The technology for storing and protecting the scientific data of the ESA Space Rider mission, the automated robotic laboratory in the shape of a space shuttle, which will be launched with Vega-C in 2023, will be supplied by Sitael spa – the company space based in Mola di Bari and is a world leader in the small satellites sector – which has signed, with Thales Alenia Space Italia (a joint venture between Thales, 67%, and Leonardo, 33%), prime contractor for the mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), the contract for the development and supply of one of the key elements of Space Rider, the laboratory that will carry out scientific experiments in microgravity.
The control, processing, management and routing module on board the spacecraft will be highly integrated in a programmable device and will be reusable for at least 6 flights, in line with the reusability feature of Space Rider.
The new ESA space laboratory is in fact designed to remain in orbit for 60 days, at the end of which it will return to earth with its data and therefore be prepared for a new flight. During the stay in space, scientific research experiments in the pharmaceutical, biomedical, biological and physical fields will be carried out inside the hold of the Space Rider. In collaboration with the Italian SMEs Intelligentia and IngeniArs, Sitael – which belongs to the Angel group, an Italian holding world leader in the railway, aerospace, aeronautics and IoT markets – will develop the on-board memory (Mass Memory Unit), which will allow the storage of scientific data, coming from 10 different instruments operating on Space Rider, protecting them from the radiation and extreme temperatures that characterize the hostile space environment.
In terms of data protection from radiation, Sitael had already developed the first technology for ESA in 2016 by adopting the Can communication protocol (the same used in the automotive industry) and Cots (Commercial off the shelf) components. And even earlier it had supplied, again to ESA, processing and data management units with memory capacity and power units for missions such as Solar Orbiter, Juice, Gaia, Copernicus Sentinels.
Sitael is part of a European industrial consortium, led by Thales Alenia Space and Avio, which is developing the technologies to allow the maiden flight in 2023 and the contribution to Space Rider confirms the weight of the Apulian company in the development of products for space use. as recently confirmed by the ASI Platino project, in which he heads an Italian team for a fully electric multi-mission satellite platform.