R&D project in partnership with the University Space Center of Montpellier (CSUM)

The context

Today around 2,000 satellites orbit Earth, supporting everything from weather forecasts to financial systems. However, 3,000 dead satellites and 34,000 pieces of space junk pose a threat to their safe operation every day. If we are to continue to maximise the benefits of space technology on Earth, we need to look for new approaches.

The project

The Expleo-led ENSO CubeSAT programme has successfully miniaturised satellites to just 10x10x10cm – small enough to hold in your hands. The in-house project is in partnership with the University Space Centre of Montpellier (CSUM), with Expleo creating a nanosatellite R&D platform that aims to help characterise the ionosphere by providing a signal to SANSA ground stations that measure solar activity and its impact on Earth.

Our partner

The CSUM provides the nanosatellite building platform, offering its field experience and expertise to shape the infrastructure and resources that are necessary for the launch of the nanosatellite. The Expleo team is in charge of embedding the software that captures data from space and also developing the communication instruments in the ground control station that will facilitate digital signal processing.


Nanosatellites have the potential to remove many of the barriers to entry for privatised and commercial space programmes, including space flight and environmental monitoring. ENSO will launch satellites to measure the impact of solar activity on Earth, furthering our knowledge of the world and space.

Expleo’s expertise in action

  • Systems engineering (embedded and imaging systems, measurement sensors)
  • Space engineering (testbench architecture, software Defined Radios (SDR))
  • Testing methods
  • Test phases and AIT (Assembly, Integration and Test)

What’s next?

With the cost of a nanosatellite dramatically lower compared to standard satellites, emphasis is now on reducing the cost of launch to support commercialisation. This will lower costs and accelerate deployment enough to make it possible for companies to launch their own satellite networks to support applications such as private telecoms networks, supporting economic growth.

Contact us for more information on R&D projects at Expleo.

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