CT plays a pivotal role in developing standard and modular launch base services for small satellites in the SAMMBA R&D project.

Around the world, various small space launcher initiatives have emerged to provide more affordable and flexible satellite launch services. These initiatives have become possible due to the miniaturization of components and a shift toward smaller, resilient satellite constellations as opposed to traditional larger ones. This shift has given rise to a commercial market characterized by higher frequency and lower costs, often referred to as the “NewSpace” concept.

To address the changing needs of the space industry, the EU has funded a collaborative R&D project called SAMMBA (Standard And Modular Microlauncher Base services). Its objective is to offer standardized, modular, and cost-effective launch base services to support the increasing demand for small satellite launches in Europe.

CT is actively participating in this initiative as a member of the H2020 consortium, which includes German MT Aerospace, French Air Liquide Advanced Technology, Spanish EURECAT (Technology Center of Catalonia), GTD sistemas de información, and Belgian SpaceTec Partners.

In this evolving space environment, characterized by small, cost-effective actors, it is essential to adapt spaceports worldwide to accommodate smaller launchers. CT Paris has contributed its expertise in system engineering and innovation, leveraging its extensive knowledge of the space environment.

CT has played a pivotal role in laying the foundation for the project and identifying its system requirements. This entailed leading the definition of SAMMBA’s high-level system requirements through model-based system engineering (MBSE) and ensuring their successful implementation.

Developing the first modular launch base service deployable at multiple spaceports requires innovation and strategic vision. CT leads the innovation working group and is establishing the building blocks for innovation tasks. To create a technology roadmap for SAMMBA, CT analyzed the technical and economic value of global solutions and also provided business insights to fully understand the market. Finally, CT carried out a cost analysis of the project.

According to the project manager, Sophie Missonnier, “CT has been deeply involved in the consortium over the past year, overseeing the proof-of-concepts of SAMMBA subsystems developed by partners in their respective fields of expertise, and ensuring the focus on system relevance and the seamless operational interface between subsystems.”

The CT Paris team is contributing its prior experience in NewSpace green solutions, particularly in the realm of hybrid-powered launch systems. They have actively participated in the H2020-funded project ENVOL (European NewSpace Vertical Orbital Launcher), which introduced an environmentally friendly and cost-effective NewSpace orbital launcher concept.

Interoperability and predictability. CT ensures the safety of SAMMBA’ s satellites launch services by integrating them with its own Operational Decision Aid Platform, LAB METOC.

The consortium succeeded in meeting its main objective by designing a mock-up that demonstrates the interoperability of the prototype technologies and systems through the standardization of interfaces and protocols.

The mock-up interfaces with the LAB METOC meteorological awareness tool (CT), the transport and docking system AGV (EUT), the scheduling tool and Blockchain data base (EUT), the Erector mechanical system (MTA), the fluid IoT sensor network (ALAT) and the IT virtual cluster (GTD).

Two use cases have been identified to test the added-value of the demonstrator in spaceport operations, in terms of campaign time, cost and flexibility:

  • Launch Complex (or Mission Control Center) anomaly during operations
  • Change of conditions in launch range

Operational situation during the last 8 days of a launch campaign (output from LAB_METOC).

The demonstrators show that the best way to reduce installation and maintenance costs is to implement a single launchpad control system in charge of monitoring all the facilities involved in a launch. Therefore, SAMMBA’s Monitoring & Control centralizes the monitoring and control tasks for the mechanical and fluidic equipment.

The dedicated papers presented at the Ground-Based Space Facilities (GBSF) conference in December 2022 raised the interest of the main European spaceports and some launch service providers. The results of SAMMBA align with the spaceport roadmap for the coming years, allowing them to upgrade their capabilities in subsequent development phases, from first maiden flights to full operations.

You can read the full article about“SAMMBA H2020: Ground Services based on 4.0 technologies for NewSpace launch systems” for more information.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870451, for 3 years, starting in January 2020. The SAMMBA consortium is comprised of top players in the field: CT Engineering Group, GTD System & Software Engineering, Air Liquide Advanced Technologies, EURECAT, SpaceTec Partners and MT Aerospace.

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