January 18, 2022

Sophisticated GPS Technology in Space will Save Lives on the Ground

The Technion and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have collaborated to create a sophisticated system for satellites that can accurately pinpoint the location of distress signals from Earth for search and rescue missions, along with other applications such as environmental monitoring. The technology was built for the ADELIS-SAMSON Project, set to launch in December, in which three autonomous, miniature satellites will fly in controlled formation for the first time ever.

The mission is headed by Technion Professor Pini Gurfil, director of the Norma & Helen Asher Space Research Institute (ASRI) and a member of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. Under his direction, scientists in the ASRI’s Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Family Foundation Distributed Space Systems Lab developed the software and algorithms that control the flight. IAI built an electronic receiver that picks up, identifies, and records signals from Earth, and is considered an innovation for nanosatellites. The system integrates with three mission computers developed by IAI.

“We worked closely with IAI engineers on this development for more than five years,” said Prof. Gurfil. “The project showcases the benefits of academy-industry collaboration, which yielded an outstanding result in the form of an innovative space-borne system. We thank IAI engineers for their professionalism and commitment.” The system, he said, “places ADELIS-SAMSON at the forefront of nanosatellite technology.”

“The new development will help promote a new space research area,” IAI CEO Nimrod Sheffer added. “Collaboration with the Technion and other academic institutions is invaluable to us, as it promotes academic research and our future technological ventures. The receiver developed for this project offers a new way for space geo-location of ground electromagnetic signals.”

ASRI was established in 2009 with funding from the late Chicago donors, Helen Asher and her husband, Norman. The ADELIS-SAMSON project is supported by the ADELIS Foundation, the Goldstein Foundation, and Israel’s Space Agency.