MICROSCOPE satellite: end of mission

SYRLINKS was an important partner in the success of the MICROSCOPE mission. The company developed and provided the GPS/GALILEO receiver integrated to the satellite.

The G-SPHERE-S receiver is a new GNSS space receiver. It is one of the main equipment allowing a precise operational restitution of the orbit and synchronization of the MICROSCOPE satellite. It has been manufactured using only COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) components, making it possible to have a very economical space equipment. The architecture of this product also offers a high level of performance in terms of processing capabilities, flexibility, scalability and power consumption.

The G-SPHERE-S GNSS receiver is thus making its first space flight on board the MICROSCOPE satellite. Thanks to data collected over the past six months, scientists have noted significant performances, with a PVT (Position, Velocity, Time) availability of 99.5%, and a TTFF (Time To First Fix) measured regularly at less than 100 seconds. For a first flight in orbit, the GNSS G-SPHERE-S receiver met the main challenges of the MICROSCOPE mission.

Today, the space missions proposed by the scientific community are becoming more and more demanding, so it is necessary to improve the equipment to meet these new challenges. The evolution of the Syrlinks G-Sphere-S receiver is currently under development. The objective is to increase performances by using several GNSS constellations and several GNSS frequencies.

The end of the MICROSCOPE mission is also marked by the passive de-orbiting of the satellite, a first in the space environment. The satellite decommissioning operation illustrates the commitment of the CNES to minimizing pollution and the proliferation of debris in low earth orbit. Indeed, thanks to an innovative device, MICROSCOPE will enter and burn in the atmosphere in about 25 years, in accordance with the atmospheric re-entry time criterion of the 2008 Space Operations Act (SOA).

The success of the de-orbitational process is part of the overall success of the mission, which aimed to verify Albert Einstein’s principle of equivalence. In December 2017, the first results of MICROSCOPE were revealed, the scientists confirmed the principle of equivalence with an accuracy of 2x10^-14, thus increasing the accuracy of the test by a factor of 10. MICROSCOPE's scientific teams are continuing to analyze all the data collected and will release the results by the end of 2019.