Space qualification of the ERNST nanosatellite

© Fraunhofer EMI
ERNST engineering qualification model (EQM) in the mounting platform.

Fraunhofer EMI is currently developing the first Fraunhofer satellite ERNST. ERNST is a 12U nano-satellite that will demonstrate the potential and agility of this satellite class for the German Federal Armed Forces with a kryo-cooled infrared payload. In 2019, we completed the integration of the ERNST engineering qualification model (EQM). The EQM comprises all components and functionalities of the future spacecraft model. However, the expensive, high-quality space components are not employed for all subsystems.

We are running the ERNST EQM in simulated non-stop operation for the verification of the system’s functionality, with the satellite bus and the payloads performing test procedures. The satellite is powered by a solar generator simulator, which provides the typical power output of solar cells depending on the simulated orbit position. We test the robustness of the satellite against the special environmental loads of a space mission with vibrational and thermal vacuum tests. In 2020, additional tests are planned at Fraunhofer INT for measuring the antennas’ transmission capacity and the electromagnetic compatibility on the system level.