As part of the first space launch in 2023, the SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket launched 114 small satellites into low Earth orbit at once, including two Ukrainian ones – PolyITAN-HP-30 created by students of the National Technical University of Ukraine (Kyiv Polytechnic Institute) and the Earth observation satellite EOS SAT-1 of EOS Data Analytics. The Transporter-6 small satellite co-launch mission was SpaceX’s 200th successful launch.
PolyITAN-HP-30 is the third cubesat created at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. The first, PolyITAN-1, was launched in June 2014, and the second, PolyITAN-2, in April 2017. PolyITAN-HP-30 has a 2U CubeSat format, i.e. 20×10×10 cm. The main mission of PolyITAN-2-HP is investigation of the performance characteristics of experimental heat pipes of various designs in weightlessness, which can be used for thermoregulation systems of space vehicles and work in microgravity conditions differently than on Earth. So it should be an interesting experiment. How ironic, considering what happened on Russian Soyuz MS-22.
PolyITAN-HP-30 was created by specialists and students of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” exclusively with budget funds provided by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine within the implementation of winning projects of scientific research and development competitions and the basic financing agreement.
The delivery of PolyITAN-HP-30 to the USA was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Boeing Ukraine, the support of the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands), and the State Space Agency of Ukraine.
The EOS SAT-1 satellite is the first satellite of the future constellation of Earth sensing satellites of the EOS Data Analysis company, which are focused on monitoring agricultural and forest lands.
EOS Data Analysis is a Ukrainian company of entrepreneur Maksym Polyakov, former owner of Firefly Aerospace, to which, according to the requirements of the US government, he was forced to sell a majority stake in Firefly. EOS Data Analysis has offices in Kyiv, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhia, and is engaged in the analysis of satellite images using artificial intelligence. The field of interest of EOS Data Analysis is primarily agricultural and forest land. The services offered by the company help to determine the time of fertilizing, monitor the productivity and vegetation of the fields, find problem areas, etc. As for forests, the company’s tools help monitor forest health, detect pests and diseases at an early stage, and track illegal logging and fires.
EOS Data Analysis currently uses satellite imagery from other companies, but they needed a tool specifically focused on forest and field monitoring, and they got it in the form of the EOS SAT-1.
EOS SAT-1 was designed by another company of Maksym Polyakov – Ukrainian-South African Dragonfly Aerospace, which Polyakov acquired in April 2021 Dragonfly Aerospace develops cameras for microsatellites that have a spatial resolution (GSD) of up to 0.7 m from an orbit at a height of 500 km, as well as satellite platforms, so-called satellite buses.
The EOS SAT-1 satellite weighs 178 kilograms and is equipped with two DragonEye cameras (spatial resolution (GSD) 1.4 m from an orbit 500 km high). Each of the cameras supports 11 data transmission channels, three of which are in the visible range, two are in the near infrared, three are at the border of these ranges, and three more are special.
The EOS SAT-1 engine was developed by the Ukrainian company SETS (Space Electric Thruster Systems), and Flight Control Propulsion provided 3D printing of parts and manufacturing of body elements. The satellite is placed in a sun-synchronous orbit, that is, it is all the time above the lighted surface of the Earth and can conduct observations.
In total, by 2025, EOS Data Analysis intends to put into orbit 7 satellites of the EOS SAT constellation, which will provide almost daily coverage of 10+ million square km of the earth’s surface, and repeated visits to all agricultural lands and forest areas in the world within 5-6 days. The full cycle of services, from data collection to providing analytics, will take 16-24 hours. Well, you can really be proud of such plans.
We wish the manufacturers of both Ukrainian satellites a successful deployment and a long existence. And we really, really hope that neither PolyITAN-HP-30 nor EOS SAT-1 will suffer the fate of the infamous Ukrainian satellite Sich-2-30, which was launched on January 13, 2022 and which, due to failure, works now in a limited mode.