Five French companies are responsible for the development of the new 12U spacecraft bus called Angels.
In recent years, the nanosatellite and cubesat market has seen spectacular growth. New small-form-factor technologies fueled this. Initially driven by universities as a means of providing practical tools to train future engineers and scientists, today these developments are catering for a broad palette of science, technology and commercial missions.
In response, the French space organization CNES (Centre National d’ Études Spatiales) and French space company Hemeria decided to join forces in developing a new 12U spacecraft bus called Angels. In the end, five French companies developed Angels. On December 18, 2019, they launched Angels, the first industrial nanosatellite, from the French space base in Kourou. It embarked an Argos payload, which in earlier days made it possible to study oceans and climate. With Angels, the ARGOS satellite location and data collection system gets a second life.
The goal was to support the French industry and spur a new space sector with a modular, effective and low-cost nanosatellite bus in record time. To this end, Hemeria designed the bus and develop an in-orbit demonstrator along with the ground systems for the test and operations phases. The project got underway in 2017 and the demonstrator—dubbed ANGELS. This stands for Argos Neo on a Generic Economical and Light Satellite. It validated the concept in a representative space environment. This demonstrator features a number of systems from the Newspace Factory group. In fact, these French companies developed Angels.
Hemeria is an SME active in the two critical domains of space and France’s submarine nuclear deterrence. It is playing an active role shaping the future of space, notably through its line of nanosatellites. Work on development through to final assembly of the Angels nanosatellite was carried out in Hemeria’s facility in Toulouse by a Hemeria-CNES integrated project team.
The patch antennas come from Anywaves. Anywaves is a spin-off from CNES and the first European start-up to emerge as a pure play antenna supplier for New Space. With its S-band TTC antennas from Anywaves, ANGELS sent its first signal back to Earth and connected the nanosatellite to assure its successful operation for years to come. Anywaves’ ambition is to become the leader in small-form-factor antennas for New Space and critical systems.
CS Group developed the flight and ground software. For the ANGELS mission, CS Group developed an innovative and economical ground control segment optimized for nanosatellites. Called CS NANO, this product is configurable and reusable for all types of nanosatellites and constellations. CS Group is also contributing its expertise to assist integration and operation of the software on Angels.
in partnership with CNES, Electronics firm EREMS developed a radiation-hardened power conditioning and distribution unit. It’s called PCDU NANO. EREMS built this around a modular architecture geared towards the needs of nanosatellites in the 6U-to-27U class. Also, EREMS developed the embedded software based on an innovative algorithm that optimizes distribution of power from solar panels and the battery. In effect, the first flight model is on the ANGELS mission.
Mecano ID was responsible for mechanical expertise, especially mechanical and thermal engineering, as well as environmental testing of the satellite on behalf of Hemeria. Also, Mecano ID carried out fabrication and environmental testing of the S-band antennas for Anywaves.