Radiation Hardness Assurance

Austrian Cube Sat Pegasus in Space

Reinhard Schnitzer1, Carsten Scharlemann1, Michael Taraba2, Andreas Sinn3, Thomas Riel3
1 University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt Ltd., Austria
2 Space Tech Group


The PEGASUS CubeSat was developed by a consortium of Austrian entities, mostly consisting of students and university staff. The satellite was launched together with seven other CubeSats in June 2017 into a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) [1]. The PEGASUS team developed the majority of the satellite’s components by itself rather than using COTS. New concepts of structural elements and electronic components were developed and tested during the design process. Because of the limited budget of PEGASUS it was not possible to use space rated and radiation hardened electronic components. To a certain degree, design features such as redundancy, watch dogs, anti-latch-up circuits etc. were implemented in order to mitigate the risk due to the usage of non-space rated components.

Now, for almost one year, PEGASUS is working very successful in space. Since November 2017, the satellites collects science data and transmits them to one of the five grounds stations of the PEGASUS team. Although anomalies occurred during the operation, none could directly be linked to radiation. In the following, a summary of the operation and the data obtained is provided. Furthermore, an outlook is provided about the next mission CLIMB. CLIMB will directly tackle the issues with space radiation and the usage of COTS electronic components. For CLIMB, a novel multi emitter thruster will be tested to bring the satellite from a LEO to a higher orbit cloth to the Van Allen Belt. In this region, the Satellite is exposed to high concentrations of electrons in the range of hundreds of keV and energetic protons with energies exceeding 100 MeV.


[1] upload.qb50.eu/listCubeSat/ (4.4.2018)