PEASSS Product tree

The technologies developed during this project will conform to the cube-sat standards, such that they can easily be used on future missions as well.  Figure 1 is a product tree for the nano-satellite to be developed within the PEASSS project. The boxes with the bold blue lines are the parts that are developed within this project, the boxes with the black lines are parts that are already available from other project. These parts are combined with the new developed parts to form the PEASSS Nano-Satellite.


PEASSS Product tree
PEASSS Product tree


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PEASSS – Overall Project Goal

The Overall Project Goal is To develop and test the following smart structures:

  • piezo actuated “smart panels” for pointing of optical instruments/sensors
  • piezo actuated “smart panels” for power harvesting
  • fiber bragg gratings for composite structure strain and temperature measurement
  • next generation of power conditioners for future applications in space missions.

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PEASSS Description of Work

The main objective of PEASSS can be translated into four sub-goals:

  1. Demonstration and qualification in space environment of a piezoelectric actuated "small structure" as a means of pointing an optical instrument, while correcting for thermal deformation and laying the groundwork for cancelling acoustic noise from the satellite, to achieve better accuracy than current technology, with lower mass, power use, and/or reaction time.
  2. Demonstration and qualification in space environment of a piezoelectric actuated "smart structure" as a means of power generation from the pyroelectric effect, capable of generating >1Wlm2.
  3. Demonstration and qualification in space environment of Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG's) combined with a miniaturized interrogator, in order to measure composite structure strain for structure actuation control and temperature with 0.3" accuracy.
  4. Demonstration and qualification in space environment of next generation power conditioning and data acquisition components for Nano-satellites by integrating new energy scavenging methods and accommodating distributed sensor networks and novel data gathering techniques.

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PEASSS Bread Boarding

The bread boarding of the hardware includes nanosat electronics, power generation, piezo-actuated structure and FBG sensors and interrogator. In the bread boarding phase the individual components is functionally tested. Also some Thermal Vacuum testing on very temperature sensitive components has been performed successfully.


thermal vacuum test on interrogator, including the model for thermal simulation.


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PEASSS Thermal Simulation

The CubeSat platform has been chosen due to its relatively low-cost simplicity, usage of COTS, standardized parts. For typical CubeSats missions, the space qualified parts or qualification campaigns for space applications are not affordable due to budget issues resulting in increased risks. Therefore design rules similar to those for “bigger” space projects have been applied, as qualification/acceptance test campaigns, trade-offs, mission scenarios analysis, thermal vacuum campaigns, including thermal modelling and simulation.

The thermal control subsystem, as one of the basic spacecraft subsystems, is responsible for providing appropriate thermal conditions within the satellite for the components to operate. These conditions are defined by the requirements of each component, e.g. typical electronics boards are able to operate between -20 and +70 °C. From a thermal point of view, the most demanding elements of PEASSS mission are the payload components, as these elements are mostly designed for on-ground applications and using COTS, without previous space heritage.


Payload    Components    Temperature  [°C]
    Min op Max op
Piezo-bench TNO Fine Sun Sensors -40.0 70.0
  Bimorphs 0.0 60.0
Power Generator PG assembly 0.0 60.0
Electronics -25.0 70.0
  Light-source 15.0 25.0

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PEASSS Flight Model

After successful conclusion of the vibration test for qualification of the PEASSS Nano-Satellite EQM Model, the consortium is now manufacturing the components for the Flight Model. After functional testing of the Flight Model components the assembly of the components and the testing of the software will start. Then  after successful testing of the software the integration will be performed. Finally after integration the environmental testing of the Nano-Satellite will start.

At this moment there are still two options for environmental testing: in Space or on earth. Which of the two options will be chosen depends on two matters: 1) The progress in building and testing the FM model and 2) the possibility to find an suitable launcher and launch date.