A consortium including Celestia STS been selected by European Defence Fund to develop a less than 100 kg satellite to be placed in geostationary orbit (GEO) for space situational awareness. The satellite, named NAUCRATES, is not to be trackable from ground radar, optical telescope or radio telescope. It is set to be
the first European GEO satellite for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) in GEO.
In the scope of this project Celestia STS will design two Optical Modem prototypes for future optical ground station to enable direct-to-earth (DTE) laser satellite communication.
The project Kicked-Off in December 2022 and will finish in 36 months.
The project “Microsatellite for Geostationary Orbit Surveillance and Intelligence” (NAUCRATES) will design and demonstrate a microsatellite with less than 100kg mass, positioned in a stable orbit outside the GEO belt, as an in orbit optical sensor with the capability to approach other objects in GEO to take centimeter level resolution images. The NAUCRATES satellite, with an envisaged 3 to 5 years lifespan, will feature a stealth design not to be visible by ground radars, telescopes or SIGINT and will host an optical telescope using special infrared for images transmission to minimize eavesdropping possibilities.
Related PESCO project: European Military Space Surveillance Awareness Network (EU-SSA-N).