Tyvak International, European leader in small satellite solutions announced together with its project partners the successful achievement of Test Readiness Review of the Milani spacecraft. A critical component of the Hera planetary defense mission, Milani will be the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first deep-space nanosatellite. Milani will also be the first nanosatellite ever to orbit an asteroid. Tyvak International is responsible for Milani’s design, build, and mission operations. In this exploration, Tyvak International is joined by an excellent consortium of European industries and research centers from Finland, Czech Republic, and Italy.
As part of the world’s first test of asteroid deflection, following the successful impact of NASA’s DART spacecraft on asteroid Dimorphos, Hera will perform a detailed post-impact survey turning the experiment into a well-understood and repeatable planetary defense technique. To achieve its objectives Hera will be utilizing new technologies from autonomous navigation around an asteroid to low-gravity proximity operations. Hera will be humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system and Europe’s flagship Planetary Defender.
Milani, named after Professor Andrea Milani, the pioneer of asteroid risk analysis who came up with the original double-spacecraft Don Quijote mission concept from which the DART-Hera missions were derived, is a companion nanosatellite of Hera, carried by the mothercraft along the journey to Didymos, and ultimately released in its proximity. Milani’s instruments are the ASPECT hyperspectral imager (by VTT, Finland), the VISTA (Volatile In-Situ Thermogravimetre Analyser) dust detector, and the Navigation Camera developed by Tyvak International with the collaboration of Politecnico di Milano for Image Processing algorithms. Finally, laser reflectors (by INFN, Italy) will enable unprecedented gravity field measurements of the asteroid coupled with Hera’s laser range finder.
Tyvak International is part of the Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP) (“Terran Orbital” or the “Company”), a global leader in satellite-based solutions primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries. “Terran Orbital is proud of Tyvak International’s successful achievement of the Test Readiness Review,” said Terran Orbital Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Marc Bell. “We are honored by the trust placed in Tyvak International by ESA, and we look forward to continuing to design, build, deliver, and operate cutting-edge satellite solutions for missions, like Hera Mission.
“We’ve always been proud to be part of such a challenging mission and the Test Readiness Review is a crucial milestone for the program” said Tyvak International’s VP of Programs and Milani Program Manager Margherita Cardi. “In the last months we assembled the satellite and saw it taking shape day after day; It was a very exciting and emotional phase for me and the whole team”.
“Admiring the Milani spacecraft fully integrated brings lots of emotions that pay off the tens of thousands of hours of cutting edge engineering efforts,” said ESA Hera Project Manager Ian Carnelli. “Tyvak International has proved unprecedented commitment to bring this project from blueprints to reality, we can’t wait for the environmental test campaign to be completed and start testing with the Hera spacecraft. One step closer to Didymos.”