Our talk at CYSAT 2023
CYSAT 2023 was held on 26 and 27 April in Station F, in Paris' 13th arrondisement. Station F is a corporate campus that houses more start-ups than any other campus in the world, making it a lively and interesting location for this conference. It should be no surprise then that CYSAT featured some interesting start-ups, but also the big players like ESA were present. No better place for Wouter and Chris to introduce their work, which launched Ferris 🦀 into space!
French company GAMA have been working hard on their mission of revolutionising space transportation and to enable deep space exlporation in the most innovative way; On 11 January 2023, GAMA launched its first satellite, the GAMA Alpha mission, on SpaceX's Falcon 9 to demonstrate the deployment and control of a solar sail.
The idea behind this technology is that, once launched, a satellite can use its rotational force to deploy an extremely thin, lightweight sail that is designed to reflect photons that will, ultimately, propel the satellite forwards. The actual workings of the sail are not as straightforward as this may sound, as photons don't have any mass, and therefore cannot propel the sail with the same kind of kinetic energy that pushes a sailboat through the water. However, as the massless photons hit the reflective sail at an immense speed (the speed of light, of course), which causes them to be absorbed by the sail, their momentum is transferred to the sail which results in constant propulsion.
Of course, befitting such a revolutionary piece of technology, GAMA needed the software for their critical mission to be extremely reliable; that's why they chose Rust as the core technology of their software systems.
The slides to Wouter and Chris' CYSAT talk are available here.
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