Latest Grenoble-made nano-satellite launched into space!

Innovation, Research
On the  January 14, 2022
STORK, SatRevolution's shared nano-satellite, containing the ThingSat payload ©SatRevolution
STORK, SatRevolution's shared nano-satellite, containing the ThingSat payload ©SatRevolution
The successful liftoff took place on 13 January, 2022. ThingSat is Université Grenoble Alpes Space Center's second nano-satellite project to be put into orbit (UGA/Grenoble INP - UGA). Its objective? To link "connected" objects in isolated areas (polar zones, oceans, deserts, tropical forests, etc.) by satellite at very low energy costs, for uses such as monitoring the climate and sensitive areas, preventing natural disasters or for companies with widely dispersed fleets of objects.
ThingSat is the second nano-satellite project initiated and coordinated by CSUG to take off for space (after AMICal Sat in September 2020). The launch took place on January 13, 2022 from Cape Canaveral (Florida, USA) at 4:25 p.m. French time on a Space X Falcon 9 launcher (Transporter 3 mission).

Developed in a very short time (one year), the ThingSat instrument (or payload) will be carried on board a shared nano-satellite (STORK) developed by the company SatRevolution and placed in a polar orbit at an altitude of about 500 km. This second launch confirms CSUG's ability to federate an ecosystem bringing together industrialists (SpaceAble, Air Liquide, Gorgy Timing, Galatea), and was made possible by the support of the UGA Foundation, the mobilization of students, notably from UGA and Grenoble INP-UGA (20 students worked on the ThingSat project for a total of 8,700 hours between 2020 and 2022) and scientific research actors (OSUG, LIG and CNRS[1], IMEP-LaHC, Univ. French Polynesia, Institut Polaire Paul-Emile Victor) around innovative nano-satellite projects to address scientific and societal challenges. It also confirms CSUG's intention to launch, on average, one nano-satellite per year.

ThingSat: a nanosatellite for the Internet of Things in isolated areas

The Internet of Things consists of connecting objects to the Internet to enable them to exchange information remotely, such as measurements or commands. Today, a large part of the world's surface (rural regions of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the polar regions or oceanic archipelagos) is not covered by any terrestrial network (2G/3G/4G, Wifi, etc.). However, these isolated regions need connectivity for a very wide range of applications such as monitoring isolated beacons, measuring environmental parameters to improve our understanding of the climate system (in a context of global change), preventing natural risks or organizing rescue operations.

ThingSat: an innovative nanosatellite for environmental monitoring

The aim of the ThingSat project is to design and validate robust, long-distance, low-energy consumption communication protocols (LoRa® technology) between a cubesat (a very small satellite carrying the RIOT open-source software) and objects on the ground, isolated from any terrestrial internet or electricity network. The project is particularly interested in the monitoring of isolated objects in polar zones, especially the temperature or height of glaciers (in partnership with the Paul-Emile Victor Polar Institute), the monitoring of isolated objects in the EEZ of French Polynesia (in cooperation with the University of French Polynesia), and the secure dissemination of time with the company Gorgy Timing.
 
[1] The CNRS provided financial support to the LIG of 20K€ for this project.
Published on  January 14, 2022
Updated on January 14, 2022