Press Release

Libre Space Foundation’s SIDLOC will be tested on ESA’s OPS- SAT satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
April 28, 2022
Filed under , ,

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced the participants of this year’s OPS-SAT
experiment, and Libre Space Foundation’s SIDLOC is among the 12 projects chosen.

A few words about ESA’s OPS-SAT initiative

OPS-SAT is an initiative funded by the ESA General Support Technology Programme. Its goal
is to give the experimenters the chance to exploit a low-cost, robust satellite that is dedicated
solely to testing. A satellite that contains a highly powerful experimental computer that is safe
and robust, so that the teams using it will be able to try out numerous experiments. Pushing the
30cm-high satellite to its limits, without worrying about any possible malfunctions due to
testing and on-board fail-safe mechanisms. As ESA describes it, “OPS-SAT is … a flying
laboratory” offering experimenters a range of resources; varying from processors to field-
programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), cameras, and an attitude determination and control

OPS-SAT has been used to help teams conduct their in-orbit demonstration experiments.
Experiments that would have been too risky to perform on a ‘real’ satellite. Throughout the
years of the Programme’s operation, more than 100 companies and institutions coming from 17
European countries have submitted their proposals to conduct experiments on the satellite.

A few words about SIDLOC

SIDLOC (Spacecraft Identification and Localization) is a project funded by the European
Space Agency, an ARTES activity, developed by Libre Space Foundation (LSF) and FORTH. It
is a project under active development and its goal is to create a proposed standard of
identification and localization for satellites and spacecraft. It will be achieving that via a radio
transmitted schema, paired with an open-source software and hardware implementation of the
SIDLOC standard. SIDLOC is being developed to provide properly designed, next-generation,

identification systems and help develop ways that difficulties and vulnerabilities can be dealt
with efficiently.

For this experiment, OPS-SAT will become the environment in which an extensive study will
be conducted using SIDLOC and a couple of ground stations. As SIDLOC is built to operate
using the downlink, (a feature not available on OPS-SAT), the LSF team will work on
retrieving essential information by testing the situation in reverse. They will use OPS-SAT as
the ground station, and one or more ground stations will be transmitting SIDLOC signals as if
they were satellites.

The results of the tests will be open and shared with everyone interested. After all, all the
operations and projects that LSF runs and maintains are focused on “spreading knowledge and
helping humanity broaden its horizons,” states Manthos Papamatthaiou, Chairman of Libre
Space Foundation.

About Libre Space Foundation

Libre Space Foundation (LSF) is a non-profit organisation designing and developing open-
source, space-related technologies. It was founded in 2015, and ever since, it has been focusing
on supporting knowledge, scientific research and working towards making space accessible to
everyone. True to its vision “for an Open and Accessible Outer Space for all”. Libre Space
Foundation maintains great collaborations with Space Agencies, University Institutions, Space
Organisations, Libraries and Companies that help make space open to all humanity. 

SpaceRef staff editor.