ALOA PrePhase-B

Status date

The proposed work aimed at defining the ALOA Payload, is proposed mainly for the replenishment of the Orbcomm Constellation.

The goal of the ALOA PrePhase-B was to consolidate the system architecture for the ALOA payload, based on the service requirements of Orbcomm Inc. as major potential customer, as well as to establish a sound business understanding for further development.

Those service requirements were fairly concise for the Core payload elements “Messaging” (MSG) using the VHF band and “Automatic (ships) Identification System” (AIS). The requirements needed however to be further elaborated for the so-called Advanced Services.

This study was to be the decision enabler for the subsequent phases B/C/D also by allowing the identification of the Team, required to be set up for those phases. Therefore, based on a number of initial technology trades (e.g. analogue versus digital, SDR based technology) preliminary sub-system specifications and associated costs had to be derived as well as critical items identified.

The main outcome of this PrePhase-B project needed to be documented in three main documents (1) consolidating the proposed service/payloads requirements, (2) defining the preliminary ALOA architecture and (3) consolidating the LuxSpace Business case.


The development of a fully-European payload to be proposed for the replenishment of the Orbcomm constellation is still the key issue of the ALOA project.

Another important issue concerns with the possibility to support other communication Services, also via the onboard Orbcomm communication channels, implementing them into ALOA as new “plug-and-play” HW/SW modules.


ALOA will provide its Customer with a fully compliant communication payload, made in Europe as an alternative source of procurement.

ALOA will provide its (European) Developers with a business sized in terms of several (i.e. up to 30) flight units.

Thanks to the implemented modularity concept, ALOA will allow any Communication Business Developer to test new Services requiring the implementation and support from a LEO constellation.


In order to support the already identified services (i.e. Orbcomm Messaging and AIS Signal Reception) and future possible advanced services, the ALOA architecture has been defined with a modular and flexible system concept, implementing Software Defined Radio (SDR) technologies.

The payload will be built around a Payload Power and Processing Electronics (P3E) Unit, interfacing the spacecraft and supporting the various Service modules:

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he ALOA PrePhase-B project has been segmented in three main Tasks:

  • Task-A objective was to confirm, through interaction with the identified Customers, the target development and consolidate the technical specification, the associated development schedule and establish a target price.
  • Task-B objective was to establish a preliminary payload architecture that should answer adequately to the elements established in Task A, establish the sub-system/equipment specifications, define the work to be performed by Sub-contractors with a target price (NR and R) and prepare the RFQ packages to the Sub-contractors.
  • Task-C, thanks to the received proposals, consolidated the payload architecture and its planned cost/schedule for AIT and management for the non-recurring and recurring activities.

The scheduled duration of the project’s PrePhase-B was 10 months. A 4-month period was needed for Suppliers proposals preparation and clarification.


Current status

With this PrePhase-B, LuxSpace succeeded in finalising and justifying a viable technical concept for ALOA. Critical areas have been identified at system and subsystem levels and solutions have been proposed to reduce the risks.

Programmatic and business information have been collected, analysed and consolidated. If the programmatic information will need to be refined now, the first elements of the Business Plan are encouraging.

Partners (i.e. subcontractors) have been identified for the following activities of the ALOA development and the best Industrial organisation is now being established.