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The Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM) has signed an agreement with Sputnix, a company that produces components for high-tech satellites. The agreement envisions, among other things, the creation of a mission control centre for small scientific and educational microsatellites. The centre will be part of MIEM.
Since 2011, Sputnix has been creating microsatellites and their components and developing technological solutions for small satellites. Sputnix is a smaller company with large projects. As one example, Sputnix’s team of young specialists is currently working on the creation of a system for Earth remote sensing (satellite imagery) for export customers. In addition, the team is creating low Earth orbiting satellites (LEOs) capable of improving telephone communications in regions with poor access to cellular networks, such as the Far North.
MIEM and Sputnix have been working together for quite some time, and the two have decided to strengthen this cooperation in the new agreement. The document outlines plans for carrying out joint scientific research to develop technologies for designing small satellites, as well as to create computer and natural modeling for onboard control systems. In addition, MIEM and Sputnix will hold extracurricular activities for schoolchildren, and most importantly, create a mission control centre as part of the Institute.
‘Everyone is used to a mission control centre being a huge building where 20 people sit watching a huge monitor with astronauts on one side and images from the International Space Station on the other, all while an image of Earth is being broadcasted from space. In our case, the mission control centre will naturally look quite different,’ notes Sputnix Technical Director Stanislav Karpenko, ‘but the idea is the same – controlling satellites. To do this, an antenna will be placed on MIEM’s roof that will accompany the movement of learning satellites, while there will be a laboratory inside the building that has workspaces for students, equipment, and specialized computer software. The laboratory will also have a large monitor to show the current position of the satellites.’
We want to task the students themselves with the major challenge of launching their own satellite
Andrey Abrameshin MIEM Deputy Director
Students will work with satellites that have already been launched. There are currently an array of satellites in orbit today that were created by various universities around the world, and students and amateur radio fans from different countries are allowed to work with these satellites. The satellites openly transmit data, and anyone who owns a special radio can receive this data, decrypt it, and find out the position of a satellite in orbit, as well as its trajectory and other parameters. In some cases, a task can be transmitted to a satellite and its movement can be controlled. For satellites launched for educational purposes, a session schedule exists, and it is according to this schedule that MIEM students will work as well.
‘Several graduates from our Institute currently work at Sputnix, and they’ve already established a dialogue with the master’s students. Everything is turning out to be productive,’ MIEM Deputy Director Andrey Abrameshin comments. ‘We want to task the students themselves with the major challenge of launching their own satellite. Such work will help them understand the entire technology inside and out, as well as the “stuff” of small satellites.’
Work will begin in August on installing the main component of the mission control system – the antenna. The inside portion (monitors, work stations, and the necessary equipment) will be located near the Laboratory of Space Vehicles and Systems' Functional Safety. In addition to MIEM students, high school students from Gimnaziya №1519, MOU – which has a space museum as well as a small virtual mission control centre – will work at the mission control centre.