Unmanned Systems News

Silicon Sensing IMU Integrated into SAR Satellite

Published: 10 Jul 2020 by

iQPS small SAR satellite with Silicon Sensing IMU

Silicon Sensing Systems’ high-performance DMU30 MEMS inertial measurement unit (IMU) has been selected for integration into the control system of Japan’s first small X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite. The satellite has been designed by the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS), a space technology start-up aiming to develop and deliver near real-time data provision services.

The X-band SAR-satellite weighs 100Kg and provides a resolution of 1m, and is the first of 36 satellites that iQPS plans to deploy. The satellites will provide an earth observation data service to support tasks such as disaster management as well as land and infrastructure surveying.

Silicon Sensing’s DMU30 is the company’s highest performing IMU, matching the performance of FOG (fiber optic gyro) units with a far more rugged construction and low-SWaP (size, weight and power) footprint. It is ideal for extended operations in space, and has been calibrated to deliver precision performance over the full rated temperature range.

The DMU30 integrated into the satellite’s control system will begin operating immediately after separation from the launch rocket, and will work in conjunction with other onboard systems to monitor and control angular velocity and attitude angle, and to assess and compensate for vibration and other unwanted motions that occur as key structures, such as the satellite’s large antenna, are deployed.

Masahiko Uetsuhara, Project Manager at iQPS, commented: “Normally a gyro sensor’s output will include errors that appear over time and with severe temperature change and we would need to calibrate for that, but with the DMU30 that calibration is not required. This reduces man-hours and improves work efficiency, both very important factors for us. This product is also technically reliable, has been proved in satellite projects, is ITAR free – and the price was attractive for this level of performance.”

Steve Capers, General Manager of Silicon Sensing Systems, said: “This is a fast-evolving market with ever-increasing demand for precise, controllable earth observation. SAR satellites, with their ability to see through weather conditions, such as cloud cover, have traditionally been large and expensive items. Technologies such as our DMU30 all-silicon MEMS IMU are helping transform this market, enabling the development of satellites such as iQPS’s small and cost-effective X-band SAR satellite.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact

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