It's time for a big update on our Dandelions-2 mission!

A very exciting time is coming up here at Dandelions. We have made significant progress on our mission Dandelions-2. Let's get into it!

What Is The Mission?

Dandelions-2 is a mission that tests a next-generation composite from our partner, BComp, who is supplying the composite materials being tested.

What are we testing for? Basically, we're testing if BComp's material has specific tensile properties when deployed in a space environment.

The long and short of it is that space is an unbelievably hostile environment - see our older blog post on space deployable sensor grids - and we need to work out if the material works!

Who Is The Launch Provider?

Our launch providers for this mission are the fine folks at Space Machines Company (SMC), specifically their Optimus platform.

This mission, known as a ridesharing mission, allows us to put Dandelions' technology in space on a budget as we 'share the ride' with a number of other Australian startups!

Specifically, 'Four Australian Start-ups have been added to Space Machines Companys’ (SMC) growing list of customers for the launch of its Optimus demonstration platform in 2022.  The organisations include Spiral Blue (who are providing onboard computing for space imagery), Esper Satellite Imagery, which specialises in hyperspectral imagery, Internet of Things (IoT) Provider, Dandelions and robotic arm company, Sperospace.'

So a number of space companies, such as Spiral Blue, Sperospace, Esper Satellite Imagery and Dandelions are putting their technology solutions together into a single payload, which is what gets launched!

Okay - that sounds cool, but can we see some pictures?

Progress Report On Dandelions-2

Right, just before the pictures, a quick progress report!

First, we finished the proto-qualification model as of October 2022. This is what it looks like!

Proto Qualification Model - Dandelions-2
Proto Qualification Model - Dandelions-2

This image is from our TVAC (Thermal Vacuum Chamber) test - which happened in November 2022, which helps simulate space environmental conditions as closely as possible by removing air and pressure, and subjecting components to thermal cycles (alternation of high and low temperatures, -200 °C to + 100 °C), while the pressure is maintained at a high vacuum level (i.e., typically below 10-6 mbar).

This is done to test if the assembly will be able to withstand the environmental conditions in outer space!

TVAC test at UNSW; Abishek, Joey, Harindi, Patrick, and James from the Australian space startup ecosystem!
TVAC test at UNSW; Abishek, Joey, Harindi, Patrick, and James from the Australian space startup ecosystem!

So here we have Harindi and Abishek, who you already know, with James from Spiral Blue, Patrick from Sperospace, and Joey from Esper!

Many thanks to the team at UNSW including Phil Allen from the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications supporting the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) facility where these tests happened.

Harindi led the electronics function for Dandelions-2, and here she is checking on its progress like a proud momma!

TVAC test at UNSW; Abishek, Joey, Harindi, Patrick, and James from the Australian space startup ecosystem!
TVAC test at UNSW; Abishek, Joey, Harindi, Patrick, and James from the Australian space startup ecosystem!

What Does Dandelions-2 Look Like?

These are images from the vacuum chamber. The first shows the chamber itself.

Clearly, you need to see a close-up!

What you are looking at here is, from left - Esper Satellite Imagery's hyperspectral camera, connected to Spiral Blue's space-rated computer behind it, the box on the top right is Sperospaces test robotic platform, and Dandelions-2 is in the foreground/bottom right.


Next Steps Prior To Launch

Right, so what are the next few milestones? We expect that the firmware will be completed by April/May 2023, which is the next big ticket item.

Following that, another shake table test is on the cards, which we will put a blog post out about too. This is likely to happen in May sometime.

Assuming everything checks out, this is when Dandelions-2 gets handed over to SMC for final preparations and integration into the satellite!

Woo! We are terribly excited, and hope you are too!

We'll leave you with a very cool render Michael, our new intern, put together in his spare time, we really hope you like it!

Michael Yaacoub putting his skills to use!
Michael Yaacoub putting his skills to use!