24 January

ESA selects DCUBED lead consortium to develop NanoSat/SmallSat Deployable Reflectarray Antenna

The Mechanical Assembly for Reflectarray Antennas of SmallSats (MARAS) project funded through ESA ARTES 4.0 will enable small telecommunications satellites to take their antenna capabilities to the next level with a multi-panel Ka-Band reflect array antenna developed by DCUBED (Deployables Cubed GmbH), Celestial Space Technologies GmbH, German Orbital Systems GmbH and Blackwave GmbH.

The satellite communications market is growing rapidly and represents a very essential part of the global satellite industry. Through the ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) Programme, ESA supports the development of new satellite telecommunication technologies to keep the European industry at the leading edge of the market. One of the critical parts of this support is to ensure the development of satellite telecommunications products compatible with the trends in satellites. With the ARTES activity Deployable Mechanisms for Multi Flat-Panel Reflectarray Antennas for Small Satellites, ESA has the goalof enabling small telecommunications satellite to carry deployable reflect arrays with large surface areas and so, increasing their antenna gain. ESA has selected DCUBED to carry out this activity with their project MARAS.

Within the scope of MARAS, DCUBED is leading the design, manufacturing and testing of the mechanisms to support a multi-panel Ka-Band reflect array antenna for a 12U CubeSat.  The mechanical assembly consists of panels with high-precision hinges that form a planar structure when deployed, the Hold Down and Release Mechanism (HDRM) that supports the stowed reflectarray during launch, as well as any mechanisms required for its packaging and deployment. The project covers the initial concept definition, analyses, and breadboarding activities, up to the design and fabrication of a mechanical engineering model that will undergo environmental testing and functional testing in representative conditions. These activities will bring the subsystem from TRL 3 to TRL 6.

The consortium of four companies is combining the expertise of different disciplines necessary to deliver MARAS.  Celestial Space Technologies GmbH provides the telecommunications know-how, while Blackwave GmbH is supporting the team with their competence in structures and German Orbital Systems GmbH with their expertise on satellite missions. DcubeD is leading the consortium and bringing in the experience in deployable structures and mechanisms.  

“We are very excited that the European Space Agency (ESA) rated our proposal on the Mechanical Assembly for Reflectarray Antennas of SmallSats project (in short MARAS) as the best in Europe. This development of flat panels joined by high precission hinges all folded in a tight volume fits in perfectly in our roadmap of becoming the go-to partner for all kinds of SmallSat mechanisms (release mechanisms and deployables),” says Thomas Sinn, CEO of DCUBED.


DCUBED located in Germering (Bavaria, Germany) will help you think outside the box with COTS release actuators and COTS deployables that are specifically designed for SmallSat applications. DCUBED’s pin puller and release nut actuators are space-proven, readily available, easy to use, and small in size. The DCUBED SmallSat deployables (Space Selfie Stick, 100W 1U solar array and deployable radiator) tackle the needs of new space customers by maximizing performance in space while remaining efficiently packed in a standardized volume for launch.

For more information, visit DCUBED at

About Celestial Space Technologies GmbH (CST)

Celestial Space Technologies GmbH (CST) is an expert in developing satellite antennas, across all frequency bands, for any satellite size, and for any mission range. CST designed antenna systems are developed for a wide range of applications from low Earth orbit to deep space. The CST team has the engineering knowledge and implements industry-grade manufacturing processes to design and fabricate high performance small satellite antennas. CST products can be integrated seamlessly into single satellite or constellation missions, at minimum cost and effort. CST offers end-to-end engineering services for academic, scientific, and industry grade space antennas. CST has the vision to lower the threshold for deep space missions by enabling the next generation of small satellites with innovative antenna technologies.

About German Orbital Systems GmbH

Since 2014 GOS plays an active role in Germanys NewSpace landscape. By providing solid engineering, uncompromised quality and affordable prices, GOS has claimed a place among Europe’s leading NewSpace companies. GOS platforms are based on the “new space” philosophy, maximizing the utilization of building block system of COTS components. Depending on the requirements of the customer and payloads, corresponding platform subsystems are selected from the GOS portfolio. GOS platform design approach guarantees the maximum value for the customer within the boundary conditions of a shared satellite mission and its optimal costs.

For more information, visit German Orbital Systems GmbH at

About Blackwave GmbH

Whether classic space or new space, whether satellite or launcher: every hardware application in space requires high-performance structural components. At Blackwave, we want to become the No. 1 manufacturer of high-performance lightweight carbon components for the next space rush in Europe.

With products ranging from high volume CFRP aeronautical components to highly specialized, high performance space structures such as pressure vessels (COPVs) for launcher or space propulsion systems, Blackwave covers the whole bandwidth of development, qualification, and production.

The driving factor there is highest quality in the fastest and most pragmatic way possible. This saves costs and gives our customers the advantage to succeed on the international space market.

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About ESA (European Space Agency)

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. For more information see

The Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Directorate (TIA) supports innovation to boost the competitiveness of European industry in the global space market. This involves a wide range of activities, from space-based technology, systems, products for telecommunications development to the down-to-Earth application of space-based services. It also calls for engagement with a wide range of industrial, academic, and institutional partners.

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