Adjusting to the “New Space” Era: The Next Generation of Space Gyroscopes
Cielo Inertial Solutions, which has developed technologies for the space industry for the past 20 years, has developed a “light” version of its flagship product – the Starlight 1000 space gyroscope – called Starlight 10, which will be available for “New Space” markets. “We’ve implemented some innovative technologies and have miniaturized components from the original product to adjust performance and costs to customer requirements”, says Dr. Amit Brandes, VP of Business Development & Programs.
Satellites in outer space need to maintain their orientation in relation to the Earth and their orbit. The requirement for accurate directional orientation comes in part from the payloads installed on the satellite, so that they will function properly. For example, observation systems taking images of the Earth need to be oriented in the right direction of the required object. This is not an easy task with observation distances of hundreds of kilometers from Earth’s surface and an accuracy requirement of only a few dozen meters. To succeed in this task, satellites use gyroscopes. These devices measure the angular motion and angular orientation of the satellite and keep it in orbit.
Cielo has been developing inertial technologies and sensors for the past 20 years, with a focus on gyroscopes. Its flagship product for Space applications is the Starlight 1000, used by several operators of space satellites. The Starlight 1000 is a particularly high performance and expensive product that usually fit governments’ needs, but it is less adequate for private companies working in what is now called the “New Space”.
While the Legacy Space is an arena where only countries and governments operate their space programs, the New Space brings the mysteries of space to the commercial arena, where private companies engage in space exploration.