The FOREST Series:
OroraTech Goes To Glasgow

Now that we finished our development on the FOREST payload and successfully passed the internal Flight Readiness Review, it was time to assemble our camera system into a CubeSat that will be launched into the vast nothingness of space. Our development team carefully packed up FOREST and we headed to Scotland, where Spire developed the satellite platform intended to host our payload. 

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Image 1: FOREST payload ready to board the plane

The journey was long and exhausting, but all we could think about were the final steps we needed to complete for our payload to be ready for the launch. Once we arrived in Glasgow, we settled into our apartment and prepared ourselves for the long week ahead.

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Image 2: mission patch for FOREST

We had an early morning the next day and finally got to meet the team from Spire who took us on a tour of their beautiful facility and showed us where we would be working throughout the week. We were able to exchange some best practices on how to develop a space system and had the chance to see the satellite platform for the first time. There was a designated spot dedicated to our FOREST payload and we could finally see everything really coming together.

Now the real work begins

On day two with Spire, we started the assembly of our camera system into the satellite platform. We worked meticulously throughout the entire day, ensuring the mechanical integration of the payload could not have been a smoother process. It fit like a glove and everyone had a huge smile on their faces and let out a sigh of relief. Our first satellite was finally in its complete form. FOREST was ready to be launched and we could not be more satisfied with the results.

Image 3: Laura working on the FOREST assembly in Glasgow

We spent the rest of the day performing tests to make sure everything was functioning properly. Once we connected with Spire’s network, everyone was very focused and triple checking that the results came out the way we saw them back in our lab in Munich.

What is next for FOREST?

We spent a lot of time discussing the future operation of our payload. Because we won’t have physical access to our payload when it is in space, we needed to sort out how to send instructions to the satellite, ensuring that we have enough time to actually prepare and test the process before launch. It was a long challenging day full of ideas and planning, but we finished the day confident with our decisions. 

“We are thrilled to have this successful integration campaign and anxiously waiting for the launch in January 2022! ”

After an exhausting and exhilarating week of assembly and testing, it was time to celebrate together with the Spire team. We all headed back to our temporary office and launched our Spire/OroraTech integration campaign party and really celebrated our partnership and the successful assembly of FOREST. 

Before we had to head home back to Munich, we needed to conduct the final tests on our integrated payload. Even though all of the hardware and mechanical work was done, we needed to make sure that our system was working and communicating as designed. We used our last full day in Glasgow to test our optic and our software, ensuring the optic was still focused and producing great images, and our software worked as expected.

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Image 4: The development team in the Spire lab in Glasgow

We would like to give a huge thank you to the Spire team for hosting us, showing us around their amazing facility, and for the partnership to launch our FOREST mission. We are thrilled to have this successful integration campaign and anxiously waiting for the launch in January 2022! 

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Image 5: The development team exploring Glasgow

Read more about how OroraTech became partners with Spire through their blog

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