Project: Telescopes for the Polish PIAST satellite constellation

Project: Telescopes for the Polish PIAST satellite constellation

Segment:

In 2021 we became a part of a consortium forming the project for the precursor of the Polish Earth Observation Satellite Constellation (PIAST).

In the project, we are responsible for designing the optical payload – two high-resolution Earth observation telescopes that will provide information to support Polish defense and administrative entities.

Our task:

The solution is a response to the demand of the military industry. The project is realized in cooperation with Military University od Technology, Space Research Centre of Polish Academy of Sciences, Lukasiewicz Institute of Aviation, Creotech Instruments S.A. and PCO S.A. within the SZAFIR program.

What is PIAST?

The defense industry stands out from other recipients of satellite imaging due to its high requirements in terms of image quality – which is directly related to the need to identify the smallest details of recognized object. For this reason, the images provided by reconnaissance satellites should be of high resolution (for example: the resolution of Google Earth ranges from 15 to 1 meter or even less). This is one of the most important parameters of the optical systems of intelligence satellites.

 

Such satellites are not only the most accurate type of optical military equipment, but also the most expensive. Dual-use satellites are the meeting point of two most expensive and requiring the highest precision and reliability areas of industry – defense and space.

 

In response to the needs of the Polish defense sector, a consortium was established to implement the PIAST (Polish ImAging SaTellites) project under the SZAFIR program. The result of the cooperation will be a constellation of observation nanosatellites, which will be in orbit around the Earth in the next 4 years and will provide the intelligence data that can be used for Polish defense and administration.

 

Optical payload in PIAST

The essence of satellite imaging are very high spatial resolutions of the images. The aim of the PIAST activity is to provide images with a resolution that allows to identify basic situations and threats in the areas which are of interest to Polish defense and administration. Optical instrument which enables acquiring such scenes requires special design, various simulations in space-like conditions and tests.

In PIAST project this key aspect of the satellite is developed by e.g. engineers from Scanway. Our role is to deliver 2 out of 3 telescopes which will be used in the project (third one is developed by Space Research Center – CBK PAN).

Scope of the project:

To develop precursor of Polish Earth Observation constellation, capable of acquiring images with GSD of approx. 5 m. Important part of the project, due to the dual-use application, is development of all crucial components in Poland (incl. Scanway’s telescope).

Effects:

  • dedicated optics developed in-house;
  • athermal design of the telescope;
  • GSD of approx. 5 m;
  • small dimensions, scaleable;
  • ITAR-FREE and COTS;
  • robust and versatile design.

Timeline and partners:

Do you have any questions regarding PIAST?