28 May 2024


Engineering, News, Space

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  • Starion is enhancing its ASTRAL ground segment tool suite to automate satellite fleet monitoring and operations in a project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).
  • The C2SOS project will deliver a new configurable dashboard – ASTRAL-Dash – and a new version of the ASTRAL-Deploy allowing scalable multi-satellite deployments of EGS-CC.
  • C2SOS will support fleets and constellations and provide the first fleet monitoring and control dashboard based on EGS-CC.

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In a 14-month project for ESA, Starion UK Ltd is developing two components within the ASTRAL satellite ground segment solution to enhance provision of spacecraft ‘operations as a service’. Outputs of the ‘C2SOS: Monitoring and Control of Constellations and Fleets of Satellites’ project will include a configurable dashboard and ASTRAL-Deploy to demonstrate how the European Ground Systems – Common Core (EGS-CC) system can be used for monitoring and control of multiple spacecraft within a constellation or fleet.

One objective of C2SOS is to develop a configurable dashboard to provide an overview of the status of a fleet or constellation of satellites: this will become the ASTRAL-Dash component within Starion’s modular ASTRAL tool suite.

The Starion team will also be focusing on enabling EGS-CC to support multiple, diverse spacecraft, essential for fleet and constellation operations.

Alastair Pidgeon, Principal Solution Architect from Starion UK, said: “The overall aim of this activity is to make constellation operations more easily accessible, reliable and affordable, supported by a ‘systems of systems’ where EGS-CC interacts with other ground data systems as well as external providers.

“For ESA there are a number of benefits, including showing that EGS-CC can support fleets and constellations, and providing the first demonstration of a configurable fleet dashboard based on EGS-CC for monitoring and control. For Starion, using EGS-CC as the core of our ASTRAL-Control component and adding the ASTRAL-Dash component will enable operators to use ASTRAL to support whole fleets and constellations of spacecraft rather than single satellites, with full situational awareness. Other components in ASTRAL already support multiple spacecraft, so this will enable the full suite to do so. During the project, our team will also refine ASTRAL-Deploy to streamline deployment, including a cloud-native option.”

C2SOS is part of the ‘Preparation of Enabling Space Technologies and Building Blocks’ Framework under the Agency’s General Support Technology Programme (GSTP). Such activities are designed to prepare and to develop enabling capabilities and the associated building blocks for space-related systems and sub-systems, and provide industry with a stronger foundation to contribute to new space-related system opportunities.

C2SOS focuses on the needs of operators of constellations and fleets of satellites, which are similar but not identical. Constellations such as Starlink and Galileo involve multiple spacecraft with similar orbits and a similar mission, and which may be identical or different generations with diverse capabilities. A ‘fleet’ comprises spacecraft that may be operated in a common manner but have different orbits and missions, and function independently of each other; fleet operators include ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) and EUMETSAT. In constellations there may be tens, hundreds or thousands of spacecraft, whereas fleets typically number in the tens.

Main image © ESA – P. Carril