The Munich Orbital Verification Experiment, or MOVE, is the satellite technology group of WARR. For 15 years it has been the core mission of the team to hands-on educate students via practical experience and offer them access to unique sources of knowledge. To this end, the team in-house-develops satellite hardware and tests it in space via so-called CubeSats - a standardized kind of nanosatellite. MOVE has already launched three 1U-CubeSats to space (satellites of size 10x10x11.3cm), and is still actively in contact with two of them.
Additionally, the MOVE project enables students to attend workshops and trainings offered by external companies and institutions, and to publish research together with doctoral students of the university, and gather research experience.
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MOVE-III is a 6U-CubeSat of the third generation - two precursor models, First-MOVE and MOVE-II/MOVE-IIb, have already been launched into space. MOVE-III will carry a sensor developed by the students of WARR in conjunction with the Institute of Astronomic and Physical Geodesy (IAPG) of TUM. The sensor is called the DEbris Density Retrieval and Analysis (DEDRA) Sensor, which will detect and identify sub-millimeter space debris particles and micro-meteroids in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). It will verify theoretical space debris models, e.g. ESA's MASTER and DRAMA or NASA's ORDEM, and test them for accuracy.
The MOVE-III project also aims to with the aid of the experience gathered during the MOVE-II/MOVE-IIb missions develop a satellite bus. This bus will be adaptable to future missions and offer a platform that can, with minimal necessary changes, support a variety of CubeSat-sized payloads. This bus will form the basis for MOVE's future missions. In spring of 2022, the MOVE team completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the mission and currently works on the first prototype.
With the aid of stratospheric balloon missions, the team demonstrates its technology and tests it for functionality in cold and mechanically stressful environments. The balloons rise to over 35km in height. The team has successfully completed three balloon missions so far.
MOVE-IIb is the sister satellite of MOVE-II. After the construction of MOVE-II, hardware was left over which had been previously flight qualified. When a chance for a launch presented itself, MOVE-IIb was built with minimal improvements. It flew into space aboard Soyuz in 2019.
The satellite carries the same instruments and some marginally improved hardware, and has the same mission as MOVE-II.
MOVE-II is the second satellite constructed by the MOVE-Team. After First-MOVE gathered great interest among the students, MOVE-II was launched with two central tasks - the scientific mission and the education and training of the university's students. The 1U-CubeSat was develop as a cooperation between the Chair of Astronautics (LRT) and WARR. It was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) and the German Aerospace Agency (DLR).
In the space industry, new technologies are tested using precursor and demonstrator missions. MOVE-II was to have a similar function - to act as a technology demonstrator for hardware developed in-house by the LRT and WARR. The satellite bus was almost entirely self-developed; from the on board computer to the attitude control system, from the structure to the thermal simulations. Quadruple Junction solar cells, provided by AzurSpace, were tested for their long-term behavior. A comparison of behavior between coated and uncoated solar cells was made. The estimated mission duration was one year.
MOVE-II was launched on a Falcon-9 to a 575km sun synchronous Low Earth Orbit in December 2018. Four years into the mission, our Mission Control Team continues to recieve data and actively control the satellite.
First-MOVE was the first CubeSat of the MOVE project. It was initiated in 2007 by the Chair of Astronautics (LRT), headed by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Walter. First-MOVE was primarily a PhD student project, which acted as a technology demonstrator for systems developed by the LRT. The mission duration was three months. It was launched in 2013 from Orenburg, Russia into a 635km high Low Earth Orbit.
Aside from the technology developed by the LRT, First-MOVE also carried new Triple Junction GaAS/Ge solar cells provided by EADS Astrium, to evaluate their behavior and validate data collected previously on Earth, such as efficiency, power generated, etc. Due to a fault in the on board computer, the mission had to be scrubbed after two weeks in orbit. Currently, First-MOVE is still in space, to deorbit by 2038.