Space technology company Vector’s GalacticSky division has announced that the software-defined GSky-1 microsatellite is on track for launch later this year.

Designed to work as an on-orbit testing platform for space-based applications, the GSky-1 has been developed with the University of Southern California’s (USC) Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI).

The technology enables developers to create an application and host it on an existing satellite or ad-hoc constellation comprising satellites in the GalacticSky ecosystem.

Vector co-founder, chief sales and marketing officer and GalacticSky SVP/GM Shaun Coleman said: “GalacticSky was created with the goal to bring the promise of space-based technologies to a much larger pool of entrepreneurs who don’t need to be space experts to build and deploy their ideas.”

Vector will remotely control the microsatellite once launched. It will be supervised by the SERC research team in Marina del Rey and a ground antenna in the USC campus.

“GalacticSky was created with the goal to bring the promise of space-based technologies to a much larger pool of entrepreneurs who don’t need to be space experts to build and deploy their ideas.”

The key mission of the microsatellite is planned for completion within three months of launch and it will later continue to operate and provide performance data.

GSky-1 will host advanced technology payloads for Nasa and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

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The payloads include the CrossTrac precision timing board, which provides users with programmable precision time reference by combining the short-term accuracy of an atomic clock with the long-term stability of a GPS receiver.

A Cateni processor/sensor flight board integrates data processing units with ethernet interfaces for communications between the vehicle and payloads, two Teledyne radiation dosimeters, and an integrated GPS with the groundbreaking MEMs incorporating six-axis MotionTracking.

Developed by Tethers Unlimited, TUI Versatile Structural Radiation Shielding provides a lightweight, cost-effective and customisable solution to support commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics to operate in a space radiation environment.

Vector Government Systems president Dr Darren Garber said: “The integrated Vector and SERC team successfully delivered GSky-1 on time and on budget within six months. Now, GalacticSky is ready to meet our users’ needs, and with SERC, we’re able to move as fast as our customers.”