GHGSat-D (CLAIRE) Bus Commissioning Ahead of Schedule
TORONTO – 27 June 2016 – Only five days after launch, GHGSat-D (also known as “CLAIRE” – see Figure 1) is ahead of schedule in relation to on-orbit commissioning of the microsatellite bus. “We are very pleased that the microsatellite bus is fully functional, and that all subsystems are performing extremely well relative to their requirements,” says Cordell Grant, the SFL project manager for the mission, “This success has enabled GHGSat to start payload commissioning for its capability demonstration, which is an essential ingredient to commercialization of the results by GHGSat Inc.”
One of the key capabilities of the bus is to track targets on the ground which will enable direct observation of greenhouse gas emitters. GHGSat-D is now target tracking – a critical step to completing the commissioning of the payload, an advanced miniature hyperspectral SWIR imaging spectrometer. The microsatellite bus carries a star tracker that enables fine target tracking as required by the mission. The satellite uses SFL’s Modular Power System (MPS), a power distribution, regulation and control system that is scalable and can service 1W to 1kW missions. Several additional SFL satellites of various sizes that are scheduled for launch later this year are based upon the MPS as well.
At present, the satellite bus is fully commissioned and all that remains is the completion of payload commissioning and optimization of attitude control performance. SFL’s customer for the mission, GHGSat Inc. is well positioned to begin the demonstration mission. “SFL continues to exceed our expectations,” says Stephane Germain, President of GHGSat Inc. “The entire team at GHGSat is pleased with the performance of the bus so soon after launch, and we look forward to a long and successful demonstration mission.”
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SFL builds big performance into smaller, lower cost satellites. Small satellites built by SFL consistently push the performance envelope and disrupt the traditional cost paradigm. Satellites are built with advanced power systems, stringent attitude control and high-volume data capacity that are striking relative to the budget. SFL arranges launches globally and maintains a mission control center accessing ground stations worldwide. The pioneering and barrier breaking work of SFL is a key enabler to tomorrow’s cost aggressive satellite constellations.