When two of Israel’s most prestigious technological institutes collide for collaboration, you know that they’ll bring innovation that’s out of this world. This was the literal mindset behind the partnership between the Technion Technology Institute and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), as it has yielded an advanced electronic receiver for nano-satellites.

The collaboration was part of Technion’s "ADELIS-SAMSON" project, in which three nano-satellites will be launched into space in December. The three satellites, which will fly in an autonomous formation without human intervention, are tasked with receiving signals from Earth and detecting their precise location for search and rescue, remote sensing, and environmental monitoring missions. The software and algorithms that control the flight were developed at Technion’s Distributed Space Systems Lab in the Asher Space Research Institute.

IAI CEO, Nimrod Sheffer, said, “The new development will help promote a new space research area. Collaboration with the Technion and other academic institutions is invaluable to us, as it promotes academic research and our future technological ventures. The receiver developed for this project offers a new way for space geo-location of ground electromagnetic signals. It is based on IAI’s extensive engineering know-how and experience in satellites, electronic warfare, intelligence interpretation systems, and communication networks.”

The electronic receiver, developed and built specifically for the "ADELIS-SAMSON" project by ELTA Systems, an IAI subsidiary, picks-up, identifies, and records signals from Earth.Then, using an information processing system is able to precisely calculate and locate the transmission. The miniature system was developed particularly for nano-satellites in order to extend the scope of the missions they can perform. The system integrates with the three mission computers developed by IAI’s MABAT Division.

Hovik Agalarian, Chief Electronics Engineer of the Asher Institute of Space Research, with the new receiver credit: Sharon Tzur

“We worked closely with IAI engineers on this development for more than five years,” said Prof. Gurfil. “The project showcases the benefits of academy-industry collaboration, which yielded an outstanding result in the form of an innovative space-borne system. We thank IAI engineers for their professionalism and commitment. The system we co-developed places ADELIS-SAMSON at the forefront of nano-satellite technology.”

The "ADELIS-SAMSON" project is headed by Professor Pini Gurfil, head of the Asher Space Research Institute and a faculty member in Technion Faculty of Aerospace Engineering and with the support of the ADELIS Foundation, Israel Space Agency, Ministry of Science and Technology, RAFAEL and IAI.