Special Issue "Innovative Space Mission Analysis and Design for Space Sciences, Earth Observation, Global Change, Space Weather"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Pierre Rochus
Website
Guest Editor
Centre Spatial de Liège and Department of Space Instrumentation, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
Interests: space technologies; optics; structures; thermal design; structure dynamics; tribology; mission design; space sciences; Earth observation; astrodynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Space science research is having a major impact on our daily lives and can provide a solid framework for global cooperation. Recent advances in space science and technology are often enabled by the adoption of new technology. In some instances, this is where the technology has been invented, but more usually it is adopted from another scientific or industrial area of application. The adoption of new technology typically occurs via one of two processes. The more usual is incremental progress by a series of small improvements, but occasionally this process is disruptive, where a new technology completely replaces an older one.

Therefore, we invite papers either addressing these new technologies, new payloads, innovative design, thermal control developments, unconventional mission orbits, cluster of satellites, formation flying, innovative platform, or in the general area of innovative space mission design and analysis for space sciences (solar system, exoplanets, astrophysics, fundamental physics, plasma physics), earth observation, global change, space weather.

This Special Issue will focus on novel concepts, technologies necessary to enable new spacecraft or mission concepts with higher performances, higher power demand, lower mass and cost; this issue will also cover trends in commercial satellite remote sensing: better resolution, increased accuracy, more bandwidth, and greater coverage of the Earth—in far-shorter time from click to customer, disruptive technologies for remote sensing, super-spectral and hyperspectral payloads, the performance of sensors and the underlying technologies, significant improvements in such areas as miniaturization, power reduction. It will also focus on improving payload (radiometric and spectral parameters, spatial resolution, swath, polarization) and solutions for stable and large optomechanical elements and systems (e.g., lightweight telescope mirrors), new focal planes, improved wave front error, line of sight control, high performance actuators, on-board image processing, data fusion integration with new generation Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

New developments in astrophysics including future multi-messenger observations could also be covered.

Prof. Pierre Rochus
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

Instrumentation, instrument technologies, photometers; polarimeters; spectrographs; telescopes, lightweight telescope mirrors, radiometric and spectral parameters, spatial resolution, swath, multispectral filters, increased swath and resolution, technologies for super-spectral and hyperspectral imaging, innovative LiDAR, on-board data processing, adaptive optics, very high resolution optical EO for LEO, high resolution optical EO for GEO/HEO, detectors, materials, high performance actuators, integrated multi-instrument, on-board payload data processing, on board data/image optimization and compression, advanced SAR, new generation Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), better resolution, increased accuracy, more bandwidth, and greater coverage of the Earth - in far-shorter time from click to customer, unconventional mission orbits, cluster of satellites, formation flying, cislunar dynamics, earth quasi-satellites, disposal orbits, third body effect, lunar orbits, space weather, suitable vantage points (Lagrange 1 and 5, earth trailing orbit around the sun as well as on earth orbiting satellites), innovative platform, miniaturization, power reduction, more capabilities into smaller packages, constellations of small satellites, Cubesats and other small space platforms, Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), multi-messenger astrophysics, new windows to the universe, exoplanet, dark matter, dark energy, gravitational waves.

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Image Interpretability of nSight-1 Nanosatellite Imagery for Remote Sensing Applications
Aerospace 2020, 7(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7020019 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Nanosatellites are increasingly being used in space-related applications to demonstrate and test scientific capability and engineering ingenuity of space-borne instruments and for educational purposes due to their favourable low manufacturing costs, cheaper launch costs, and short development time. The use of CubeSat to [...] Read more.
Nanosatellites are increasingly being used in space-related applications to demonstrate and test scientific capability and engineering ingenuity of space-borne instruments and for educational purposes due to their favourable low manufacturing costs, cheaper launch costs, and short development time. The use of CubeSat to demonstrate earth imaging capability has also grown in the last two decades. In 2017, a South African company known as Space Commercial Services launched a low-orbit nanosatellite named nSight-1. The demonstration nanosatellite has three payloads that include a modular designed SCS Gecko imaging payload, FIPEX atmospheric science instrument developed by the University of Dresden and a Radiation mitigation VHDL coding experiment supplied by Nelson Mandela University. The Gecko imager has a swath width of 64 km and captures 30 m spatial resolution images using the red, green, and blue (RGB) spectral bands. The objective of this study was to assess the interpretability of nSight-1 in the spatial dimension using Landsat 8 as a reference and to recommend potential earth observation applications for the mission. A blind image spatial quality evaluator known as Blind/Referenceless Image Spatial Quality Evaluator (BRISQUE) was used to compute the image quality for nSight-1 and Landsat 8 imagery in the spatial domain and the National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS) method to quantify the interpretability of the images. A visual interpretation was used to propose some potential applications for the nSight1 images. The results indicate that Landsat 8 OLI images had significantly higher image quality scores and NIIRS results compared to nSight-1. Landsat 8 has a mean of 19.299 for the image quality score while nSight-1 achieved a mean of 25.873. Landsat 8 had NIIRS mean of 2.345 while nSight-1 had a mean of 1.622. The superior image quality and image interpretability of Landsat could be attributed for the mature optical design on the Landsat 8 satellite that is aimed for operational purposes. Landsat 8 has a GDS of 30-m compared to 32-m on nSight-1. The image degradation resulting from the lossy compression implemented on nSight-1 from 12-bit to 8-bit also has a negative impact on image visual quality and interpretability. Whereas it is evident that Landsat 8 has the better visual quality and NIIRS scores, the results also showed that nSight-1 are still very good if one considers that the categorical ratings consider that images to be of good to excellent quality and a NIIRS mean of 1.6 indicates that the images are interpretable. Our interpretation of the imagery shows that the data has considerable potential for use in geo-visualization and cartographic land use and land cover mapping applications. The image analysis also showed the capability of the nSight-1 sensor to capture features related to structural geology, geomorphology and topography quite prominently. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MeznSat—A 3U CubeSat for Monitoring Greenhouse Gases Using Short Wave Infra-Red Spectrometry: Mission Concept and Analysis
Aerospace 2019, 6(11), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6110118 - 31 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change and global warming are attributed to the increased levels of greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere. Miniature low-cost, lightweight instruments on-board low-cost nanosatellite platforms such as CubeSats could be used to provide precise measurements of greenhouse gases levels. CubeSats, which usually have [...] Read more.
Climate change and global warming are attributed to the increased levels of greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere. Miniature low-cost, lightweight instruments on-board low-cost nanosatellite platforms such as CubeSats could be used to provide precise measurements of greenhouse gases levels. CubeSats, which usually have a narrow field of view, cost a fraction of what more expensive satellites with wide swaths cost. MeznSat is a 3U CubeSat that will carry a shortwave infrared (SWIR) micro-spectrometer as its primary payload, with the aim of deriving greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere by making observations in the 1000–1650 nm wavelength region. The satellite, which is planned for launch in March 2020, is the result of a collaborative project between Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST) and the American University of Ras Al-Khaimah (AURAK) with a fund from the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAE-SA). The primary payload, Argus 2000, is a miniature, low-cost, space-qualified spectrometer that operates in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands. Argus 2000 is a ruggedized unit with a mass of less than 230 g and power consumption of less than 1 W. Also, the Argus 2000 has 0.15 degrees viewing angle and 15 mm fore-optics. The secondary payload will consist of a high definition (HD) camera that will allow post-processing to achieve the high geolocation accuracy required for the SWIR spectrometer data. The RGB combination of visible and SWIR bands setup makes MeznSat a unique CubeSat mission that will generate an interesting dataset to explore atmospheric correction algorithms, which employ SWIR data to process visible channels. This paper describes the mission feasibility, mission analysis, design, and status of MeznSat. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Implementation, and Operation of a Small Satellite Mission to Explore the Space Weather Effects in Leo
Aerospace 2019, 6(10), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace6100108 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Ten-Koh is a 23.5 kg, low-cost satellite developed to conduct space environment effects research in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Ten-Koh was developed primarily by students of the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) and launched on 29 October 2018 on-board HII-A rocket F40, as a [...] Read more.
Ten-Koh is a 23.5 kg, low-cost satellite developed to conduct space environment effects research in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Ten-Koh was developed primarily by students of the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) and launched on 29 October 2018 on-board HII-A rocket F40, as a piggyback payload of JAXA’s Greenhouse gas Observing Satellite (GOSAT-2). The satellite carries a double Langmuir probe, CMOS-based particle detectors and a Liulin spectrometer as main payloads. This paper reviews the design of the mission, specifies the exact hardware used, and outlines the implementation and operation phases of the project. This work is intended as a reference that other aspiring satellite developers may use to increase their chances of success. Such a reference is expected to be particularly useful to other university teams, which will likely face the same challenges as the Ten-Koh team at Kyutech. Various on-orbit failures of the satellite are also discussed here in order to help avoid them in future small spacecraft. Applicability of small satellites to conduct space-weather research is also illustrated on the Ten-Koh example, which carried out simultaneous measurements with JAXA’s ARASE satellite. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an L-Band SAR Microsatellite Antenna for Earth Observation
Aerospace 2018, 5(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace5040128 - 17 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
A compact synthetic aperture radar microsatellite antenna operating in the L-band is presented. To reduce size and weight of the small spaceborne SAR, we utilize a lightweight deployable parabolic mesh reflector and operate at low Earth orbital altitudes. The antenna is a wrap-rib [...] Read more.
A compact synthetic aperture radar microsatellite antenna operating in the L-band is presented. To reduce size and weight of the small spaceborne SAR, we utilize a lightweight deployable parabolic mesh reflector and operate at low Earth orbital altitudes. The antenna is a wrap-rib center-fed parabolic reflector with dedicated receiving and transmitting feeds. Antenna requirements are: gain better than 30 dBic, center frequency of 1.275 GHz with bandwidth of 28 MHz and circular polarization with axial ratio better than 3 dB. This work describes the development of a compact Circularly Polarized SAR L-band antenna system and the design considerations suitable for small spacecrafts. Simulation of the parabolic reflector and effects of different structural elements to the main radiation pattern were analyzed, which include ribs, struts, feed blockage, and mesh surface. A research model of the parabolic reflector was constructed, and the reflector surface verification was realized using two different approaches, a laser distance meter along ribs and the other using 3D scanning of the reflector surface. RMS errors wree 1.92 mm and 3.86 mm, respectively, both below required 4.55 mm of surface accuracy. Near-field antenna measurements of the deployable reflector mesh antenna was realized for final antenna validation, presenting good agreement with the simulation results. Future work comprises prototyping and testing of the full polarimetric feed assembly. Full article
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