM will add an instrument computer that will be capable of up to 400 Mbps data transfer.
ISRO is providing the scientific expertise and the science algorithm. The spacecraft will be controllable from both SFL in Toronto and ISRO ISTRAC facility, using SFL distributed ground station network technology.
In parallel with NEMO-AM, SFL is also developing an even higher resolution optical instrument that is compatible with the NEMO bus.