It’s Friday night.
It’s been a long week.
You are intensively watching one of the last episodes of “How I met your mother” when you realize you are hungry. So, you drag yourself out off the couch, reach for the fridge handle, and… It’s empty. Completely empty.
It’s raining, it’s cold, and you are too tired: no way, you are leaving the house right now to go grocery shopping.
So, you unlock the phone, open a food delivery app, order a perfectly made hot ramen, and go back to the couch to watch your favorite series.
These delivery apps are such a blessing!
You didn’t even need to step outside the house and are served a delicious meal to recharge yourself.
In the world we are living today, we have everything disposable at home: water, electric energy, and, thanks to these apps, even hot meals and pharmacy products.
On Earth, everything is connected, easy to reach, available, and immediate.
On the Earth…but in space?
Well, unfortunately, in space, we don’t even have available a primary electric power network. There is no way a satellite can get electric power except the Sun and the onboard batteries. And when a satellite doesn’t have electric power, it’s comparable to space debris.
Electric power: vital source of satellites
Electric power is the essential source for a satellite: antennas, actuators, and the control system all rely on this. It can be available from the symbiotic relationship between solar panels and batteries. The batteries supply electric power to the system, and when needed, they are charged by the power coming from the solar panels. However, there are some problems related to this technology. Solar panels don’t always face the Sun (shade phase); consequently, they cannot recharge the batteries. Since the panels must exploit the sunlight phase as much as possible to fulfill the system’s needs, they must be oversized, increasing the system’s total mass and costs. So, from the technologies available today, setting electric power in space is complex, only sometimes disposable, and expensive.
What can we do?
SunCubes – an early-stage startup – has a revolutionary solution to this problem.
SunCubes: a groundbreaking solution
The fundamental idea of SunCubes is installing a power source directly in space that can recharge the satellites no matter the sunlight or shade phase!
SunCubes designed a network of satellites that are the power supplier to the customer satellites. The power will be transferred from the source to the receiver thanks to innovative laser technology! A complete electric power line can be installed directly in space, just like the one we have on Earth! In this way, the customer satellites don’t have to rely only on the Sun or the batteries to work; they now have one more degree of freedom!
This will add some advantages to a mission’s design, starting from increasing the mission’s flexibility. Thanks to this technology, the tasks a satellite can accomplish are not restricted anymore by the limited available power supply.
Moreover, this design will reduce the mass and the cost of the onboard batteries and the solar panels: no need to worry about equipping the satellite with power supplies from the Earth; it has everything it needs directly in space!
From an idea to success!
SunCubes was born during the 3rd “Italian Space Startup Competition” (organized by Space Generation Advisory Council), winning first place.
After this encouraging and positive feedback, SunCubes partnered with PoliSpace to acquire many team members and broaden the company’s horizons.
From now on, the startup achieved many great successes: starting from the Switch2Product, a start- up competition organized by Politecnico di Milano, where they won an accelerating pre-acceleration program and a cheque of 30,000 € to invest in the company. One of the main sponsors of this competition, Movyon, even started a Proof of Concept (POC) with SunCubes which will be carried out till the end of June!
SunCubes also participated in the T-TEC international competition organized by Telespazio, achieving the third position!
And who knows what the future will hold for SunCubes’ revolutionary idea!
For sure, it takes some courage, perseverance, and a good amount of stubbornness to pursue a dream. So, keep up the excellent work SunCubes!
And as Eugene Roddenberry – the creator of the Star Trek series -, once said: “It isn’t all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.”
“SunCubes is our way to shape the future we dream of. Space is our inspiration, and through hard work, passion and dedication, we will reach it”Alberto Chiozzi – CEO & CTO Co-Founder of SunCubes