Inertial Navigation for Space

INS for launchers, Astrix gyroscopes and IMU

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Guillaume Lecamp

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iXblue is a leading manufacturer of high-performance inertial navigation systems for space applications.

iXblue has designed and manufactured for 20 years the Astrix gyroscopes in partnership with Airbus Defence & Space. The Astrix gyroscopes, based on iXblue FOG technology, is suitable for a large spectrum of space applications from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and even Lagrange points. They are designed to withstand the challenges of harsh and radiative space environments.  iXblue has also developed and qualified a safety Inertial Navigation System for launcher, which is on board all Ariane 5 since 2020 and in Ariane 6 from 2022. Finally, iXblue is developping the first European, cost-effective IMU for space applications.

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Astrix, space proven gyroscopes

High performance and reliable solutions

 

With more than 6 million hours in orbit and 20 years of experience, our gyroscopes have a strong reputation for performance and reliability in space environment. We provide fail-safe inertial solution for numerous space applications such as military and scientific satellites, global navigation satellites including Galileo, telecommunications and Earth observation satellites. Astrix gyroscopes can be used  in all orbits (LEO, MEO and GEO) and also at Lagrange points and for interplanetary missions.

Specifications

  Astrix NS Astrix NS Astrix 90 Astrix 90 Astrix 200 Astrix 200
Size 100 x 100 x 100 mm φ 263 mm x h 192 mm Sensor φ 330 mm x h 280 mm and elec 150 mm x 145 mm x 295 mm
Mass 1.4 kg 4.5 kg 12.7 kg
Power consumption (EOL) 7W 13.5 W 22.5 W
ARW 0.005 °/√h < 0.005 °/√h < 0.0001 °/√h
Bias stability over 1 h (steady temperature) < 0.02 °/h < 0.01 °/h < 0.0005 °/h
Bias stability end of life (all effects included) 0.2 °/h 0.3 °/h
Scale factor stability after launch @ 3σ (all effects included) <200 ppm 300 ppm 30 ppm
Scale factor linearity @ 3σ <200 ppm 500 ppm 10 ppm
Measurement range (full performances) 60°/s qualified. Higher speed on demand 60°/s qualified. Higher speed on demand 60°/s qualified. Higher speed on demand
Start up time < 1 s < 3 s < 3 s
  Ask for quote More info More info
  Astrix NS Astrix NS Astrix 90 Astrix 90 Astrix 200 Astrix 200
Size 100 x 100 x 100 mm φ 263 mm x h 192 mm Sensor φ 330 mm x h 280 mm and elec 150 mm x 145 mm x 295 mm
Mass 1.4 kg 4.5 kg 12.7 kg
Power consumption (EOL) 7W 13.5 W 22.5 W
ARW 0.005 °/√h < 0.005 °/√h < 0.0001 °/√h
Bias stability over 1 h (steady temperature) < 0.02 °/h < 0.01 °/h < 0.0005 °/h
Bias stability end of life (all effects included) 0.2 °/h 0.3 °/h
Scale factor stability after launch @ 3σ (all effects included) <200 ppm 300 ppm 30 ppm
Scale factor linearity @ 3σ <200 ppm 500 ppm 10 ppm
Measurement range (full performances) 60°/s qualified. Higher speed on demand 60°/s qualified. Higher speed on demand 60°/s qualified. Higher speed on demand
Start up time < 1 s < 3 s < 3 s
  Ask for quote More info More info

Astrix NS, a lightweight, performant, space qualified COTS gyroscope for New Space challenges

iXblue has developed a dedicated gyroscope, Astrix NS, to address the new challenges of the space industry. It brings high-inertial performance and reliability in a compact design and at a competitive price.

This lightweight gyroscope provides an ARW at 0.005°/√h (standard performance) and down to 0.0025°/√h (high performance) together with an unrivalled scale factor stability below 200 ppm. Its electronic hardware is based on automotive electronic components space qualified by Airbus Defence & Space, enabling a competitive price.

Astrix NS is ITAR free and compatible with missions in low Earth orbits and in geostationary orbit including electrical orbit rise through Van Allen radiation belt. It is also well-suited for constellations that require compact and competitive equipment that can be produced in volume and in a short lead time.

Download the datasheet

Astrix 200/120, world-ultimate inertial performance and high-reliability

Astrix 200 offers the best inertial performance in the world for civilian space applications: its ARW of 1.10-4 °/√h coupled with a very stable scale factor (< 30 ppm EOL) makes it unrivalled by any other gyroscope technology qualified for space. It has been selected by very demanding customers all around the world, including European Space Agency (ESA) for Aeolus, Sentinel 2, Solo and MTG programs.

Fully qualified for long lifetime and permanently ON missions, Astrix 200 is used  in major and critical missions for science, military and Earth observation.

Download the datasheet

Astrix 200 for Pléiades: high resolution imaging satellites

The Pléiades satellites observe and take pictures of any part of Earth with a 50 cm resolution every day since December 2011. To reach this level of performances at that date, Pléiades satellites rely on a very sensitive optical detector and the Astrix 200 gyroscopes. Originally planned for a 5-year lifetime, the Astrix 200 on board Pléiades have been still working for more than 10 years.

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Astrix 90, versatility and reliability

Astrix 90 is a high-performance and very reliable (high-rel EEE and opto-components) 3- axis fiber-optic gyroscops. It is particularly suited to GEO missions and telecom applications. Indeed, it is designed to continuously operate for 15 years in GEO missions and within radiation demanding environment.

On board +64 satellites, most of them for telecom applications, Astrix 90 provides high inertial performance for space navigation during orbit rise, attitude control and for  recovery in case of major incident.

This gyroscope can also be used for deep space probes and accelerometers can be added to use Astrix 90 as an IMU.

Download the datasheet

Astrix 90 for ExoMars

ExoMars mission is embarking an Astrix 90 for the navigation during the travel to Mars and to manage the very sensitive and difficult landing phase on Mars. Astrix 90 gyroscopes  and accelerometers have been qualified for this very harsh environment and for the high speeds, accelerations and shocks of the landing phase.

The primary goal of the ExoMars mission is to address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars and it includes the Rosalind Franklin rover. The mission is planned for launch in 2022 and for landing 10 June.

 

 

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INS for launcher

Qualified and on board launchers since 2020

 

Combining iXblue Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG), iXblue, own vibrating accelerometers and a dedicated highly robust hybridization algorithm, the safety inertial navigation system (INS) dedicated to launchers is used on all Ariane 5 since 2020. It will be on board Ariane 6 from 2022.

 

Robustness and high performance

One of the key elements of this INS is its ability to resist vibrations (27 grms random) and shock while maintaining high-performance during take-off at high speed and altitude. In addition, it withstands vacuum, important temperature variations and very high speeds. This project for launcher demonstrates the robustness and the precision of iXblue FOG and accelerometer technologies together with system design.

PERFORMANCES  
FOG ARW 0.03 °/√h
FOG bias stability at 12 months @ 3s 0.1°/h
FOG scale factor at 12 months @ 3s 300 ppm
Accelerometer bias at 12 months 0.001 g peak
Accelerometer scale factor at 12 months 300 ppm peak
Accelerometer range ± 50g
GNSS Galileo. GPS. Glonass. BeiDou…
Position precision (for all environments and speeds) below 20 m
Alignement duration static below 30 minutes
Bandwidth up to 100 Hz
ENVIRONMENT  
Temperature (full performances) ‘0°C to 50°C
Vibration (full performances) 22g sin and 27 g rms random
Shock (full performances) Up to  5 000 g up to 25 kHz
Vacuum (full performances) withstands space vacuum
MECHANICAL INTERFACE  
Mass 3.85 kg
Volume HLW = 157 mm x 334 mm x 184 mm
ELECTRICAL INTERFACE  
Power bus 20 V to 34 V
Communication RS 232 and RS422
Power 18 W

 

EURISA IMU

Developing a European, space  Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)

 

iXblue is leading EURISA, a H2020 European Commission project with 3 major actors of the European space ecosystem – Airbus Defence and Space, ETH Zurich, German Aerospace Center (DLR). The project aims at developing a European compact, performant and cost-effective IMU to ensure European non-dependence on critical equipment for space. EURISA is based on iXblue Astrix NS gyroscope and used iXblue compact accelerometers.

The first IMU engineering models will be available for customers early 2024 and a qualified version is planned for 2025 for future space missions.

 

 

 

 

 

More info about EURISA

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Downloads

Datasheet Astrix NS

(440 KB)
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Datasheet Astrix 200

(943 KB)
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Datasheet Astrix 90

(718 KB)
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