R&D

Test Stand Progress

We've been hard at work on the mobile test stand the past few weeks. The thrust structure was just completed and will be capable of accommodating engines with thrusts of up to 60kN.

 Engine test stand

Our propellants tanks will be going through hydrostatic testing over the coming week, and all the fluid and control system components are currently being readied. We did a test fit of the engine mount today before plumbing work commences and it proceeded smoothly.

 Mobile engine test stand

Expansion and Steady Progress

We’ve been busy at the Aphelion R&D facility lately and making steady progress on our Trailblazer vehicle! Engine development has been coming together very well and the composite chamber is currently being manufactured. The test facility, which will accommodate engines up to 30kN in thrust (for our orbital launch vehicle), is now under constructions and parts for it are coming over the next few weeks. Last but not least, we’ve invested a lot of time into our green hypergolic propellant production facility which will enable us to test and fly with minimal turnaround time. As things stand, we will be having our first test of the 9.5kN main engine in March.

Meanwhile, two new products for our Cubesat line will be released this month. We have also been putting the EPS and OBC software through their paces, so we will be able to officially start selling the Cubesat bus very soon.

Finally, our facility expansion is on the way! This for the time being will enable us to produce and launch Trailblazer vehicles multiple times a year.

Progress on Cubesat Systems

Evolved from our previous 1st generation EPS, Aphelion’s Primary Bus Module (PBM) is now undergoing rigorous testing in our facility! The PBM is a highly integrated, single-board electrical power system and OBC which supports Cubesats up to 3U, offering significant mass and volume savings while simplifying system design. And we will be offering it at a great price! Complete software drivers are supplied for PerihelionOS and we offer comprehensive support and service integrating it into your Cubesat mission.

Features include:

  • 5 maximum power point tracking (MPPT) inputs with 40W input capacity
  • 7 independently controlled and monitored output rails with an output capacity of 5V/3A and 3.3V/4A
  • 4 channels dedicated for high current deployment mechanisms
  • High-performance OBC processor with EEPROM, SD card slot, and integrated MEMS accelerometer/gyroscope
  • High-reliability 6-layer PCB and space-rated Lithium cells individually tested in thermal vacuum according to GSFC-STD-7000 standard

We are currently in the process of qualifying production techniques, so the release date is tentatively set for December 2017. And we are offering a small discount for everyone who signs up below!  

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EPS2.jpg

Realizing commercially viable optical communications in the short term

Today we achieved the first stable link through our new, high powered LED transmitter. This was not without many struggles and design challenges, but the concept is one step closer to maturity.

A number of new things have been going on in the optical communication test program. We now have dedicated labor for the development of the flight hardware and software, and a miniaturized version of transmitter is under the final stages of design review before manufacturing. The aim is to produce a viable, monolithic VLC downlink module by the start of October that can be mounted on Cubesats with minimal modification or ADCS requirement.

Concurrently, the development of the solar-panel based omnidirectional uplink has been progressing at a steady pace. A long distance test is scheduled soon, and it is expected that all our future solar panel products will support this uplink feature, optional with the purchase of our EPS modules.