Our Centre of Excellence for Advanced ADCS Components, Propulsion and Laser Communications
Founded in 2013 Hyperion Technologies joined AAC Clyde Space in 2020 and are now known as AAC Hyperion. Our company AAC Hyperion is based in Delft, the Netherlands, and specialises in high performance components for small spacecraft. It is renowned for its attitude and orbit control technologies and laser communications. Access to this key technology adds substantial capability to AAC Clyde Space’s missions offering.
AAC Hyperion has built a global market presence, supplying a range of customers to some of the world’s largest space companies and different institutions like universities, from the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, D-Orbit, to the University of Maribor and Aalto University. The company collaborate closely with Dutch research institutes and supply chain partners on technology for optical satellite communications, a key technology for future satellites.
What we do
Amongst the most popular products – and at the same time those with most flight heritage – AAC Hyperion counts its Star Tracker, one of the world’s smallest Star Trackers. In joining AAC Clyde Space they bring with them a full range of high-performance sensors for attitude determination, advanced attitude control solutions, integrated ADCS, navigation components, payload processing units to chemical propulsion and laser communications solutions for nanosatellites
Laser communications are seen as a major potential enhancement to small satellite capabilities in the future, greatly increasing data transmission speeds for small satellites compared to current radio communications, which are restricted by limited bandwidth, high power demand and lengthy licensing processes.
AAC Hyperion Advanced ADCS Components & Laser Communications in Operation
AAC Hyperion are long term partners with a number of leading institutes within the space industry, together with company Celestia STS and the Dutch Research Institute TNO, they have developed components for optical ground stations: a specialised Gigabit Detector and an Optical Modem, both capable to operate up to 10 Gbps.
Via a Dutch consortium consisting of TNO and AAC Hyperion, to name a few, they will be launching a jointly developed laser satellite terminal into space. Target launch is set for early 2022 on board the NorSat-TD satellite. The plug-and-play terminal, called CubeCAT, will enable future small satellites to downlink data with speeds up to 1 Gbps and uplink of 200 Kbps. Currently, small satellites are limited in bandwidth using radio communications with much slower throughput. In addition, the application process to obtain a licence to send and receive on a dedicated radio frequency takes often one to two years. This is not the case for laser communication.
First 3D printed propulsion system in space
AAC Hyperion commercialised a 1U CubeSat propulsion module with Dawn Aerospace. The solution which has since launched in 2020, was the first ECSS compliant 3D printed bi-propellant propulsion system to be allowed to be launched to space. Not only was it the first but it uses non-toxic green propellant. This reduces risks in handling propulsion systems with regards to health and safety. It can even be shipped fully fuelled or can be fuelled by the customer. Making propulsion systems more easily accessible to CubeSat clients. It enables them to prolong mission lifetime, and de-orbit safely at the end of mission, reducing space debris.
Star tracker and Integrated ADCS
The AAC Hyperion star tracker and integrated ADCS was utilised in the AAC Clyde Space built 3U scientific CubeSat, PICASSO (Pico-Satellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations), an earth observation demonstration mission for the European Space Agency. PICASSO, launched in 2020, is monitoring sunlight filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere to check the health of our ozone layer and map ozone concentration profiles.