Loft Orbital, which flies and operates customer payloads on its YAM series of small satellites, launched their YAM-2 satellite, the first in space to be equipped with Fugro’s SpaceStar next-generation positioning technology, on 30 June, 2021 into a 525 km sun-synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Fugro’s SpaceStar is using Precise Point Positioning (PPP) to deliver high-accuracy sub-decimetre onboard positioning in real time during YAM-2’s low earth orbit (LEO) operations. Fugro’s proprietary positioning software is integrated into YAM-2 and employs state-of-the-art technology to receive precise GNSS real-time orbit and clock corrections from geostationary satellites. Highly accurate positioning in LEO is becoming increasingly important for earth observation applications, safe constellations management, and space debris collision avoidance. “We’re especially excited to demonstrate this new functionality,” said Loft Orbital CTO, Pieter van Duijn. “Fugro’s SpaceStar service is something that can really help not only Loft Orbital’s missions but also be of interest to the wider application of space situational awareness and safety.”
Daan Scheer, Fugro’s Satellite Positioning Commercial Manager, said: “We are extremely proud to be providing our real-time PPP service to the YAM-2 small satellite. We’ve been able to bring this innovative product to market thanks to our close cooperation with Loft Orbital and we’re looking forward to completing a successful in-orbit demonstration mission. The accuracy of our SpaceStar position service is not only contributing to our purpose of a safe and liveable world but, by facilitating safer navigation in space, even beyond!”