Overview

The Faraday Phoenix mission, a re-flight of the original Faraday 1 satellite lost at launch, is part of In-Space MissionsFaraday programme. Co funded by ESA (European Space Agency) and the UK Space Agency, it enables multiple third-party payloads to ‘rideshare ’ on a single satellite platform, providing fast and low-cost access to space.

The Faraday Phoenix satellite carries multiple payloads, including the demonstration payload for Lacuna Space, which is developing a ground-breaking satellite IoT service; In-Space’s own Babel ultra-wideband technology to enable uploadable payloads directly to space on future missions; SatixFy Space Systems’ satcom technology, supporting up to 4Gbps of data transmission, and allowing companies to process large amounts of data in orbit; and the Airbus Prometheus 1 payload with a Software Defined Radio.

Challeges

Tight timescales

Like many other missions within the booming commercial satellite sector, the Faraday Phoenix had very tight project timescales, giving us less than six months for software development.

Multiple third party payloads

The Faraday Phoenix carries a large number of third-party payloads, including a host of software defined radios of various types. This significantly increases the number of required software interfaces and adds more complexity and risks to the mission.

Solutions

Tight timescales

The unique modular approach of our Flight Software Development Kit allows for the complex flight software to be built quickly and effectively, which means we were able to support the lead times and deliver our cutting-edge spacecraft technology promptly and efficiently.

Multiple third-party payloads

Using the inherent modularity of our flight software, we proposed a strong split between platform and payload elements. This split enables a near decoupling of platform and payload software work. Using this approach, platform software was completed earlier than payload software and thus provided a stable baseline for mission development and a mechanism for permitting relatively late stability in most payload requirements.

Outcome

The Faraday Phoenix satellite was successfully launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 30th June 2021.

The spacecraft is the first in the series of In-Space Missions’ Faraday launches which will include both dedicated customer missions and more payload rideshares launching approximately every six months from Q1 2022. It will offer space-based service providers faster access to orbit, which takes away many of the costs and complexities of a dedicated satellite. The Faraday Phoenix satellite successfully demonstrated and validated this service in orbit.