Beyond Gravity: Key supplier for constellations

by
Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG Space) is a key supplier to satellite constellations. New Space and commercial customers trust in Beyond Gravity for the deployment of satellites into space as well as for controlling, positioning and thermal protection of satellites in orbit.
“Commercial and New Space customers trust in us for the deployment of satellites into space as well as for controlling, positioning and thermal protection of satellites in orbit,” says Anders Linder, head of the global satellites business at Beyond Gravity.

High quality, low-cost and on-time delivery for high volumes – that is what is needed for constellations of hundreds or thousands of satellites. Beyond Gravity has the capabilities that match these needs. Commercial and New Space customers trust in Beyond Gravity products for the safe deployment of satellites in space as well as for controlling, positioning and thermal protection of satellites in orbit. The international space supplier, headquartered in Switzerland, has manufacturing facilities in six countries, capable of producing high volumes while promoting lean operations and automated processes.

More than 1’100 satellites placed into orbit

Dispensers and separation systems from Beyond Gravity have successfully placed more than 1’100 satellites into orbit. Building on 40 years of experience Beyond Gravity’s separation systems ensure that the satellite and launch vehicle remain securely connected during the tough journey into space, and then precisely deliver the valuable payloads into orbit.

Large number in short time

“Our dispenser systems are especially suitable for spacecraft constellations, where a large number of satellites need to be placed in orbit in a short time frame,” says Holger Wentscher, head of the launcher business of Beyond Gravity. The dispensers successfully placed all currently 428 internet satellites in orbit of the OneWeb constellation as well as the satellites of the European navigation constellation Galileo, the TerraBella Earth observation satellite constellation and the Canadian Radarsat constellation.

As of 2023 Beyond Gravity will have doubled its production capacity of satellite dispensers in Linköping, Sweden. In a new facility Beyond Gravity will produce the dispensers for more than 3’000 internet satellites for Project Kuiper, an Amazon initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit.

Central satellite computer: Highly reliable, low-cost and short lead time

Beyond Gravity’s Constellation On Board Computer (cOBC) is a computer entirely based on commercial components to enable high performance and short lead times at an affordable price, still delivering the high reliability Beyond Gravity is well known for. “With this product we provide a high-quality, highly reliable and cost-effective solution tailored to high-volume applications,” explains Anders Linder, head of the global satellites business at Beyond Gravity. The computer is also available to low volume applications.

Beyond Gravity’s Constellation On Board Computer provides a high-quality, highly reliable and cost-effective solution tailored to high-volume applications.

Computer with many functions, stand-alone GNSS receiver

The Constellation On Board Computer (cOBC) provides a host of functions, otherwise implemented by many units, including on-board processing, GNSS receiver, ground communication and both platform and payload interfaces. The computer is fully redundant and offers flight proven fault detection, isolation, and recovery (FDIR) as well as radiation mitigation to provide a highly reliable solution. The cOBC can be used for different orbits, like LEO, MEO, GEO and beyond. The integrated navigation receiver (NavRIX Integral) implements very accurate position determination (down to 1 meter). A stand-alone NewSpace GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver (NavRIX PinPoint) with enhanced navigation performance (centimetre accuracy) will be available soon.

Thermal insulation and structures

More than 500 satellites in orbit, among them constellations like OneWeb, Galileo or Iridium, are protected by thermal insulation from Beyond Gravity from cold and heat in space. This highly efficient multilayer insulation consists of several layers of metal-evaporated polyimide film. Beyond Gravity also produces panels and structures for constellations based on an industrialized and semi-automated production process.

Mechanisms for constellations
Furthermore, Beyond Gravity offers mechanisms suited for satellite constellations, for example mechanisms that point the small satellite’s electrical engines. The electric propulsion is necessary to bring the satellite exactly into its position and to maintain this position over the lifetime of several years. “Our pointing mechanisms are carefully designed to minimize mass, manage orbital temperature extremes and deliver exact pointing accuracy over many years of service lifetime,” explains Anders Linder.

Spacecraft container for safe transport on Earth

As a recognized supplier of Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) with more than 30 years of successful deliveries to NASA and the commercial space market worldwide, Beyond Gravity ensures that the valuable payload of its customers arrives safely at its destination and can be handled securely on the ground. Linder: “Our solutions include spacecraft containers, multi-purpose carts, trolleys or lifting devices for ground handling and testing of spacecraft.”

Video: Introducing Beyond Gravity