One company taking ridesharing to a whole new level is GAUSS Srl (Group of Astrodynamics for the Use of Space Systems). GAUSS was spun out from Sapienza University of Rome’s School of Aerospace Engineering and has been involved in the development of microsatellites since the 1990s. Since 2012, it has been serving the space industry as a private company, utilising proprietary technology originally developed at the university, as well as making its own engineering advances. It also undertakes mission analysis for low Earth orbit (LEO), geostationary orbit (GEO) and interplanetary missions, as well as various ground-based monitoring operations.GAUSS aims to lower the financial investment levels that academic institutes and small businesses have to make to get involved in space-related projects. This led to the company introducing the UNISAT platform in 2013. UNISAT represented an industry first, as it allowed the in-orbit-release of third-party satellites. Several different UNISAT units have since been placed into orbit, with each of them subsequently deploying a series of CubeSats and PocketQubes for educational and scientific research usage. This form of ridesharing has led to 30-35 percent cost savings, compared to other launches. Academic institutes also don’t have to worry about preparing all the documentation for the launch agency, or purchasing their own deployment mechanism, as GAUSS can take care of this. They also have more control over the release timing, orientation and tracking of their pico/nano-satellite after release – with an accurate and safe deployment of each item into a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). With its latest UNISAT project, UNISAT-7, the GAUSS engineering team needed to increase the payload capacity, so that more pico/nano-satellites could be transported into space, and more room could be made for additional experimental instrumentation.
Read the full article in PBSI's September issue
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