PROBA2 is the second of ESA's 'PRoject for OnBoard Autonomy' spacecraft. It uses the same platform as PROBA-1 which has been operating in Sun-synchronous orbit since October 2001, mainly acquiring multi-spectral images of the Earth. Onboard PROBA2 are a suite of instruments demonstrating the use and feasibility of new, innovative technology, some of them with a scientific purpose.
In addition to demonstrating the usability and the technological readiness of innovative instruments and technologies, PROBA2 carries four experiments to observe the Sun and study space weather.
The spacecraft, weighing 130 kilograms, is a box-shaped structure with two deployable solar panels. The primary mechanical structure consists of three aluminum honeycomb panels arranged in a H configuration and a bottom panel that acts as the interface to the launch vehicle. PROBA2 is three-axis stabilized. The spacecraft attitude is controlled via reaction wheels.
|SWAP||Sun Watcher using APS detectors and image Processing - an extreme-ultraviolet telescope (SWAP) using new pixel sensor technology (APS), that measures the solar corona in a very narrow band.|
|LYRA||A Large Yield RAdiometer that monitors four selected ultraviolet bands.|
|DSLP||Dual Segmented Langmuir Probe to measure electron density and temperature in the background plasma of the Earth's magnetosphere.|
|TPMU||Thermal Plasma Measurement Unit to measure ion densities and composition.|
Technology Demonstration Experiments
Among the many demonstrators there are:
- a new type of lithium-ion battery, developed by SAFT (France)
- an advanced data and power management system, containing many new component technologies including the LEON processor developed by QinetiQ Spacenv (formerly Verhaert Space, Belgium)
- combined carbon-fibre and aluminium structural panels, developed by Apco Technologies SA (Switzerland)
- new models of reaction wheels from Dynacon (Canada), startrackers from DTU (Denmark) and GPS receivers from DLR (Germany)
- an upgraded telecommand system with a decoder largely implemented in software by STT-SystemTechnik GmbH (Germany)
- a digital Sun-sensor, developed by TNO (The Netherlands)
- a dual-frequency GPS receiver, developed by Alcatel Espace (France)
- a fibre-sensor system for monitoring temperatures and pressures around the spacecraft, developed by MPB Communications Inc. (Canada)
- a new startracker development being test-flown before use on the BepiColombo mission, developed by Galileo Avionica (Italy)
- a very high precision flux-gate magnetometer, developed by DTU (Denmark) and magnetometer technology experiments from Lusospace (Portugal) and ZARM TechnikAG (Germany)
- an experimental solar panel with a solar flux concentrator, developed by CSL (Belgium)
- a xenon gas propulsion system using resistojet thrusters and a solid-state nitrogen gas generator to pressurise the propellant tanks, developed by SSTL (United Kingdom) and Bradford (The Netherlands)
- an exploration micro-camera (X-CAM), developed by Micro-cameras & Space Exploration (Switzerland)
- new GNC algorithms developed by NGC (Canada)
PROBA2 was launched on a Rockot launcher on 2 November 2009 as a co-passenger to ESA's SMOS spacecraft. After the final release of the Breeze upper stage, PROBA2 flies in a Sun-synchronous, near polar orbit at an altitude of between 700 and 800 km.
Mission Operations Centre
The Mission Operations Centre (MOC) is located in Redu, Belgium. Redu antennas 3 and 4 as well as an antenna from Svalbard, Norway, are used for uplink and downlink passes in S-band. Typically, there are 9-10 passes per day available to download about 50 Mbytes of binary, compressed data.
PROBA2 Science Operations Centre
The PROBA2 Science Operations Centre (P2SC) is co-located with the Solar Influences Data Centre (SIDC) at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels.