The project addresses the sector of Spacecraft Attitude Determination from star measurements which is a critical element of the Attitude and Orbit Control System for any spacecraft. Nowadays the need of high accuracy for demanding satellite missions is achievable through high-quality star trackers, but high costs and lack of flexibility are still a gap to overcome for covering the needs of emerging space markets, like the ones related to low mass and size satellites, called SmallSats.
The Consortium, composed by two high tech Italian SMEs (EICAS Automazione, working in spacecraft attitude determination since the 1980s and TYVAK International, a start-up founded in 2015 by dynamic entrepreneurs with strong aerospace industry backgrounds and extensive experience in developing, producing and operating SmallSats), intend to pave the way towards next generation star tracker systems by proposing a disruptive innovation for this sector: ARGO, an innovative multicamera system for spacecraft autonomous attitude determination by means of star observation, able to offer high flexibility, robustness, accuracy, scalability and significant reduction of production costs compared to products currently on the market.
ARGO's main advances with respect to the state-of-art have been conceived, developed and successfully tested by EICAS Automazione in previous R&D activities. ARGO is ready for TRL6, having proved ARGO feasibility in relevant environment at TRL5 - through a preliminary night sky test campaign - by means of a prototype based on low-cost industrial cameras.
The purpose of this project is to accomplish the following steps necessary for fully exploiting the ARGO potential and reaching the commercialisation stage: