In this episode we speak with David Baker, who wrote a fascinating book about spy satellites. We cover the political and military context that drove their development, their (known and suspected) capabilities, methods of recovering the images, as well as typical orbits and the sartellites’ ability to change that orbit for quick repositioning.
This is the last episode recorded during my visit to ESA‘s ESTEC last fall. I get a tour of the Test Centre with the head of the section, Mark Wagner. We discuss the various test stands and facilities, including the thermal vacuum facility, the large space simulator, the thermal vacuum chamber, the vibration facilities, electromagnetic testing and acoustic testing.
Last fall I visited ESTEC, ESA’s space research and technology center. In this first of three episodes, I talk with Maria Hernek, who heads the Flight Software Systems section. We talk about the challenges of space flight software, the development processes used by ESA and its vendors, as well as means of ensuring the required quality attributes. This episode can be seen as a continuation of the conversation with Andreas Wortmann in the OHB episode.
In this episode we get a peek into how OHB System AG in Bremen develops satellites — mostly based on the Galileo navigation satellites. We speak with Christian Pauly about systems engineering, with Mathias Tausche about manufacturing and integration, with Andreas Wortmann about the software on the satellites, and with Ingo Engeln about the company as a whole.
This is an episode on how satellites work with James Penson from Surrey Satellite Technology. Specifically we talk about satellite buses, the infrastructure part of the satellite on which the (typically scientific) payload is mounted. The conversation covers structure, thermal protection, energy supply, communication, guidance and attitude control as well as propulsion. This will be the last episode on space related topics for the time being :-)