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15 Sep 2009, 00:50 UTC
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Credits: ESA – P. Carril, 2009

PROBA-2 is part of an ESA program called In-Orbit Technology Demonstration Program, which is dedicated to the demonstration of innovative technologies.

The PROBA-2 payload consists of scientific instruments that will make observations of the Sun in the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum and will measure certain properties of the plasma surrounding the spacecraft.

Among the new equipment and technologies demonstrated by PROBA-2 are new models of star trackers, GPS receivers, and reaction wheels, a new type of lithium-ion battery, an advanced data and power management system, composite carbon-fibre and aluminum structural panels, and magnetometers. PROBA-2 also hosts a digital Sun-sensor, an experimental solar panel, and a xenon gas propulsion system.

PROBA-2 will be launched onboard the same launch vehicle as SMOS. While the SMOS Mission will provide global maps of moisture over the Earth’s landmasses and salinity over the oceans, PROBA-2 is a small technology demonstrator. Launched as a secondary payload, PROBA-2 will orbit in the same plane as SMOS, but at a lower altitude. The planned mission duration is two years.

The spacecraft is a 600 mm x 700 mm x ...

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