The Iperdrone program is funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and aims at developing a Low cost reusable re-entry system able to interoperate with space infrastructures and to integrate space to ground.
The Iperdrone program capitalizes the competencies gained by Italy in development and exploitation of satellites and re-entry systems. The program will foster the national competences in re-entry field at system level, improving the enabling technologies portfolio to pull Italy players closer to the technology frontier. Iperdrone has the overall objective to develop a small autonomous re-entry system able to perform in orbit operations, interoperate with space infrastructures, deliver experiments to users in a short time, re-enter and perform a precision landing.
The Iperdrone program is based on an incremental phased approach, implemented through a series of subsequent projects.
This first mission (Iperdrone.0) is the initial risk-reduction step of a long-term program developing a multi-functional re-entry system able to perform autonomous on-orbit operations. It is a 6U nanosatellite aiming at validating the system performance, GNC algorithms, together with Optical Payload for inspection purposes and cold gas propulsion technology system for proximity operations.
The second project, named Iperdrone.1, will target the system re-entry, focusing on innovative propulsion systems for attitude control and De-orbiting maneuvers and materials and structures for TPS (Thermal Protection System).
The main objectives of Iperdrone.0 are the following:
Iperdrone.0 is equipped with the Perseus thruster, a 6 DOF (Degrees Of Freedom) propulsion system developed specifically for this mission. The development of the thruster involved the collaboration of Tyvak International and Technology for Propulsion and Innovation (T4I), Italy, which helped developing the tank, made in additive manufacturing, the fluidic line including phase separator, and the micro-nozzles.
Vega-C is a single body rocket nearly 35 m high with a mass at liftoff of 210 tonnes. It is able to place about 2300 kg in a reference 700 km-polar orbit. Using a new range of payload carriers, Vega-C will be able to accommodate a mix of cargo shapes and sizes, ranging from CubeSats as small as one kilogram up to a single large payload.