NIMPH (acronym for Nanosatellite to Investigate Microwave Photonics Hardware) is a Cubesat project unifying CSUT dedicated to demonstrate the feasibility of a system Photonic-Microwave in space.

Photonic- microwave systems combine microwave and photonic elements.The use of fiber-optic Photonic-Microwaves technologies in telecommunications satellites could significantly increase performance by reducing size and weight, and increasing immunity to electromagnetic interference. However, the efficiency and reliability of these systems in the space environment remains to be proven.The NIMPH project aims to provide first answers.

The NIMPH mission is planned for a duration of 2 years, which is already a challenge for a cubesat mission.The orbit was chosen as circular at an altitude of 650 km to make a good compromise between the duration of mission, the radiative radiation needs, while satisfying the law on space wastes (LOS). The cumulative dose of radiative radiation received at the level of the systems to be tested is projected at 20kRad.

Two payloads are embedded in the nanosatellite   :

  • EDMON   This is the main payload that includes optical components and control electronics and associated measurements.The central element of the device is a doped optical fiber which will be used as an optical amplifier (EDFA). This fiber, suspected of being particularly sensitive to radiative radiation, will be positioned in direct contact with the surrounding environment. In-situ noise and gain measurements will be used to report system performance and detect potential degradation.
  • RADMON   : it is a secondary load developed by CERN whose purpose is to measure the radiative environment in which the nanosatellite is located throughout the mission.

To date, two institutions are investing more particularly in this project   : ISAE-Supaéro and Paul Sabatier University of Toulouse (Department EEA and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Production, Aerospace Techniques of the IUT).This project is labeled in the JANUS project. Since June 2017 it is in phase B, high level design phase. But a part of critical photoelectronic elements will have to be the object of a low altitude (100km) test flight on board a rocket in March 2018 in the frame of the project MORE-REXUS.