Exhibitor Spotlight: NovaWurks 

NovaWurksWe spoke to returning exhibitor NovaWurks about their modular satlet HISat platform, on-orbit cybersecurity and the key demands driving demands in the industry. 

NovaWurks’ unique approach to building a satellite using a modular, configurable satellite bus is a game changer for rapid deployment of any payload with any pointing, power, processing or communications requirement.

NovaWurks is leading the movement away from the traditional approach to hosted payloads with the commercial Conformal Spacecraft. Based on our modular satlet HISat platform, the Conformal Spacecraft conforms to the shape and capability requirements of the payload, rather than the payload conforming to the bus. The result is a reduction in the high cost and technical restrictions of traditional hosted payload providers. Instead, organizations with unique, experimental or proprietary payloads can collaborate with NovaWurks to design a customized spacecraft to meet their mission objectives and budget, and then select a launch vehicle accordingly.

Which customer or market demands were the biggest drivers of your company’s growth during the past three years?

The need to fly payloads larger than a cubesat can accommodate, or in a GEO orbit, has driven much of our growth to this point. We build satellites from 100kg to 3,000kg at a much faster tempo than the industry norm with the same HISat technology, and HISats were designed for GEO from inception.


Do you anticipate that those demands will continue to be your biggest growth drivers for the next three years, or are you anticipating new trends?

Improved on-orbit cybersecurity and resilience are starting to become more important in the smallsat arena, and our solutions to solve these difficult issues are receiving a lot of positive attention. Our modular approach provides N of M resilience, allowing very graceful degradation, which is very powerful and desired by many customers in today’s market. Add to that the cost advantages and the ability to assemble and reconfigure in-orbit, we also anticipate early adopters and pioneers starting to create new trends, systems and constellations that have never been practical before.


NovaWurks satellite

 NovaWurks is leading the way away from the traditional approach to hosted payloads with the Conformal Spacecraft™. Based on our modular HISat™ platform – the Conformal Spacecraft™ conforms to the shape and capability requirements the payload, rather than the bus.


What is next for NovaWurks in terms of technology development?

Our core building block, the HISat, is constantly pushing the state of the art for vehicle level performance at a knee in the curve cost point due to the power of aggregation. We will continue to build HISat 2.0 and 3.0 to keep ahead our competitors.


In your opinion, why do you think modular satellite platforms are being increasingly adopted in the aerospace industry?

The modular concept is a change from ‘the way things are done’ in the satellite business, and this business is generally pretty slow to change. However, we do see movement toward modular platforms because of the problems they can solve, from lower cost to increased flexibility to reduction of schedules.


What are the main challenges facing the wide-scale adoption of software-defined platforms?

One of the key challenges is simply the newness of the construct combined with the industry’s historically poor use of the term. However, like all innovative ideas and products, good practice and successful missions will build trust. Ultimately that will help move more of the community to experience the advantages a true software-defined platform provides.


At Space Tech Expo USA you presented the software-defined bus. Could you tell us a little bit more about this platform?

A true software-defined bus is a bus where hardware supports dynamic allocation and aggregation, and software defines the performance. The NovaWurks instantiation of its individual hardware has only knee-in-the-curve performance, at a lower cost point. However, the overall performance can meet or exceed state-of-the art performance by methods and techniques such as aggregation of physics, advanced processing, and/or increased use and verification of existing/proven software.

Be wary of a ‘software-defined bus’ where all hardware has state-of-the-art performance and software libraries are new. Flight software updates always follow SOA. This drives constant new library development and abandonment and aging of current libraries. It is not a true software-defined bus because in practice the hardware defines the performance.


Are you excited about returning to Space Tech Expo in 2019?

Yes. Space Tech Expo has been growing each year and is consistently a place for us where this technology and other ‘new space’ products are easily showcased and demonstrated.

NovaWurks will be exhibiting at Space Tech Expo USA 2019 on Booth 9008