iXblue’s inertial navigation system on board Ariane 5 with KASSAV 1

18 August.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, August 18th, 2020 - iXblue, in partnership with Safran Data Systems and on behalf of CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatial), has developed the inertial navigation system for KASSAV1 (Kit Autonome de Sécurité pour la SAuvergarde en Vol), KASSAV1 is an autonomous safety system designed to increase the performance of the current in-flight localisation system of European rockets launched from The European Space Port in French Guyana.

Relying on a hybrid technology, KASSAV1 uses data fusion from the inertial measurement unit (IMU) designed by iXblue and a GNSS sensor. The system has successfully been in service for the first time during the Ariane 5 launch on August 15th, 2020.  It has enabled the CNES to track autonomously and very precisely the launcher at all time.

iXblue benefits from 20 years of experience on the space market, with Astrix, its Fiber-Optic gyroscope (FOG), on-board of more than 25 satellites.  In the record time of 18 months, iXblue has developed a system able to maintain performance in the launcher’s extreme environments.

“iXblue is very proud to be part of KASSAV1”, states Guillaume Lecamp, Manager for iXblue Space Activities. “One of the biggest challenge was to create a system able to resist vibrations and shock while maintaining performance. In addition to this ability, it was designed to withstand vacuum and important temperature variations. The environment for Ariane rockets is exceptionally aggressive, and the KASSAV1 project demonstrates how robust the FOG technology and iXblue systems actually are.”

More info about the INS for launcher here