Highly controllable light to ground test spacecraft at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Edmonton, AB and Greenbelt, MD — June 28, 2022: G2V Optics fulfilled a United States federal government subcontract to provide solar simulation equipment to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for use in ground testing the OSAM-1 spacecraft, which seeks to refuel a satellite in orbit and demonstrate in-space assembly and manufacturing.
OSAM-1 (which stands for On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1) aims to demonstrate the ability extend the lifespan of a satellite by refueling Landsat 7, which was not designed for orbital servicing. The OSAM-1 servicer will need to reliably grab, refuel, and move the satellite to successfully complete its mission. Its technologies are being transferred to commercial entities to help initiate a servicing industry that will allow satellite fleet operators more flexibility and efficiency in managing their orbital equipment, as well as to potentially mitigate the increasing challenges of orbital debris.
The need to better manage orbital debris comes as an increasing number of satellites go into orbit through, for example, the expansion of SpaceX’s Starlink network and the growth of the CubeSat industry. OSAM-1’s technologies could, in theory, help to prevent the Kessler effect, a hypothetical situation where there are so many objects in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) that a single collision causes a cascade, rendering future satellite use difficult.
Thorough and reliable ground testing are essential in the Aerospace industry, including every NASA mission. The OSAM-1 mission, which is scheduled to launch no earlier than 2026 has specific requirements for its multidisciplinary engineering validation, which needs to ensure that the spacecraft can approach a speeding satellite within one meter, grab it, and take over navigation. OSAM-1 has a whopping 16 subsystems, 10 of which are new. The engineering team is following the “test as you fly, fly as you test” mantra, which means precisely simulating sunlight shining on the hardware, sensors, and cameras to account for all possible scenarios. G2V’s precision lighting technology is being used to recreate the effects of sunlight for the next four years of ground testing of the spacecraft and subsystems.
G2V Optics was awarded the subcontract for solar simulation by demonstrating expertise in precision lighting technologies along with an ability to work closely within project specifications. G2V’s proprietary LED technology was a significant differentiator with tunable channels, a smaller footprint, a targeted spectrum, and a higher electrical efficiency. Channel tunability simply isn’t possible with traditional bulb-based technologies, which require custom filters for every desired spectrum. G2V’s smaller footprint solution resulted in a light source closely matched to the size of the uniformly illuminated area, while a targeted spectrum meant the solar simulator can be operational while only requiring eye safety protection, so multiple teams can continue working in the area while solar simulation tests are running.
Finally, LED solar simulators are electrically efficient, resulting in better thermal characteristics compared to other more traditional bulb-based technologies. This feature will be especially beneficial in a clean-room environment, where additional HVAC is prohibitively expensive and excessive heat generation can imply significant infrastructure changes.
“Alberta companies, like G2V Optics, have the know how and creativity to make a lasting impact on the global stage and ensure Canada’s contributions to major space missions. Edmonton is among the fastest growing technology sectors in North America and the digital technology sector offers a steady route to sustainable economic diversification and job growth. Congratulations to G2V Optics for your success and I look forward to the continuing evolution of your business.” – The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism, Associate Minister of Finance and Edmonton Centre MP
“At G2V, we’re completely focused on enabling technologies that critically rely on or interact with sunlight – our name directly refers to the Type G2 Class V star in the center of our solar system that is the source of virtually all energy on our planet.”, says G2V’s CEO Ryan Tucker, “This isn’t the first time we’ve been fortunate enough to lend our expertise to the folks at NASA, but the OSAM-1 mission is a very important step forward in managing satellite infrastructure which has become so essential to modern communication in our lives. We’re proud to contribute to the major advancement.”
G2V’s solar simulation equipment has been delivered to NASA Goddard and commissioning is expected to begin in early 2022.
About G2V Optics:
G2V Optics is an emerging leader in smart lighting, monitoring, and data science solutions for advanced lighting and solar research applications. The company is committed to delivering the highest ROI to the world’s leading innovators of light-dependent systems with the proprietary Engineered Sunlight™ platform.
G2V is headquartered in Edmonton, Canada and is an established innovator in software-controlled, adjustable-spectra technologies for aerospace and solar energy applications with customers at global technology firms and research institutions in over 35 countries. As a high-growth technology firm, G2V has received repayable funding from the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) under its Business Scale-up and Productivity Program to increase manufacturing and export capacity of its solar simulation technology. For more information, come find us at www.g2voptics.com.