FEE CTU Space Activities Report
Institution Profile and SWOT Analysis
CTU is the oldest and most prestigious technical university in the Czech Republic. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FEE) itself ranks among top ten research institutions in the Czech Republic in the long run. We produce approximately 30 % of research results of the whole CTU. FEE comprises 17 departments. Our faculty provides first-class educations in the fields of electrical engineering and informatics, electronics, telecommunications, automated control, cybernetics and computer engineering. Our faculty has wide-ranging scientific collaboration with top universities and research institutes in the world. We work on specific research and innovation projects per order of our industrial partners as well as security and military institutions. We participate in space projects, we work for government agencies. We solve a wide range of international and national grant projects of primary and applied research.
Strengths: Tradition, link to education, dedicated PhD students, collaboration with the Academy of Sciences
Weaknesses: dissipation, under-funding
Opportunities: New international programmes
Threats: brain-drain, some teams rejected by well-established exclusive consortia
Information about participation of your institution in the area of space activities
FEE CTU participated considerably in the Interkosmos programme since 1975 in collaboration with AsÚ ČSAV (Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic). We took part in AUOS, FOBOS I and FOBOS II projects. Our activities were related to the development of GSE and image sensors for the X-ray area. Besides that, we actively collaborated with the group of dr. Barta, FzÚ ČSAV (formerly ÚFPL, Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) to develop new materials, where we participated in measurement of the optical properties of these materials. Dr. Barta also worked on the preparation of materials in the micro-g environment at MIR space station.
Three-axis fluxgate magnetometer for the Czech MIMOSA satellite (P. Ripka).
Complete design, fabrication, calibration and testing. The device worked flawlessly in orbit. Solar-panel geometry design to minimise disruptive magnetic fields (in cooperation with EPFL).
Space stations – collaboration with DLR Germany
The staff of the Department of Electrical Drives and Traction (K13114) of FEE CTU in Prague participated in the projects of designing and implementation of experimental scientific appliances for space research at MIR and ISS space station. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) catered for the projects; Humboldt University in Berlin, DLR Köln and BBT companies and many others participated in the partnership. The realised appliance was designed for the European Space Agency (ESA). The designed appliance served for physicals experiments at high temperatures and microgravity at a space station. The first type named TITUS was placed to MIR space station and within the frame of EUROMIR programme, astronauts from Germany, France and Russia successfully performed their experiments on it. TITUS worked smoothly at MIR station from 1996 to 2001. The next appliance, AdvancedTITUS, significantly extended and more complicated and further equipped with non-vibrating platform is designed for ISS space station.
ESA – Direct Participation in ESA Satellite Projects
Direct participation in ESA satellite projects is very important, specifically direct participation (consortium membership) in ESA INTEGRAL satellite - OMC (Optical Monitoring Camera) onboard experiment and this satellite’s data centre –IDSC INTEGRAL Science and Data Centre (ESA, 2002). Doc. R. Hudec – consortium member.
Direct participation in large satellite ESA XEUS, IXO, and ATHENA research (Doc. R. Hudec – member of committees for space X-ray telescope preparation).
Direct participation in design and research of ESA LOFT satellite project – candidate ESA mission in M3 mission contest. CTU and Doc. R. Hudec – co-designers of the satellite and main satellite consortium members, a number of CTU employees in the team.
ESA PECS Projects
The Department of Electromagnetic Field is involved in space activities in the area of propagation of electromagnetic waves. The activities take the form of collaboration with ESA/ESTEC. ESA PECS project No. 98069 "Building Penetration Measurement and Modelling for Satellite Communications at L, S and C-Band" was researched at the Department in 2009-2010, and at the present time, the project "Propagation Models for Interference and Frequency Coordination Analyses", ESA Contract No. 4000105298/12/NL/CLP within the frame of Artes 5.1 is being researched. The proposal for goal supplementation and contract extension for three more months is in process. See below for project details. Furthermore, Prof. Pavel Pechač is a member of The Network of Experts on Propagations with ESA/ESTEC.
In particular, the mentioned project was ESA PECS project No. 98069, Building Penetration Measurement and Modelling for Satellite Communications at L, S and C-Band, 2009-2010, Prime contractor: FEE CTU in Prague, K13117, Main researcher: prof. Ing. Pavel Pechač, Ph.D.
The aim of the project is the measurement and modelling of penetration of signal into buildings for satellite communications in L, S and C-bands. ... study of propagation of electromagnetic waves from a satellite into buildings in house-buildings for use in future satellite systems. In the summer of 2009, extensive measurements of losses during signal penetration into buildings for satellite services in L, S and C bands took place in Prague, in five representative types of buildings. A small remotely controlled airship carrying the broadcasting part of the measuring equipment was used as the so-called “pseudo-satellite”. The main contribution was the design of new empirical models for inhibition of signal penetration into buildings for satellite systems in L, S and C bands. Results were published in international magazines and presented at several conferences. For new models, see Kvicera, M. - Pechac, P.: Building Penetration Loss for Satellite Services at L-, S- and C-band: Measurement and Modeling, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. 2011, vol. 59, no. 8, p. 3013-3021.
ESA Direct Contracts
The employees of FEE CTU also succeeded in obtaining direct ESA contracts, namely:
ESA Contract No. 4000105298/12/NL/CLP, Propagation Models for Interference and Frequency Coordination Analyses, 2012-2013, Prime contractor: FEE CTU in Prague, K13117, Subcontractor: Český metrologický institut (Czech Metrology Institute), Main researcher: prof. Ing. Pavel Pechač, Ph.D. The aim of the project is to develop of wave propagation models and corresponding radiometeorologic global maps for statistic prediction of high-frequency interference of ground terminals and and frequency coordination analysis, which will be implemented in a software tool. The development is based on ample experimental activity. The results will presumably be even passed on to ITU-R SG3. For more info, see http://telecom.esa.int/telecom/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=32312.
Cooperation with BBT Materials Processing company, led by Dr. Barta jr., has currently resulted in our collaboration in ESA DEMON project, within the scope of GTSP ESA programme "Development of Quality Evaluation Methods for Calomel Optical Elements" No. 4000104863/11/NL/PA. The project is related to designing optical methods for new material quality assessment and potential optical application of these materials.
Projects within the scope of ESA Task Force CZ
David Šišlák, a member of K336 (Department of Computer Science) submitted a project to ESA dealing with autonomous planning, execution and monitoring of a mission. The aim of the project was to support the PhD studies of David Kabath, who came from an ESA internship in the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt. The project is related to planning goal-oriented missions for satellites using multi-agent technologies with the aim to develop a system capable of fully autonomous “on-board” operation. As of now, we don’t know whether the project was successful or not.
Other projects within the scope of ESA Task Force were submitted by the teams of Doc. J. Roháč (Optical Star Tracker) and Doc. R. Hudec (X-ray Monitor), but these were not admitted for funding.
The appliance was developed to order for VZLU (Aerospace Research and Test Establishment). It facilitates testing and calibration of the device under land conditions. The appliance is used in the SWARM satellite project.
The beginnings of activities of Radio Signals and Systems group led by Prof. F. Vejražka date back to the 1970’s, when we started to deal with satellite navigation. The work was influenced by the fact that information in CSR at that time was unavailable due to an “internal embargo”, when all public sources were confiscated by the Ministry of the Interior. In spite of that, experiments with signal reception from NNSS naval system and later GPS were successfully performed.
The experiments were later executed with support of MESIT (later DICOM) company in Uherské Hradiště, and VÚ 060, the military research institute at that time. Several variations of an experimental GPS receiver were constructed; the school building locations was first measured in 1984.
In the late 1980’s, receiver prototype development took place in our institution. The prototype was submitted for production in the MESIT factory in Uherské Hradiště on 1st January 1990.
At the same time, GPS precision research and DGPS correction practicability research were carried out. In 1995, a referential DGPS station was activated, which is still in use today. The referential station broadcasted corrections partly through radio transmitter Poděbrady 111.8 kHZ (until 2000), which covered the whole central Europe, partly through RDS system of Regina Praha radio station 92.6 MHz. Receivers of these signals were developed, which were leased to users in terms of subsidiary economical activity. The records of the referential station were used by, amongst others, Prof. Kleusberg from the University of Stuttgart, who reported about them. The referential station processed GLONASS system signals as well.
Given the interest in certified receivers, whose signal processing algorithm would be known and publishable (requested for example in aeronautics, railage), such receivers were constructed at our institution since 2000. These receivers were not only targeted at GPS and GLONASS systems, but also Galileo systems. They successfully received signals from Giove A and Giove B satellites (experimental Galileo system satellites). A universal receiver with a working name of WNAV was constructed (Doc. Kovář). The tasks were supported by the following projects:
Research project MSM 6840770014 “Research of Prospective Information and Communication Technologies” (main researcher, 2005 – 2010)
Ministry of Transport project 802/210/112 “Participation of the Czech Republic in GALILEO project”, where our institution was the main researcher and coordinated the efforts of three other subjects (2001 – 2006)
Miniature Satellites – Picosatellites
Mini-satellite project "The CzechTechSat Project - Experimental University 1U.format Picosatellite" - see http://www.czechtechsat.cz/. K138 (Department of Measurement).
EU Projects Tied to Space Activities
FP 7 Global Robotic-telescopes Intelligent Array international project. The aim of the project is to create a unique network of robotic telescopes with free access and didactic overlap for elementary school pupils and secondary school students.
FP7-SPACE In Space Propulsion 1
Researchers P. Ripka and V. Petrucha
Development of a new cryogenic multi-spark ignition propulsion – we researched testing and diagnostics of a new cryogenic fuel pump including its new electrical propulsion
Cooperation with Snecma, EADS Astrium, CNES, DLR, ONERA, ULg, Mikroma, UniRoma, Avio, Bonatre
FP6 “Garda” project (coordinator Laben, Italy, 2004 – 2006)
ACFA 2020: Active Control for Flexible Aicraft. European FP7 project, 2008 – 2011, coordinated by EADS Innovation Works, Munich. www.acfa2020.eu. K135 (Department of Control Engineering).
Robust Hinfinity controller for VLT telescope in Atacama, Chile. Design and assessment of robustness and performance. In cooperation with ESO. 2004 K135
EU IST – 034026: FRESCOR – Framework for Real-time Embedded Systems based on COntRacts. European FP6 project. 2006 – 2009. K135.
EU NMP4-CT-2006-033211: GOLEM – Bio-Inspired Self-Assembly Process for Mesoscale Products and Systems. EU FP6. 2006 – 2009. K135
EU IST-004527: ARTIST 2 – Embedded Systems Design, Z. Hanzalek, 2004- 2008 (European Network of Excellence for embedded systems). K135
The team of T. Pajdla from the Department of Cybenetics has been involved in FP7-SPACE projects since 2008. FP7-SPACE-218814 PRoVisG - Planetary Robotics Vision Ground Processing (2008-2012) project developed visual data processing tools for future robotised missions on Mars, the Moon, and other planets. FP7-SPACE-241523 PRoViScout – Planetary Robotics Vision Scout (2010 – 2012) project demonstrated automatic terrain analysis, navigation, identification and localization of samples on an autonomous robot under conditions that simulated a real mission. FP7-SPACE-312377 PRoViDE – Planetary Robotics Vision Data Exploitation (2013 – 2015) project collects and processes data from missions on Mars, the Moon and other planets to create a database of 3D reconstructions of surfaces and artifacts and to facilitate their easy visualisation.
The team of Prof. Pěchouček participated in a (closely) failed FP7 project proposal for planning of missions for autonomous Moon prospecting – NIght high–Mobility Robotic Discoverer: A Rover for Exploration in Harsh Environments. The project was concerned with development of a system for autonomous control of a robotic appliance mission on the poles of the Moon, when it is not within the radio range of the base, including integrated navigation and important object recognition with the help of cameras and sensors (it was submitted in coordination with the CMP unit of the Department of Cybernetics - K133).
Collaboration with NASA – USA
Doc. R. Hudec researched a joint Czech-American project AMVIS KONTAKT MŠMT (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports) targeted at collaboration with NASA and development of innovative technologies based on active X-ray optics for the intended USA Generation X mission (2008 – 2012). Another project of Czech-American collaboration in the field of space technologies resulted from the previously mentioned one, with the aim of research and development of wide-angle X-ray optics for space satellite experiments.
Doc. R. Hudec acts on behalf of CTU as a co-applicant for a proposal of a space shuttle experiment with X-ray optics submitted to NASA.
The master study programme “Aircraft and Space Systems” has been accredited at FEE since 2010. The programme is a part of the Cybernetics and Robotics programme.
More information at:
SpaceMaster: European Joint Master in Space Science and Technology. ERASMUS-MUNDUS programme, since 2004. www.spacemaster.eu. Direct participation in the European educational master programme in space technologies.
In 2011 – 2012, T. Pajdla supervised four master theses, one of them together with ESA ESTEC – The European Space Research and Technology Centre.
Seminars “KOSMICKÁ TECHNIKA ZNÁMÁ NEZNÁMÁ” (“The Other Side of Space Technology”) continued – see http://measure.feld.cvut.cz/groups/lis/seminare.php?v=CZ.
Proposed cycle of lectures for PhD Students – Introduction to Space Science and Technology, Doc. R. Hudec, in process
SEMO (European Student Moon Orbiter), Attitude Interface Module
Researcher P. Pačes
Development of the on-board data handling (OBDH) system – both hardware and software
Doc. R. Hudec is the supervisor of the 2 advertised post-doctoral positions within the scope of EU education projects within the “Education and Human Resources” programme. These two vacancies are space-themed, i. e. focused on research of wide-angle optics for space telescopes.
International Conferences and Workshops Organisation
International space-themed conferences and workshops are organized (or co-organized) every year; namely, AXRO (International Workshop on Astronomical X-Ray Optics) will be taking place for the 6th time, and IBWS (INTEGRAL-BART workshop) for the 11th time this year. Main administrator – Doc. R. Hudec.
T. Pajdla co-organized a series of workshops “CVVT:E2M – Computer Vision in Vehicle Technology: From Earth to Mars” (http://www.cvc.uab.es/adas/cvvt2013/) in Queenstown in 2010, in Barcelona in 2011 and in Florence in 2012. The next workshop will take place in Sydney in December 2013.
Ground Support of Space Activities
Since 1994, we have been partaking in development and operation of BOOTES (The Burst Observer and Optical Transient Exploring System) – an international network of robotic telescopes. The primary objective of the experiment is detection and surveillance of optical counterparts of gamma flashes.
At present, the MAIA experiment (Meteor Automatic Imager and Analyser) was developed in collaboration with AsÚ AV ČR. Automated television system for monitoring weak meteor showers.
TAČR (Technology Agency of the Czech Republic)
Knowledge achieved in the field of space navigation led to submitting a project of Competence Center of TAČR, which was accepted in 2012. This project is concerned with the study of a multi-constellation satellite receiver capable of receiving existing satellite systems and supporting them with further sources of suitable radio signals, particularly ground signals. The aim is to determine position under difficult conditions, during failures or satellite syste jamming in various applications.
The project ensures not only research, but chiefly practical implementation of technologies and their realization leading to innovations in industry as well as in applications. The project is planned for the period of 2012 – 2019 and the institution coordinates the efforts of 4 other (industrial) subjects.
TAČR “Safeloc” project (main researcher AŽD Praha, 2011 – 2013)
TAČR “ADS-B/TIS-B Integrated System” project (main researcher Honeywell, 2011 – 2013)
TAČR Fluxgate gradiometer for space application project (2011 – 2014)
Researchers P. Ripka and M. Janošek. The aim of the project is to develop a new type of a magnetic gradiometer, which will be capable of fulfilling the demands imposed on the appliance used in space environment and will keep low noise levels in ultra-low frequencies while having small dimensions. A workable sample of the vector fluxgate magnetometer will also be made, which will meet the requirements for a standard appliance for attitude control of satellites by its functional parameters.
Plan of Further Development of Your Institution in the Field of Space Activities (especially concerning premises, facilities, technical equipment, operation and number of employees, including their qualification)
Based on agreement of the departments and teams involved, we are planning on establishing the IVKT (Institut kosmických věd a technologií - Institute of Space Science and Technologies) – for the time being, just within FEE CTU, which will coordinate the now-scattered groups with space activities, with the prospect of future extension of subjects participating in space activities even outside FEE. We assume that the development of IVKT will be gradual, in relation to successfully acquired grants and projects. The same applies to premises, equipment, appliances and staff. We would like to emphasise educational activities and education of students in the field of space science and technologies as well.
Members of the multimedia technology and imaging photonics assume activities in the field of processing visual information for space applications, a share in developing methods of quality measurements of new materials, namely for optical components, acoustic-optical components and image scanners for IR range in terms of collaboration with BBT Materials Processing Company, which deals with developing new optical materials for space applications. The fundamental focus will be on development of methods of optical materials quality assessment in IR range. In the upcoming years, their following work will be focused on analysis and development of algorithms for processing of image data from wide-angle optical systems. These systems have spatially-variant impulse response and are not sufficiently solved at present. For the MAIA experiment, reconstruction procedures will be developed to suppress noise from optical amplifiers, and new effective algorithms for weak meteors in the field of vision of the system will be created.
Further activities of the Radio Signals and Systems group are determined by the participation of Prof. F. Vejražka in the MEAG (Mission Evolution Advisory Group) EC committee in Brussels, dealing with the advancement of Galileo and EGNOS systems, and in the GSAC (Galileo Scientific Advisory Committee) group with ESA.
Main Objectives and Milestones Regarding Space Technologies Development that Your Institution Intends to Reach, and the Strategies for Reaching them.
We consider successful participation of FEE CTU in space research and projects mainly from ESA and NASA, specifically these, where CTU is the official promoter, or the member of the main consortium (e.g. ESA LOFT), supported by funds from TA ČR or EU projects, to be the main objective.
Amongst other activities, we are planning on participating in ESA DEMON project research and other linked projects in collaboration with BBT Materials Processing company.
The plan of Radio Signals and Systems group is determined by the Competence centre project and international activities – i. e. to participate in the search for signal receiving methods under difficult conditions (jamming, indoors, etc.) on one hand, and on the other, by proposals dealing with improvement of space, eventually, control segment of satellite navigation systems. In terms of these activities, IAIN 2015 world congress will take place in Prague, besides other things.
The staff of FEE CTU participated in the preparation of several proposals for future ESA space satellite missions, e. g. ATHENA+ and ESA-S (Doc. R. Hudec).
The team of T. Pajdla intends to continue their collaboration with partners taking direct part in activities in space within EU projects. In the longer run, we would like to aspire to ESA partnership in the field of image processing in robotics and photogrammetry.
Plan of Transferring Space Technologies Outside the Space Activities including an Overview of Transfers already Made
Most of the space activities executed at FEE CTU have the potential to be applied in other fields as well. We give several examples.
Algorithms and processes being developed for the MAIA, GLORIA and BOOTES experiments will be tested for image data from the area of security systems and biomedical image data processing. Image analysis from spatially variant optical systems is very relevant to the current situation, and very important especially in the field of security data.
Activity in the area of space communications in the framework of Competence centre automatically improves and updates the technologies of companies involved.
Technologies being developed for space experiments with X-ray optics find application also for laboratory optical components for ground applications, such as x-ray reflex sights, microscopes, biomedical optical equipment, optical equipment for synchrotrons with many potential applications, etc.
Technologies developed for ESA LOFT satellite – glass reflex sights and SID detectors – will also find a number of possible applications.
Based on materials submitted by individual FEE CTU departments and the faculty chair for space activities– doc. RNDr. René Hudec, CSc., mailto: email@example.com