Customer Profile: VZLU & Spacemanic

Czech Aerospace Research Centre Partners with Spacemanic to Launch the Organization’s Second CubeSat

In support of its mission to provide scientific support, bring innovative solutions to the aerospace industry, and become an internationally respected research and development center, the Czech Aerospace Research Centre (VZLU) is anticipating a launch later this month that has been years in the making.

VZLU, the national center for research, development, innovations, and testing for the aerospace industry in the Czech Republic, partnered with a local mission launch campaign manager, Spacemanic, in 2019 to launch a nanosatellite, VZLUSAT-2.  Spacemanic turned to global launch provider Spaceflight Inc. to help find the ideal launch for the nanosatellite.

One of the 13 payloads initially scheduled to launch on Spaceflight’s SXRS-6 mission, VZLUSAT-2 was integrated onto the Sherpa-LTC1 vehicle. Following the news in late December of a leak coming from the propulsion system onboard Sherpa-LTC1, Spaceflight decided not to fly the OTV on its SXRS-6 mission. To ensure the success of VZLUSAT-2’s mission, Spaceflight immediately began work with partners to re-home the nanosatellite. In less than a day, Spaceflight was able to remanifest VZLUSAT-2 to fly on D-Orbit’s satellite platform aboard Transporter-3.

“We are excited to work with Spaceflight to make this launch a reality,” said Daniela Jović, head of sales and marketing for Spacemanic. “The knowledge and expertise the team has shown is fantastic, and their commitment to remanifesting us quickly and ensuring VZLUSAT-2 would launch as planned reinforces our confidence about this mission and the promise it holds for VZLU and the Czech Republic.”

The main goal of the VZLUSAT-2 mission is to verify the Earth observation technologies aboard. For the nanosatellite, equipped with two experimental cameras and a unit for precise attitude control, the mission’s primary task will be to capture images of the Czech Republic from space. Once this technology is proven, the program will be able to target more precise locations for image capture, both within the country and abroad. That data will eventually aid government agencies like the Ministries of Agriculture, Transportation, and others.

In service of its mission to be a one-stop-shop for its clients, Spacemanic has also provided a GNSS receiver for this mission, along with the solar panels. Other partners who have contributed to this mission are Czech Technical University in Prague, the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, esc Aerospace, Needronix, Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Industry and Trade, TTS, s.r.o., Konkoly Observatory, Rigaku Innovative Technologies Europe s.r.o., ADVACAM s.r.o., Eltvor, and MuniSci of Masaryk University.

VZLUSAT-2 will carry two cameras for Earth observation and a unit for precise attitude control along with supporting devices like an X-ray optical payload, a gamma flash (GRB) detector, and a water vapor outgassing (DPTWI) sensor. Some represent the second generation of devices that have already proven their capabilities on VZLU’s first satellite, VZLUSAT-1, which launched in 2017 and is one of the oldest CubeSats still in operation.

Verifying the technologies aboard VZLUSAT-2 will enable future missions supporting VZLU’s SPACE 2030 initiative and the development of a satellite constellation. “We are working to build knowledge and solutions in the field of aeronautical and space technologies,” said Juraj Dudas, director of space aviation. “This mission contributes to the expansion of knowledge and the country’s competitiveness in the aerospace industry.”

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