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Collection: Galaxy Space's technological achievements on low-cost mass production of satellite

By Yinhe Hangtian (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. wuzhenwic.org Updated: 2021-11-12

Galaxy Space is the leading satellite Internet solution provider and satellite manufacturer in China, also known as the pioneer of China's satellite on low-cost mass production.

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Galaxy Space has carried out a lot of work in the satellite development model, satellite design for mass production, manufacturing supply chain, and satellite mass production line. Technology research and production practice has gradually formed a low-cost mass production solution for small and medium-sized satellites. At present, Galaxy Space has built production bases covering whole-satellite development and stand-alone production in Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Chengdu, and built a satellite smart factory in Nantong, gradually forming a '1+1+3' (namely one whole-satellite production line, one whole-satellite verification line and three stand-alone production line) pattern for the satellite development of low-cost mass production. 

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The low-cost mass production results of Galaxy Space are as follows:

(1) Innovative model for satellite production
Galaxy Space has carried out the design of the satellite development process, namely reducing repeated disassembling and assembling, and decomposing the entire satellite assembly into several work units to reduce the mainline occupation; cutting the test projects, canceling satellite-rocket docking, thermal balance, quality characteristic test and magnetic test, using normal pressure thermal cycle instead of thermal vacuum test; the whole satellite will only undergo a precise test and leak detection work before going to the launch site for transportation; according to the launch requirement of one rocket with six satellites, the principle that a small batch of 6 satellites and a large batch of 30 satellites will be used to deliver and purchase for stand-alone equipment and related supply chains in batches; using 100 percent HALT/HASS ring test screening at the component level, and the appropriate random inspections and tests are carried out according to the development progress in the whole satellite stage so as to achieve quantitative control of stability, consistency and reliability.

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(2) Satellite design for mass production
Galaxy Space has optimized the cable network of the mass-produced satellites and designed and produced the cable network under modularization to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the low-frequency cable branch of the mass-produced satellites. The number of heaters pasted on the deck of the mass-produced satellite has been reduced by 80% through eliminating heaters pasted on the deck and lead bonding. Besides, the design of the heat pipe on the satellite's surface has been optimized, and all the heat pipes pasted on the satellite mark have been eliminated. What's more, the integrated and miniaturized design of the equipment on the satellite has effectively reduced the number of equipment and the volume and weight of the stand-alone equipment. For example, the return input multiplexer is improved to an integrated multiplexer, and the down converter and crystal oscillator are integrated into one product. By improving integrated stand-alone equipment, the number of the stand-alone satellite-installed mass-produced satellite has been reduced by 50 percent.

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(3) Flexible intelligent satellite production line

Galaxy Space has built a satellite smart factory in Nantong, which covers an area of 15,000 square meters. The production line of it is capable of 100-small-satellite production per year, which is suitable for the development of small satellites weighing 100 to 1000 kilograms. Furthermore, the production line is featured by intelligence, automation, and data transparency, which is expected to be put into trial operation in November 2021. Besides, Galaxy Space has built a 3000-square-meter production line for satellite verification in Shanghai with an annual production capacity of 10 satellites. The production line adopts intelligent equipment such as the robot assembly system, AGV transfer system, and digital control system. What is currently being carried out is the development and production of the first batch of 6 satellites.

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(4) Lean production control technology

Galaxy Space has developed a digital manufacturing system for satellite mass production, including cloud-based remote testing, resource management, production control, etc. It has realized remote multi-satellite cloud caching for test data and multi-satellite parallel testing. The efficiency of parallel testing is 2.5 times higher than single-satellite development. Through the preliminary small-batch satellite trial production, the process parameters of the satellite assembly, testing and test process are optimized, verified, and finalized. On this basis, the batch-oriented standard operation process (SOP, Standard Operation Process) has formed, thereby ensuring the stability, consistency, and reliability of satellite production operations.

By adopting the previous methods for mass production and through the advancement of innovative satellite design, satellite design for mass production, flexible intelligent satellite production line, and lean production control technology, Galaxy Space has achieved an annual production capacity of 200 satellites and realized the flexible production of different types of satellites weighing 100 to 1000 kg. The pulsation cycle is 1.5 days. The number of stand-alone machines supporting a single satellite is reduced by 50 percent, and the production cycle of a single satellite is 30 days, which is 70 percent shorter than the single satellite development cycle.

 


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