Inside Evolving Satellite Technology

Take a look inside Russian NASA, ESA spacecraft construction.

Russian satellite company

Reuters recently did a photo shoot inside a Russian satellite company offering up some interesting looks at satellite construction. We’ve tossed in a few other tidbits as well from NASA and the European Space Agency.


Sergei Mareev
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Sergei Mareev, electricity specialist of the "Kvant" (Quantum) research-and-production enterprise, works on a solar battery for the Express AM6 new generation geostationary telecommunications heavy satellite at the large-sized transformed mechanical systems center of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems company in the Siberian town of Zheleznogorsk. The Express AM6 is a new generation satellite providing services including Russian governmental and presidential mobile communication, digital television and broadcasting, according to Reshetnev company representatives.

Kvant
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Specialists of the "Kvant" (Quantum) research-and-production enterprise work on a solar battery for the Express AM6 new generation geostationary telecommunications heavy satellite.

GLONASS-M space navigation satellite
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

The GLONASS-M space navigation satellite inside an assembly workshop of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems company.

Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

An interior view shows the large-sized transformed mechanical systems center of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems company.

Gonets-M low-orbital communication space satellite
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Employees of an electric-testing laboratory simulate sunlight by means of 40 1000-watt lamps as they work on the Gonets-M low-orbital communication space satellite.

Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Engineer Mikhail Venin works on an antenna for the Express AM8 new generation geostationary telecommunications heavy satellite.

Andrei Khrustov
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Andrei Khrustov, chief engineer of the Quantum research and production enterprise, inspects a solar battery for the Express AM6 new generation geostationary telecommunications heavy satellite.

Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Fitters of space apparatus work on the Ukrainian "Lybid" (Swan) geostationary telecommunications satellite.

space satellites
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

An employee selects aluminum templates for the production of multi-layered shield-vacuum thermal isolation items for space satellites.

Oleg Trifonov
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Head of an electrical testing laboratory Oleg Trifonov makes preparations before simulating sunlight by means of 40 1000-watt lamps while working on a Gonets-M low-orbital communication space satellite.

Luch space satellite
Credit: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Employees walk behind an antenna of the Luch space satellite at the large transformed mechanical systems center of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems company.

European Space Agency's Swarm satellite
Credit: REUTERS

Illustrated factbox on the European Space Agency's Swarm satellite launched last year.

NASA James Webb space telescope
Credit: YouTube.com

A video look at the construction of the NASA James Webb space telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope
Credit: NASA

In March 2014, the James Webb Space Telescope's flight Near Infrared Spectrograph was installed into the instrument module. NIRSpec joins the flight Near Infrared Camera Fine Guidance Sensor/ Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph and Mid-Infrared Instrument which are already integrated into the ISIM, making the instrument module complete. 

The James Webb Space Telescope
Credit: NASA

The James Webb Space Telescope is a large space telescope, optimized for infrared wavelengths. It is scheduled for launch later in this decade. Webb will find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way galaxy. Webb will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own solar system. Webb's instruments will be designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range.

Build It Yourself: Satellite
Credit: NASA


If you've ever wondered what it would be like to build a satellite to peer into a black hole and uncover its secrets, now you can find out thanks to a free online game from NASA. The new game, called "Build It Yourself: Satellite!" has been launched from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and is a learning tool for students and adults. The game can be found online here.

CubeSats
Credit: YouTube.com

NASA will launch five small research satellites, or CubeSats, for three universities and the agency’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., as part of the fifth installment of the Educational Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) mission this year. NASA defines cubesats as being built to standard dimensions of 1 unit (1U) which is equal to 10x10x10 cm; Can be 1U, 2U, 3U or 6U in size; Weigh less than 1.33 kg (3 pounds) per U – 6U may be up to 12-14 kg.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Small is better? Pictured is a miniature electrospray thruster prototype developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers. The mini-thruster, complete with its four rows of ion emitters, is contained within two black plates, each measuring about 1 square inch.

Credit: YouTube.com

The European Space Agency just launched its Sentinel-1 environmental space satellite. After the satellite is released into space, the solar wings and radar deploy together, but in a specific sequence that takes around 10 hours to complete. The sequence is unique, choreographed to ensure that both deploy in the safest possible way, the ESA says. The sequence also allows power from the wings to be available as soon as possible so that the satellite is independent.