ADLER-2 - on the wings of an eagle
Following the successful ADLER-1 mission, ADLER-2 is the 2nd generation in-orbit space debris detector: Three instruments are onboard this 6U cubesat, scheduled for launch no earlier than mid-March 2023. This satellite will help increase debris detection and number of observations logged and carry a remote sensing payload allowing to study clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere. ADLER-2 is expected to help increase the debris detection rate by 80% thanks to use of a debris detection radar with larger antenna and increased detection range, and also to double the number of observations logged.
The rapid and substantial growth of space-based activity in recent decades presents us with many opportunities but also significant challenges. Space debris, and the increased risk of collisions between objects, is something we need to manage carefully and as a first step we need to improve our understanding of what is happening and when. The ADLER-2 will join the ADLER-1 in helping us better detect debris and understand what we need to do to solve this challenge. The projected operational lifetime of the satellite is at least 1 year in orbit, after that it will burn up as a shooting star in the upper atmosphere.
- Launch: 15Apr2023, on-board SpaceX/Falcon
- 6 U Cubesat, with a total mass of 11.6 kg
- Orbital altitude: ca 500 km, projected operational lifetime: 1+ year
- Mission: space debris detection and atmospheric sounding
ADLER-2 is a 20x10x30 cm small cubesat, based on the SPIRE Lemur-class satellites
ADLER-2 is the 2nd generation in-orbit space debris detector.
Findus Ventures (AT), SPIRE Global (US), Airphoton (US) and Austrian Space Forum collaborate in Austrian space debris detection initiative.
The ADLER-2 satellite
spreading its wings in 2023
This Austrian space debris detection initiative is a collaboration of Findus Ventures, SPIRE Global, Airphoton from the US and the Austrian Space Forum continuing the scientific lead on the debris data assessment. The data processing pipeline is provided by Tilebox. Weighing 11.6 kg, ADLER-2 will be a multi-payload satellite that uses Spire Global’s LEMUR 6U platform and will carry following payloads:
Austrian Particle Impact Detector
APID 2: hearing the the Dark
The APID-1 on the ADLER-1 platform was already a challenge. APID-2 is one step further: In a deployable 2-stage array, ceramic piezoelectric sensors sandwiched between diligently designed between glass fiber gab the challenge between surviving the harsh launch vibrations pertinent to a rocket launch, whilst being very sensitive to mechanical collisions of micrometer-sized particles of space debris hitting the sensor surface of several (tens) of kilometers per second. The challenge was to design a foldable sensor array that weighs less than 2 kg, but offers an impact surface of ca 5000 cm² – much larger, and more sensitive than the APID-1 predecessor which is based upon flexible foils (for ADLER-1, the technology for making ceramic sensors launch-vibration resistant was not developed back than).
The once a particle hits, a small voltage is generated, and the signal processed already on-board to reduce the data noise.
And yes… there is a meaning behind that enigmatic black & white pattern on the surface of the APID-2 sensor wings. But we won’t say why and what – well, until launch and orbital insertion :-).
GRASP AirPhoton Multi Angle Polarimeter
GAPMAP: Targeted particle air pollution sensing from space.
The GRASP (Generalized Retrieval of Aerosol and Surface Properties) AirPhoton Multi Angle Polarimeter (GAPMAP) is the first-of-its-kind commercial space instrument to characterize particle air pollution for affected cities and communities. Observing Earth scenes from space in three visible wavelengths, different view angles and multiple states of polarization, GAPMAP provides a wealth of information about the Earth’s surface and particles or cloud above the surface in the scene. GAPMAP data will undergo seamless processing to provide products that can be used by customers to evaluate the air pollution in their communities – identifying whether those particles are likely produced by industry or swept in from natural sources such as wildfire smoke or desert dust. GAPMAP will measure 15 to 60 times the information of traditional 3 color radiometric imagers.
GAPMAP-0 is a compact instrument hosted onboard ADLER-2 with a mass of ca 2 kg. It provides snap shots ca 1000 km across, with a pixel resolution of 2.5 to 5 km.