Millimeter wave Array at Room Temperature for INstruments in LEO Altitude Radio Astronomy

The goal of MARTINLARA project is the design of a demonstration space mission in orbit, and the development of several technologies to be airborne validated, namely radio astronomy and earth observation instrumentation, space photonics and plasma micropropulsion, all of them carried out by research groups in the Community of Madrid. The project involves the development of a nanosatelite platform for aiborne validations.

The project addresses, among others, one of the main challenges faced by society nowadays: taking actions on climate change, which is recognized by the Spanish strategy of science, technology and innovation (Horizon 2020) as one of the eight biggest challenges the Spanish R+D+i should address, and falls within the Harmonisaiton plans of the European Space Agency (ESA). SENER and AIRBUS companies along with the Astrophysics Institute of Canary Islands (IAC) will participate as associate members of the project, having their own activities. The project has 5 main goals, which involve the development of the experimental technologies and the satellite platform:

1. Development and technological demonstration of a multiband array of mmwave photonic radiometers working with no cooling, for observing the cosmic microwave background.

2. Development and technological demonstration of mmwave photonic radiometers working with no cooling, for earth observation and retrieval of climate change parameters such as the atmospheric humidity and temperature, including the software for data postprocessing.

3. Demonstration of several functional spaceoriented technologies, including photonic technologies, gallium nitride amplifiers, and onboard retroreflectors for laser ranging measurements.

4. Development of the first Spanish electrical micropropulsion system with pulsed plasma, for the maintenance and orbital control of nanosatelites and its lifetime increase in low earth orbits.

5. Development of a versatile nanosatelite for the airborne demonstration of space technologies.

This project fits into the goals of the Community of Madrid's call, focusing specifically on the line "Tecnologías de acceso al espacio y demostración en órbita para pequeñas cargas de pago" and "Técnicas, equipamiento, instrumentación avanzada, sistemas a bordo, monitorización de satélites" of "AREA 2". It is expected that the developed technologies become a new paradigm for multiple types of space missions. In the short term this implies the development of new capabilities in the research groups, and the creation of a collaboration hub in the Community of Madrid on space technologies. In the mid and long terms it implies the integration in international projects on radio astronomy, earth science, and space micropropulsion, which have a significant impact in the solution of social problems (climate change, prediction of natural disasters such as earthquakes, access to Space). This is a multidisciplinary project that seeks the combination of several disciplines and techniques in the fields of space engineering, telecommunications, astronomy geodesy and geophysics.

The administrative program management is currently run by Noelia Casillas Macias (grupo GREMA- UC3M).

The project is co-financed by:

© 2020 Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Todos los derechos reservados. Photo Credit: Optical: ESO, X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Mich./S.Oey, IR: NASA/JPL
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