FSSCat is an innovative mission concept consisting of two federated 6U Cubesats in support of the Copernicus Land and Marine Environment services. They carry a dual microwave payload (a GNSS-Reflectometer and a L-band radiometer with interference detection/mitigation), and a multi-spectral optical payload to measure soil moisture, ice extent, and ice thickness, and to detect melting ponds over ice. It also includes a radio/optical inter-satellite link and an Iridium intersatellite link to test some of the techniques and technologies for upcoming satellite federations. FSSCat will be the precursor of a constellation of federated small satellites for Earth observation achieving high temporal resolution and moderate spatial resolution in a cost-effective manner.
Small satellites are a cost-effective way to test new concepts for Earth observation. The constellation of federated satellite systems will offer the highest investment return, improved revisit time, scalable approach, and graceful performance degradation at the end of the satellites’ life.
«The Federated Satellite System 6U tandem mission for sea ice and soil moisture monitoring captured the interest of the challenge experts immediately. Not only because the mission concept shows a high degree of well thought through technical novelties, but also because it will provide data that is complementary to the Sentinel fleet. This is especially true for the soil moisture monitoring component, which is not part of the current Sentinel portfolio. The FSSCat mission development is good to go and due to its disruptive approach, we are confident that it will be seen as a breakthrough in procuring future small missions at ESA.»
Dr Thomas Beer
Copenicus Policy Coordinator
Copernicus Programme Coordinator
European Space Agency (ESA)
Adriano Camps & Alessandro Golkar (Visiting Professor)
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC),
Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC)
& Golbriak Space oü