ORB-12 Strider

ORB-12 Strider
Name ORB-12 Strider
Type CubeSat
Units or mass 12U
Status not launched, expected in 2023
Organisation Orbital Astronautics
Institution Company
Entity Commercial
Nation UK
Manufacturer AIVT by Orbital Astronautics
Operator Orbital Astronautics

Test propulsion module for Aliena-Aurora and many internally developed subsystems.


Aliena, a satellite propulsion provider, has signed a contract with Orbital Astronautics Ltd (OrbAstro), a satellite and in-orbit service provider, to fly its AA Multi-modal all-electric AOCS propulsion system onboard an OrbAstro ORB-12 (12U-class satellite) scheduled for launch in September 2022.

The ORB-12 Strider mission will host a variety of payloads for in-orbit testing and demonstration purposes, of which the Aliena-Aurora (AA) propulsion system will be primary.

Aliena has developed a multi-modal attitude and orbit control system (AOCS) with partners from Finland, Aurora Propulsion Technologies. Sharing a common back-end architecture for the propellant, electronic control, and fluidics, the propulsion segment will comprise of Aliena’s MUlti-Staged Ignition Compact (MUSIC) Hall thruster, and Aurora’s ARM resistojets.

The AA multi-modal all-electric AOCS propulsion system will enable customers with the most demanding of mission requirements to benefit from the low-thrust-high-impulse operations of the MUSIC Hall thruster, as well as the high-thrust-low-impulse mode of operations from the ARM resistojets. This system streamlines the propulsion architecture, allowing for dual mode propulsion in a compact and integrated product for operations in formation flying satellites and advanced operations relying on propulsion as an enabler.

Beyond the AA AOCS payload, OrbAstro will be testing a variety of internally developed subsystems on the satellite, some new and some second or third generation, including:

  • Optical transceiver with two-axis precision-steering mechanism for inter-satellite communications, as part of the company’s Guardian Network constellation used for data-relay and autonomous satellite operations
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload utilising Ka-band transmitter with high-gain antenna coupled to a 4GHz bandwidth SDR, piloting a semi-active multi-static SAR mission targeting 10cm resolution 3D imaging
  • Onboard AI processing unit (100 billion neurons, 40 trillion synapses) utilised for Guardian Network satellite and space traffic management service
  • Kilowatt-class thermal management system, utilising phase change heat sink and hybrid deployable solar/radiator panels
  • Kilowatt-class long-life electrical power system
  • Compact optical imaging system providing 1-metre ground resolution
Sources [1] [2] [3]
Photo sources [1]
Keywords Propulsion

Last modified: 2023-06-09
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