Verhaert Design & Development, has contract as prime contractor to develop a 100 Kg spacecraft dedicated to orbital autonomy demonstration and to deliver it in orbit to ESA on a short timescale and at a very low cost.
The PROBA satellite will be "made in Belgium": 80% of the work will be in the hands of a consortium of industries located in Belgium. These comprise Verhaert D&D (design,development,integration,testing and launch), IMEC (digtal signal processor) and SAS (operations and ground segment). Spacebel informatique , in the French part of Belgium ,is responsible for the software of PROBA. Non-Belgium industries are associated with design and development of PROBA: British SIL (Space Innovations Limited) for the data control systems; German IRE ( part of Technical University of Berlin) for attitude and orbit control system (reaction wheels);and Finnish SSF ( Space Systems Finland) for software validation.
The total cost, for ESA, of the PROBA project is 13million ECU($ 14.5million), on including in the contract with The Verheart industrial team 1.5 million ECU ($1.6 million) for ESA management and ground testing , and ground testing ,and some 3 million ECU ($3.3 million) for the payload.
The technology PROBA satillite is nearly a cube (0.8 x 0.6 x 0.6 m) covered by gallium -arsenide solar cells on five faces. It is three-axis stabilised by a double-headed star traker, GPS receiver and a set of reaction wheels with the redundancy of miniaturized fiber-optic and solid-state gyros. It will use an on-board computer for spacecraft Autonomy in orbit. A high-performance RISC processor, the ERC 32, will perform spacecraft management including Guidance, navigation, control, housekeeping and monitoring on-board scheduling and resource management
The satellite will be put into a 820-km sun-synchronous orbit by an Indian PSLV(Polar Satellite LaunchVehical) from Sriharikota Island during summer 2000. PROBA will be launched as a piggy - back payload with an Indian Remote Sensing spacecraft and has to be developed within 26 months and ready by April 2000 for launch in July of that year. During the first three moths in orbit tests will be carried out for its in-orbit delivery to ESA.