Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Revolv Space seeks to expand satellite duty cycles

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun3,2024

SAN FRANCISCO – Startup Revolv Space, based in the Netherlands and Italy, seeks to carve out a niche for itself as a small satellite power-generation specialist.  

After raising 2.6 million euros ($2.83 million) in a recent investment round and space qualifying its first product, Revolv Space is “looking into innovative ways of generating power” like flexible solar arrays and rollout arrays, Filippo Oggionni, Revolv co-founder and chief commercial officer, told SpaceNews.

Four Delft University of Technology students founded Revolv in 2022 to develop the type of mechanisms and moving parts common on large satellites for the growing small satellite market. In late May, Revolv announced the investment round led by Primo Ventures of Italy’s Primo Space Fund and supported by Italy’s Takeoff Accelerator.

“Nowadays, small satellite operators care a lot about performance,” Oggionni said. “With increasing performance, you need different technologies.”

Companies have sprung up to supply small satellite reaction wheels, antennas and propulsion systems.

“What was still missing were the power-generation technologies,” Oggionni said. “There has been little innovation in solar arrays. That’s why we started with a mechanism that points the solar arrays to the sun to maximize power generation.”

SARA

Solar Array Drive Assembly, or SARA, Revolv Space’s first product was space-qualified in March. Now, SARA has been delivered to two customers in preparation for an initial launch in late 2024 or early 2205.

“That’s only the first step in the bigger ecosystem of our products that we want to build,” Oggionni said.

Overall, Revolv Space is focused on products to help satellites extend their duty cycles.

“A lot of small satellites were only capable to work for five percent of the time they spend in orbit,” Oggionni said. “Clients want the platform to be operational for longer.”

An important step in that direction is being able to generate power while operating payloads. Synthetic aperture radar satellites, for example, are notoriously power hungry. Even satellites with passive payloads seek additional power for onboard data processing, Oggionni said.

“We see different requirements from different areas converging to the same pattern. Satellites require more performance and among all subsystems,” Oggionni said. “It’s more pressing on the power side.”

Funding Round

With the latest funding, Revolv Space is preparing for in-orbit demonstrations of SARA. In addition, the company is expanding its staff and facilities.

“We are boosting our production capabilities to serve larger customers,” Oggionni said. “Not only orders of one or two products, but batch orders for constellations.”

A large version of SARA is also in the works for satellites with a mass of 500 kilograms or less.

Revolv Space conducts research and development at the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Turin, Italy is the base for the company’s product development, production and commercialization work.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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