Magnetometer for Constellation Satellites Designed by Billingsley Aerospace & Defense

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The satellite constellation market is growing rapidly, creating new requirements for magnetometry to guide the clusters of small satellites being launched into orbit for earth observation and communications networks. Size, economy, reliability and, of course, precise accuracy are all key factors for constellation satellites. 

One company serving the market is Billingsley Aerospace & Defense which has recently developed a digital flight magnetometer that it designed specifically for these demands. The company’s DTFM100S is a low-cost, compact, lightweight, digital, triaxial, fluxgate magnetometer designed and manufactured specifically to provide critical attitude control for constellation satellites. 

“The DTFM100S was purpose-built for the growing satellite constellation market,” according to Eva Wakefield, president. “We combined the features of our highly successful TFM100S and TFM65-VQS flight magnetometers with the digital technology of our latest digital designs to provide a low-cost, high-reliability product ideal for satellite constellations and commercial satellite programs, large and small.” 

“It is designed to be scalable and very cost-effective,” she notes. “As this market changes, the trend is towards more cost-effective, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware utilization in small satellites and constellations. This magnetometer is the ideal fit both economically and for short manufacturing cycles.” 

The DTFM100S is relatively economical and utilizes readily available commercial components allowing for much shorter manufacturing cycles and more rapid delivery than with more traditional and costly processes. The lower-cost facilitates redundancy mitigating concerns about the quality levels of commercial versus mil-spec components, she notes. 

Located in Germantown, MD, Billingsley specializes in ultra high-reliability fluxgate magnetometers, gradiometers and Helmholtz Coil systems, as well as custom-designed magnetic field instrumentation and testing services. It operates a highly automated laboratory for assembly and characterization of magnetic sensors. The lab is equipped with with three triaxial, closed loop servo controlled Helmholtz coil systems which allows testing of large numbers of instruments rapidly. See