EICAS Automazione S.p.A. has a long heritage in the field of attitude determination from star measurement. Starting from the experience gained in the HIPPARCOS Mission, many Autonomous Attitude Determination Systems (AADS) have been designed and validated under ESA/ASI contracts and for large players, moving from mono-head to multi-head and multicamera configuration, from CCD to CMOS technology. Discover our heritage in detail at www.eicas.it/Sectors/Space.
EICAS experience in the space sector includes:
- HIPPARCOS MISSION (1987-1994). The EICAS Team cooperated in the ESA Hipparcos scientific mission for more than 20 years. The on ground satellite attitude reconstruction - used for the HIPPARCOS Catalogue production - was carried out by EICAS by using only star measurements during all the mission with an accuracy varying in the range of 30-60 milliarcsec.
- MONO-HEAD ITALIAN STAR TRACKER (1997-2001). EICAS co-operated with Alenia Spazio and Officine Galileo for the development of a system for "spacecraft autonomous gyroless attitude determination by star measurement", which has been successfully experimented in the SAC-C Argentinean satellite.
- AST & MHS2 ESA CONTRACTS (1998-2006). In the context of two contracts with ESA – the AST (Autonomous Star Tracker) project in co-operation with Alenia Spazio and the MHS2 (Miniaturized Multiple Head High Rate Star Sensor) project in co-operation with EADS Sodern – EICAS designed, with full property rights, a new multi-camera system for spacecraft attitude determination.
- THE CADET PROJECT (2013-2015). As a part of the CADET (CApture and DE-orbiting Technologies) project, coordinated by Aviospace S.r.l. - an Airbus Defence and Space company - EICAS demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed ARGO solution by realizing a multicamera prototype, fully operational with auto-calibration and assessed through a night sky test campaign.
- THE ARGO PROJECT (2016-2020). On 2016 EICAS decided to apply for a grant under the H2020-SMEINST-2-2016-2017 Call, presenting the ARGO proposal, aiming at demonstrating and validating ARGO up to TRL9. The proposal was successful in a highly competitive evaluation process and received both the Seal of Excellence and the grant by the European Commission. Consequently, the ARGO project started on 1st of October 2016 and lasted until October 2020. An ARGO 1.0 flight model has been assessed up to TRL8 through on ground qualification tests and has been integrated in the D-Orbit ION SVC2 platform for the in-orbit demonstration mission. Successively, on January 24, 2021 this platform has been launched and ARGO is now in orbit. The IOD campaign is foreseen to last about 12 month.
- ARGO 2.0. In the context of a contract with ESA, EICAS is working on ARGO 2.0 which intends to be a ‘smart redesign’ of the ARGO 1.0 architecture, suitable for future large constellations. Its main features would be a further reduction of mass and power consumption, moving part of the software on the OBC of the hosting platform, and seamless integration with the platform control.