Mission Requirements

INFANTE aims at changing the game in Earth Observation with innovative concepts and develop the space capabilities in Portugal. To these ends INFANTE is designed as a system of systems, integrating space, ground and launch segments to demonstrate satellite-based applications, and the performance of the satellite bus and its subsystems.
Thre Earth Observation applications have been selected as case studies, mainly focussed in the Atlantic area.

  • Maritime surveillance: INFANTE will identify ships in the Atlantic and report alerts to users.
  • Environmental monitoring: INFANTE will monitor slow evolving environmental phenomena (such as oil spills or algal blooms) and report data to users.
  • Extreme event detection and monitoring: INFANTE will detect and monitor fast evolving phenomena (e.g. fires, floods, extreme meteorological event or other) and report data to users.

To demonstrate these three applications, INFANTE team will work closely with end users, both Portuguese and international, and integrate a Synthetic Aperture Radar and a Multispectral Camera in a fully autonomous microsatellite.
Some of the satellite’s main features will be:

  • 3-axis stabilised satellite, using an active ADC system, to provide the necessary attitude and stability for the operation of the Earth Observation payloads.
  • Sustainable power system building on solar panels and batteries to cope with the demanding power consumption from subsystems and payloads.
  • Down/up link with the ground is required to send commands to the satellite and to receive high-resolution payload data.
  • Propulsion system to maintain the orbit throughout the mission and ensure there is enough time for the demonstration of systems and applications.

INFANTE will be launched to LEO in 2020 requiring also the implementation of innovative processes for development, production, verification of the satellite and ground segment.

Enhancing knowledge, protection and the value of Oceans

The Oceans are, simultaneously, the host for key ecosystems, the source for significant economic activity, a dominant contributor for global climate and environmental balance. However, it commonly agreed that there is a substantial lack of capabilities to properly explore, study, monitor and sustainably exploit Oceans.
Microsatellite constellations are expected to become critical towards covering this gap since they provide additional capabilities to existing observation systems, namely by ensuring more frequent imagery.
This benefits Portugal, sea fairing nations and ultimately the World, by empowering people and institutions to better know the Oceans, protect them, ensure the sustainability of their exploitation, and monitor sea and air traffic in these regions; therefore contributing to fulfilling the framework of Ocean related responsibilities.

A new age for the Portuguese Space Industry

The Portuguese Space industry is in constant evolution for the last 20 years, with a growing involvement in international programmes, such as the ones implemented through the European Space Agency (ESA) or the Horizon 2020. With INFANTE, starts a new age for Space in Portugal. Being the first satellite of the Portuguese industry, leveraged by the New Space paradigm shift, INFANTE will prepare the way for new products and services leveraged with innovative business models.
INFANTE builds on the capabilities of internationally recognised companies that are strongly engaged in international Space R&D programmes in the areas of structures, avionics, communications and propulsion. These companies are supported by state-of-the-art research and innovation centres to enhance the capability to tackle challenges of increasing complexity.
The INFANTE consortium provides the place for this articulation to happen, aligning, for the first time, the main Space industrial and technological players towards a common goal.

About INFANTE

INFANTE is an R&D project for the development and in-orbit demonstration of technology for a small satellite, precursor for Earth observation constellations.
The project’s Space segment includes a low-cost and modular bus; a communications system based on software-defined radio equipped with advanced functions; a small propulsion system; deployable panels with solar arrays and antennas; SAR and multi-spectral camera and a payload bay for scientific experiments and equipment for validation.
The Ground segment includes the development of an innovative toolkit to fast-track assembly, integration and testing of small satellites; and a “data hub” to aggregate, process and disseminate data.
INFANTE is led by TEKEVER ASDS and puts together renowned Portuguese companies in the field of Space, such as Active Space Technologies, GMV, HPS, Omnidea and SpinWorks, amongst others; internationally recognised R&D centres such as CEIIA, FCT-UNL, FEUP, INL, IPN, ISEP, ISQ, ISR Lisboa, IT Aveiro and UBI; national partners like Deimos Engenharia, Edisoft and Optimal; end-users such as IPMA, INIAV or the Portuguese Maritime Authority and international organisations.
INFANTE stems from the new opportunities created by the emergence of New Space together with Space-related expertise developed in Portugal over the last 20 years.