A NewSpace Launch Revolution (01.2020)

Source: Satnews

QB-EXPRESS is a new IOD/IOV program developed by LandSpace and Spectrum Aerospace Group that makes space accessible for all.

Figure 1: LandSpace Assembly Integration and Test
(AIT) Facility.

Land Space Technology Corporation Ltd. is a Chinese private aerospace enterprise that is engaged in the R&D and operations of launch vehicles.

Focusing on the small and medium scale commercial aerospace application markets, Land Space is engaged in the development of Liquid-fuel Rocket Engines (LREs) and low-cost commercial launch vehicles. The company completes the highly-integrated design and innovation system capabilities and unit design, manufacture, test and delivery by a first-class technical team in order to provide the global market with standardized launch service solutions.

Land Space always considers the technical innovation and market-orientation as the core development task and is confident in becoming a highly beneficial adjunct of China Aerospace and to boost the company’s future developments.

Table 1: ZQ-2 Launcher Performance capabilities from JSLC
(Local Latitude 41 degrees)

Spectrum Aerospace Group
Spectrum Aerospace Group is a German-Peruvian company with head offices in Munich, Germany, and Lima, Peru and has already supported numerous smallsat missions.

The company has been approved by the Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation to provide innovative, state-of-the-art, technological solutions in commercial electronic components for space.

Spectrum’s highly skilled team optimizes the qualification (test) process for Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) parts and has introduced a new product named “Space-COTS,” due to the use of space-based industrial test procedures, that are cost efficient and include the latest generations of chip-technology. Consequently, there is higher performance than with most conventionally produced High Reliability (Hi-Rel) components.

Figure 2: JSLC facilities.

Spectrum Group promotes the NewSpace philosophy and organizes related projects and activities with the introduction of new technologies and viable solutions for space missions.

Landspace Facilities
Landspace operates from combined offices and factory production facilities located around China. The Administration and Research Center (ARC) that is located in Beijing employs a team of engineers and technicians. The company operates an assembly, integration and test facility located close to Huzhou city.

Table 2: JSLC SPF conditions.

Launch Site
There are two Chinese launch center available for Landspace satellite launches and the company is negotiating with additional sites to increase launch opportunities. The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) is the main launch site for the ZQ-2 rocket, with the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (WSLC) as the secondary launch site.

JSLC is equipped with a primary Spacecraft Processing Facility (SPF) for commercial ZQ-2 launch vehicles, and also equipped with a Vehicle Integration Facility (VIF), which is used to horizontally integrate and test the launch vehicle components and subsequently for Payload integration.

Following the completion of launch vehicle tests, the fairing, liquid propulsion attitude, orientation control system and payload attachment fitting will be transported to the SPF for payload mating and encapsulation. The final SC/LV integration will be conducted in the VIF.

Figure 3: ZQ-2 satellite launcher family

Figure 4: ZQ-2 launcher.

Ground Facilities
The Spacecraft Processing Facility (SPF) supports domestic as well as commercial launch vehicles.

The SPF has the following characteristics:

General Assembly Test Hall
This is a 18×36×22.9 meter cleanroom — the door of this hall room is 8×15.5 meters.

The SPF is maintained by a temperature of 20°±5°C. The relative humidity is kept between 35 and 55 percent. Class 100,000 cleanliness is maintained.

Figure 5: Mission Profile

Lifting Facility
In the SPF there is overhead crane that has a height of 18 meters and a carrying capacity of 3.2 tons. The vertical lifting speed is between 0.5 and 1 meter per minute. In the horizontal axis, the speed is 2 meters per minuted.

Power Supply and Grounding
The facility’s power supply provides 220 to 380V by 50 Hz. Sockets of 16 and 25 A can be used. An Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) is also available and has a capacity of 50kW.

Gas Supply
Three kind of gas can be supplied. Compressed air (23Mpa or 0.1-16 Mp, with a dew-point of -55°C), Nitrogen (23Mpa or 5Mpa) and high purity (99,998 percent) Nitrogen (23Mpa with a dew-point of -65°C).

Ground Segment
The Dashuli tracking station is located 36 km to the southwest of the South Launch Site. This is the telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) network that consists of several optical and radar tracking posts installed around the launch center. These facilities track the launched vehicles launched from this site using optical telescopes and radars.

The tracking station consists of radar, optical, communication, meteorology, and technical and logistic support systems. The control center of the station is equipped with more than 30 control consoles that display in real-time 120 sets of data which reveal the trajectory of the launch vehicle as well as the live status of the rocket and its cargo. The data is transmitted in real-time to the MCCC control center (

The ZQ-2 Launch Vehicle Family
ZhuQue-2 (ZQ-2) launcher family, independently developed by LandSpace, is the first Chinese LOX+LCH4 launcher series. Based on the general design concept of “One propellant combination; one universal launcher body diameter; two thrust-levels of engines”, the ZQ-2 liquid launcher series are designed with different launch capacities, from the capability of supporting tons to tens of tons via different design combinations to cover low, medium and high orbital launch capabilities. This includes a basic, 2-stage ZQ-2, and evolved versions of a 3-staged ZQ-2A with an enlarged fairing, ZQ-2B (with 2 add-on boosters to ZQ-2A), and ZQ-2C (with 4 add-on boosters to ZQ-2A)

Medium-scale, liquid propellant, commercial launch vehicle, developed by LandSpace; the maiden flight is scheduled to occur by the close of the year 2020.
The ZQ-2 is equipped with new, independently developed, LOX/LCH4 cryogenic LRE, making this the first Chinese launcher using those propellants.
Eco-friendly, the launch vehicle features low carbon emissions and is nontoxic and pollution-free.
There is low-dependency on the launch site and the ZQ-2 is adaptive to high-frequency commercial launches and will be fully capable as a reusable launcher in the future.

Table 4: Typical Separation Accuracy

Table 5: Injection Accuracy


ZQ-2 Technology
ZQ-2 is a two-stage liquid propellant (LOX+LCH4) launch vehicle with the capability of carrying up to a 1,800 kg. payload into 500 km. Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Table 6: Low Frequency Sine Vibration Scan Test Condition

The dimensions of the vehicle are 49.5 meters in length and 3.35 meters in diameter, with a lift-off mass of 216 tons.

The 1st stage is equipped with four, 67 ton, ground-thrust-level engines, while the 2nd stage is fitted with one engine with an 80 ton vacuum thrust. This engine is similar to the first stage engines — the only difference is in the nozzle expansion ratio that has been adapted for vacuum operations.

The 2nd stage is further assisted by four Vernier engines, each possessing a 2 ton vacuum thrust. The diameter of the payload fairing is 3.35 meters with a length of 8.24 meters. ZQ-2 launch vehicle general layout is detailed in the Figure 5.

Table 7: Payload Interface Random Vibration Levels

Typical Mission Profile
Figure 5 (upper right) provides an overview of the key events during a typical 500km SSO mission.

Spacecraft Injection Accuracy and Separation
The injection process has the characteristics as shown in Table 3 (to the left).

Environment Conditions for Payloads
The payload has to pass an acceptance qualification. In this process, the payload will be proofed to withstand the flight on the ZQ-2 without damaging other payloads.

Table 8: Shock Response Spectrum (Q=10)

The major stress during the flight will be generated from the launch vehicle vibrations. It must be guaranteed that the payload will not be destroyed during the launch.

Sine Vibration
Table 6 lists the experimental conditions for low frequencies sine vibration from 5Hz to 100Hz, which are used to simulate the transient and stationary random vibration of a launcher.

Table 9: Payload Acoustic Environment

Random Vibration
Table 7 above presents the test conditions of random vibration at high frequencies that range from 20 to 2000 Hz, which can be used to simulate the transient and stable random vibration of a rocket.

The impact experiment condition (shock response spectrum Q=10) is shown in Table 8 on the previous page. The response acceleration time history in three vertical directions at the bottom of the specimen must be measured during the test.

Acoustic condition is detailed in Table 9, also on the previous page.

The electromagnetic radiation for the radio equipment on the launch vehicle as well as the launch site cannot exceed the requirements that are shown in the Table10 below.

Internal Pressure
The fairing internal static pressure evolution during a nominal mission is depicted in the Figure 7 blow.

Center of Mass
The payload center of mass is important for rocket stability and must remain within specified limits to ensure the flight will be stable for a successfully mission.

The exact payload center of mass must be delivered before the start date.

The Safety Policy and Mission Assurance Process help to identify risk factors and any hazards. These must be identified and eliminated or properly mitigated. The customer is responsible for the compliance of the safety guidelines and must prepare the following documentation:

  • Identification of hazardous materials
  • Quantity of hazardous materials
  • Handling of risk factors during the integration and operation process

Table 10: EM radiation of the rocket and launch site

Customer Deliverables
To assure a smooth launch process, important information must be exchanged between the customer and the launch service provider. The customer must send the following documents during the launch campaign:

Payload Fairing
The Payload Fairing is an envelope with integrated separation control for the payload. The maximum diameter of the Payload Fairing is 3.3 meters with a height of 8.2 meters. The two shells are connected and unlocked by separation bolts in the horizontal and vertical directions.

The fairing provides an aerodynamic shape for the vehicle, bears the heat and vibration during the flight. The configuration and characteristics of the payload fairing are illustrated and summarized in the table above.

Figure 6: The curve of internal pressure of PLF

A wider fairing with 4.2 meter diameter is under development for greater payload flexibility and will be introduced on the upcoming ZQ-2A launch vehicle.

Payload Adapter
ZQ-2 offers a number of common industry mechanical interface adapters for payloads.

The Payload Attachment Fitting (PAF) is a standard adapter designed to interface with a 660 mm. clamp band separation system, which is detailed in Figure 7. Non-standard payloads can be accommodated using the clamp band separation system, which uses bolts and a mounting flange.

Maiden Flight
The maiden flight of the ZQ-2 is a demonstration flight with an SSO orbit with 500 km. altitude selected for this mission. The flight is planned for Q4 of 2020 or Q1 of 2021. The payload admission is open and satellites from 1 to 150 kg. will be accepted. Mainly smallsats will be launched in this flight. The major milestones of the project schedule are detailed in the Table 12.

Secondary Payload and QB-Express
With the maiden flight, the “QB-Express” Nanosatellite Program is open and, for future missions, the secondary payload will be announced as part of the “QB-Express” program.

Table 11: Deliverable Documents

The QB-Express program has the aim to make the access into space possible for SME’’s (Small Medium Enterprises) and individuals. Launch services are one of the most challenging issues for space projects for SME’s, universities and high schools. Many of these projects will never fly due to a lack of funding.

For individuals that wish to build their own smallsat, or to test their own hardware in space, launch services are almost impossible to book. The QB-Express program will offer such services for a fraction of the current range in launch prices. Additionally, the QB-Express program will start with its own community where the customers will automatically become members of this new space community and can benefit with a number of additional privileges as well as participate in future, exclusive missions.

Figure 7: ZQ -2 Payload Fairing

The QB-Express program will enhance the smallsat market and encourage the development and validation of new technologies for LEO, GEO and Deep Space missions. Flight heritage is the most important requirement for new space products but this enterprise demands regular flights with accessible prices.

Individuals have never considered for such market activities; however, now with QB-Express, new players will contribute to the development of new space technologies.

Small satellites are revolutionizing the space industry as such systems are less expensive and incorporate high performance components. Many kinds of experiments can be achieved with such systems.

Table 8: ZQ-2 Payload Fairing Technical Details

One restriction for such systems has been the use of COTS components that do not possess the adequate qualifications for space missions. The trend has been to use automotive parts; however, the qualification (AEC Standard) of automotive parts is different than the qualification necessary for space standards as the environments are clearly different. Furthermore, the product choice of automotive parts is limited because only automobile functionality is considered for the design of these integrated circuits.

Cubesat’s are the most used and standardized smallsat and its characteristics are well known in within the space community. For this reason, this genre of smallsat is an important consideration within the QB-Express program. The limitations of size and weight make the success of some experiments, or the design of electronics with more performance, difficult. This situation allows for the introduction of new and improved systems. In the QB-Express Maiden flight, a new smallsat will be introduced and validated that will alleviate those challenges.

Figure 9: 660 Type payload adaptor and satellite separation ring interface

Many experiments require bigger platforms where smallsats cannot comply with the needed requirements. The evolution of smallsats is slower due to their own intrinsic characteristics, such as size, weight, and so on. The QB-Express program aims to promote the use of more smallsats and encourage such projects to participate in this new QB-Express program that is part of the NewSpace revolution.

In the QB-Express plan is the regular launch of a maximum of 100 smallsats launched by the ZQ-2. Technically, it would be possible to launch 500 smallsats in a single campaign, making it possible to launch a constellation of smallsats simultaneously.

For larger satellites, standard payload adapters are available. Commercial cubesat containers can be also implemented. The QB-Express program has, in development, a new generation of smallsat deployers that will also be validated in space during the aforementioned maiden flight. For this development applies same philosophy; high quality at a lower price.

The acceptance qualification for the payloads have to comply with the requirements described previously in this article. The QB-Express program also offers the complete set of qualifications as a complementary service. The environmental qualifications can be included with the launch service and allows for an optimal and smooth process. This strategy is more efficient and save valuable time and money.

Table 12: Major milestones and Proposed Schedule

Future Flights
Exotic flights are being planned that will encourage the QB-Express community. This initiative will allow for the testing of electronics and materials in extreme environmental conditions, thereby promoting fast development of space technology. Additionally, this chance will be accessible for everyone, allowing for fair competition for launch services as well as assuring the development and advancement of the best technology without any undue political influence. A free market will fully support the space sector and speed up the progress of all space activities.


COTS For Smallsat Spatial Success (09.2016)

Source: Satnews

Space-COTS are Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components that have been qualified for space applications and that follow international standards. Thanks to a new industrial test concept, Space-COTS match small satellite mission requirements efficiently and offer the best Price/Quality ratio for space hardware manufacturing.

The space environment is surrounded by different physical phenomena and electronic space systems will be affected in one way or another. For a space mission, the environment must be well understood in order to avoid damages and malfunctions in onboard electronics.

The exact behavior of such physical phenomena in a specific space mission depends on the satellite’s orbit. The behavior can be accurately simulated with software tools and these results assist satellite developers in appropriately designing their systems.

In the space environment, the following physical phenomena can be found:

Atomic Oxygen
UV light break the O2 molecules in single Oxygen atoms. The atomic Oxygen is very reactive and erodes the surface of the satellite structure. This rust affects the thermal behavior of the structure and of the satellite. This is an important issue as spacecraft thermal control will be impacted.

The ionized gases generate electrostatic charges and load onto the surface of the satellite. The discharge of such loads can affect the operation of the satellite and of the instruments.

Radiation environment
A variety of effects belong to this phenomena. Gamma rays degrade the electronic components. Protons and heavy ions can literally destroy the electronics of the satellite or in the best case corrupt digital data.

Micrometeoroids and space debris
The most dangerous elements in the space environment are small artificial or natural bodies. The impact of a micrometeoroid or other space debris can damage or destroy the satellite. Such situations have already occurred and the consequence was spacecraft loss.

At the start of the space era, there were no space electronics available. Military electronic parts were up-screened for their use in space. In that process, complementary tests were achieved and those with the best results were selected for implementation in the mission.

In 1973, the Skylab hardware was manufactured using military components. After the qualification test, the hardware had to be improved several times due to malfunctions that were encountered during the qualification process. These improvements required the further investment of more than three million dollars to obtain system redundancy; new electronic components and further qualification campaigns were then additionally required.

The electronic systems of the first space shuttle mission (1981) were also based on military components. In order to increase the reliability of the system, most of them were built with sixfold redundancy. The valid data was verified using an elective process. The inclusion of redundant systems also meant an increase in weight and power consumption which, in turn, presented additional hardware and software challenges.

Due to the fact that these earlier military electronics were not good enough for space applications, and that the up-screening did not always improve the parts being considered, in the 60’s the systematic development of space electronics was initiated, as they had to meet or exceed high quality production process standards. In the US, military components were selected and then qualified after running additional tests. This strategy allowed for the reduction in production costs. As the demand for space components was, and is, minimal, the price of these units remains high.

Today, the qualification of a single component that follows the ESA or NASA standards implies an investment that starts from an expenditure of one million dollars and a certification time of approximately two years [1].

The experience gained over the last 60 years in many space missions and with different technologies has allowed organizations such as the ESA and NASA to develop sound qualification guidelines and standards. These are manuals to be followed and used for the qualification of electronic parts for space missions.

The standards defined by the ESA can be found in the European Space Components Information Exchange System (ESCIES) website (

A database of qualified electronic components, including their test reports, is also available at the ESCIES Website. (

The validation and qualification process is comprised of the hardware and device preparation (Device Under Test or DUT) to be tested, the execution of the test and then the evaluation of the results. The results are then published in a test report.

Depending on the mission, in some cases the screening of a few parts is not enough to guarantee the qualification of the entire system (e.g., radiation tests)—in other cases, the complete batch (outgassing) has to be tested.

During the tests, the relevant parameters of the devices will be characterized under space conditions. One important point for a successful qualification is to guarantee that the tested components were each produced using a similar manufacturing process—all of the qualified parts should be identical (geometry, size, materials, etc.) and, consequently, they then belong to the same batch. After the qualification, a test report and a datasheet will be generated containing the parameter values and limits relevant for the use of the electronic parts in space.

A full qualification of a component is quite laborious, requires a few years and demands a high financial investment. A full qualification is called a “Screening Test.” The following tests must be performed:

  • Electrical test
  • Seal test
  • Visual inspection
  • Mechanical shocks
  • Vibration test
  • Constant acceleration
  • Thermal test
  • Radiation test
  • High Temperature Stabilization Bake
  • Temperature cycling
  • Thermal Shock
  • Solderability

Following the ESA Standards that are described in the document “ECSS-Q-ST-60-13C_Space product assurance” three different classes are defined [2].

The difference between the classes depends of the depth of the qualification process. In summary, Class 1 represents a full qualification. Class 3 represents a light qualification, mainly radiation testing.

To show how a qualification test is conducted, here is a short description of the Total Ionizing Dose (TID) test:

  • Preparation of the DUT test boards. Here, two configurations (Bias Condition) are important. One is the “Off-Mode,” where all the pins are connected to ground.
  • The second one is the “On-Mode,” where the device is configured in a specific operating state but will be retained without function, such as in “Stand-by” mode. This mode means no signal will be processed during the test.

This two test configuration will be used for the irradiation of the DUTs. Cobalt-60 will be used as radiation source. During the irradiation, the DUTs will be characterized in time intervals with a tester (Automatic Test Equipment – ATE). The characterization results will show the degradation of the devices during the test. The degradation depends on the accumulated radiation dose. For example, the power consumption will increase the higher the radiation dose received. Upon completion of the test, it is possible to observe the variation of some electrical parameters and, in some cases, where a specific radiation dose results in the destruction of the device.

Over-Qualification? Are COTS Robust Enough?
ITAR components comply with severe requirements and offer high reliability for their usage in extreme environments. An ITAR component can have a radiation tolerance of 300 krad.

During an LEO mission, a total dose of 1 krad will be accumulated in one year [4]. In this case, the use of ITAR components does not match the mission requirements—ITAR components are over-qualified for LEO missions is a valid statement.

Problematic are the ITAR export restrictions. The export licensing process takes approximately six months to complete and there is no guarantee permission will be obtained in the final run. This is definitely a major problem for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and retards their business processes. Another disadvantage—the ITAR EEE parts are based on a robust, albeit old technology, and do not satisfy the latest high-tech electrical and functional levels.

Another important point is the price of ITAR components, which are high and financial obstacle for SMEs that wish to enter the space business but are not in possession of major capital resources.

Evolution Of An Era
The new space era began with the birth of smallsats. In February of 2000, Stanford University launched their OPAL smallsat. OPAL was the mothership for six picosatellites and demonstrated the feasibility of new space platforms for research experiments [5].

These new space platforms have been in use by many universities, research institutes and space companies for a variety of research missions, technology demos and validations as well as commercial services. In order to keep costs low, COTS components are being used. These components support the missions for a limited period of time. Now, however, the use of COTS components in space has experienced a rebirth [6].

Many institutions continue developing and launching smallsats that are built using COTS. Most of these missions never qualify the electronic components being used—there is trust that the pre-launch simulations are accurate and a certain amount of luck is required.

In the best case, the developing teams test the electronics. During this process, the electronic board will be irradiated with gamma rays and run with test software until errors appear. Should nothing untoward occur, the test will be considered as having passed.

This is not a professional way to develop space electronics. The standard procedure from the ESA and NASA for testing each component is the recommended method to implement in the design of electronics for space, especially as it is necessary to understand the behavior of all components under such harsh conditions.

Each component of the system should be tested in order to comply with mission requirements—the components must be selected prior to the implementation of the mission design. The uncertainty of not knowing the life expectancy of the electronics will slow the professional development of smallsats.

NewSpace is a term that relates to the emerging, private space industry.

This community is mainly comprised of space companies that are involved in the development of low-cost space technologies and the establishment of low-cost policies.

Through these efforts, space technology will become a mass market product and will be practically accessible to everyone [7]. An important note is that ITAR solutions currently do not match the NewSpace philosophy and, in consequence, new solutions must be found.

One of the most interesting parameters for devices in space is radiation robustness. This parameter cannot be found in commercial parts datasheets. All electronic components could certainly survive in space—but the questions becomes… for how long?

In the datasheet of a commercial component, the behavior of the electrical parameters under normal conditions (on the ground) will be assessed and the limits described. For instance, in a datasheet it is possible to read the Absolute Maximum Ratings such as the temperature limits, let say, from -10° C to +50° C. This doesn’t mean that under or above these limits the component will not function.

A test in a thermal-chamber will reveal the true limits of the component. This means the same components could be used for a broader temperature range than specified in the datasheet. In general, it is possible to see how robust an electronic component is by measuring its behavior under specific environment conditions.

The NewSpace philosophy and the approach described above are merged into the Space-COTS project and the emerging, private, space industry.

The Story Behind Space-COTS
The term—Space-COTS—and the concept were invented by Jaime Estela from the German/Peruvian company Spectrum Aerospace. The research work was completed with Martin Canales Romero and Avid Román-Gonzalez in support of smallsat projects in Europe and in South America. These projects have paid off in a deeper knowledge and understanding of smallsat technology and the technology’s requirements and constraints.

Furthermore, the experience of these three researchers corroborated the use of commercial electronics in the space business. Working for the German Aerospace Agency (DLR) in satellite projects, with close reference to the ESA standards, has resulted in an understanding of the long and expensive pathways required for the traditional qualification of EEE parts.

The DLR’ Standardization and EEE-Parts Division and the ESA Component Space Evaluation, as well as the Radiation Effects Section, all instructed the Spectrum Aerospace team in the concept and philosophy of the test procedures for EEE parts.

These experiences crystallized in the concept of Space-COTS finding the middle point between having no qualified parts whatsoever and fully qualified ITAR parts. Looking at smallsat history, many commercial parts can work in space for several years even though many were not designed for space applications.

Reliable, commercial EEE parts must be identified. In mid-2015, due to the participation in the Horizon-2020 program, a feasibility study was conducted, where author Jaime Estela evaluated the components used in different satellites and identified the most used parts.

The result of this study led to the first edition of the Space-COTS catalog, which will be soon be published in the community portal at The aim of this catalogue is to list the major qualities of active and passive electronic, electric, and electro-mechanic parts that cover almost all space mission needs.

Space-COTS will be tested and qualified in different levels, depending on the depth of the qualification as follow:

  • Class A: Full screening test
  • Class B: TID and SEE test
  • Class C: TID test

These classes follow the ESA/NASA Standards and also the new standards coming from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The more intensive the test, the higher the cost of the qualified devices and equipment. Regardless, this solution is much less expensive than for ITAR products. The Space-COTS catalogue is classified in component groups. Each group involves the same type of components. The following groups were defined:

  • Diodes
  • Bipolar
  • Transistors
  • FET
  • Power
  • Comparators
  • AC/DC converter
  • Voltage regulator
  • Voltage references
  • ADC/DAC converter
  • Logic devices
  • Drivers
  • Memories
  • Controllers
  • FPGAs
  • Sensors
  • Image sensors
  • Optoelectronic parts
  • And more…

The qualification of COTS inside one project, where one or few exemplars are needed, does not justify the qualification of each component as the test cost will considerably increase the project budget. Taking such into account, Spectrum Aerospace will achieve the qualification of representative numbers of COTS and will bring these into the space market at competitive pricing. Spectrum Aerospace has designed test environments that allow for the qualification of a large number amount of parts and within a short time period.

One important point to mention is that new generation components will be included within a short timeframe in the Space-COTS catalogue and this information will be quickly become available. Spectrum Aerospace identifies the best COTS, qualifies the product and then offers the product to the smallsat community at the best price possible.

The Smallsat Market
The market for smallsats is rapidly growing and new technical solutions and services are necessary to satisfy increasing demands. For the manufacturers of smallsat electronics, ITAR components are not the correct solution—Space-COTS could certainly fill this important role.

A similar case holds true for satellite launchers. Smallsat will never fly a space mission as long as there are no dedicated launch services available to push them into their required orbits. The piggyback solution is an emerging solution.

Forecast studies completed by the research company NSR indicate that more than 2.500 smallsats up to 100 kg will be launched within the next 10 years [10]. Another forecast by the Spacework predicts that from 2014 until
2020, three thousand small satellites (in weight up to 50 kg) will be launched [11]. In both forecasts, future satellite constellation were also considered. The use of constellations promises several benefits, such as:

  • A smaller number of satellites needed
  • Reduction of mission costs
  • Reduction in the number of launches and the size of the launcher
  • Higher performance due to availability of redundant satellites

More electronic parts will be required and Space-COTS will be able to satisfy this future demand, thanks to efficient qualification processes (quality assurance), competitive prices (cost reduction) and a broad portfolio.

Future Activities
Space-COTS represents the efficient investment of funding and provides each project with EEE parts that satisfy exact mission requirements, with attractive prices, with a corresponding quality level and, especially, without over-qualification.

In order to support the entrance of new solutions into the space field, new standards must be defined. The ISO organization began to treat this situation starting with the edition of new standards. On the ISO website under the term “Design Qualification and Acceptance Tests,” the defined standards related to the space field can be found.

The document related to the components qualification topic is the “Space Systems—Design Qualification and Acceptance Tests of Small-scale Satellite and Units Seeking Low-cost and Fast-Delivery.” Topics such as qualification test, acceptance test, retest, test plan, test report, test requirements, test levels and duration, Total Ionization Dose test, Single Event Effect test, Electrostatic Discharge test, Electromagnetic Compatibility test and others will be handled in this document [8]

New Methods For Qualification Tests
Looking into the future, Spectrum Aerospace is planning and coordinating technical solutions to improve the effectiveness of the qualification process via dedicated methods in order to reduce cost and time yet, all the while increasing quality.

Some of these selected technologies will be used soon and others will still require research activities to bring the technology to industrial standards. Spectrum Aerospace will continue this work and will regularly present the progress of these activities, especially as the evolution of Space-COTS is now underway.

The future of the space industry is in the hands of disruptive technologies which match smallsat mission requirements. Space-COTS is one of the disruptive technologies that will aid in the creation and expansion
of NewSpace.

[1] The history of space quality EEE parts in the United States,, Leon Hamiter, Components Technology Institute Inc., 904 Bob Wallace Ave., #117, Huntsville, Alabama 35801 USA.
[2] ECSS-Q-ST -60-13C_Space product assurance, ESA Requirements and Standards Division ESTEC, P.O. Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
[3] Spectrum Aerospace ESCIES Test Reports,,
[4] Extreme Environment Electronics, John D. Cressler & H. Alan Mantooth, CRC Press—Taylor & Francis Group.
[5] A rocky road to outer space,, Stanford Report, January 31, 2001.
[6] CubeSat: A new Generation of Picosatellitefor Education and Industry Low-Cost Space Experimentation, Mr. Hank Heidt, Prof. Jordi Puig-Suari, Prof. Augustus S. Moore, Prof. Shinichi Nakasuka, Prof. Robert J. Twiggs, 14TH Annual/USU Conference on Small Satellites.
[8] ISO—International Organization for Standardization, Space systems—Design Qualification and Acceptance Tests of Small-scale, Satellite and Units Seeking Low-cost and Fast-Delivery, Online document name: ISO_TC_20___SC_14_N_949.pdf.
[9] Assessment of sensor performance, C. Waldmann, M. Tamburri, R. D. Prien, and P. Fietzek, Ocean Sci., 6, 235 –245, 2010, www.ocean-, Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union..
[10] NANO AND MICROSATELLITE MARKETS Report, Northern Sky Research, LLC, One Mifflin Place, Suite 400, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.
[11] Small Satellite Market Observations 2015—Forecast, Dr. John Bradford, Spaceworks Enterprises Inc., 1040 Crown Pointe Parkway, Suite 950, Atlanta, Georgia 30338 USA.