UB-SPACE (University of Bremen – Image Processing for Determination of relative Satellite Motion) is an experiment flying on REXUS 21.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through the collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Experts from DLR, SSCZARM and ESA provide technical support to the student teams throughout the project. EuroLaunch, the cooperation between the Esrange Space Center of SSC and the Mobile Rocket Base (MORABA) of DLR, is responsible for the campaign management and operations of the launch vehicles.

What is UB-SPACE all about?

Space debris is a growing challenge in space flight. Yet, no promising solution has been implemented to remove the amount of debris surrounding our planet.

By using systems which are able to navigate autonomously, it is possible to realise a camera-based detection and removal of space debris, such as defective satellites. To enable an optimal preparation for these systems to fulfil such tasks, images of the approach of uncooperative objects in realistic space environment, as well as related data that describe the motion of the objects are essential.

To this day mainly visualizations are used instead of real images for the purpose of testing systems to approach other satellites, since real images are rare and not freely accessible.

Through our experiment we want to provide such series of images, showing the approach of a satellite. Therefore, one CubeSat is ejected and will be observed from the rocket via 360° camera view. In addition motion data from the CubeSat will be send to the rocket module. By means of image processing the relative motion of the satellites can be determined.

The recorded images, the measured data and a reconstructed relative motion will be published, so they are generally accessible and thereby allow everyone to work towards solutions to this global problem.