ESA’s OPS-SAT laboratory completes stock trade from space

OPS-SAT is a cube specially designed to sample and test innovative new software from European companies and other organizations, including universities, research institutes and government agencies.

The online broker flatexDEGIRO had adapted its software to the requirements and the limited bandwidth of the orbital platform at an altitude of 500 km.

The justification for the experiment was that it provided an opportunity to test how to improve the reliability, storage efficiency, communication and security of financial transactions.

“The entry of a trading platform on board OPS-SAT was a bit unexpected. But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense, ”said David Evans of ESA, OPS-SAT’s manager.

“Carrying out stock market transactions and flying satellites present many similar challenges, such as the high cost of error, how to keep systems working around the clock, and protection against cyberattacks while remaining open to the Internet. The unification of these two worlds is a unique and fruitful exchange. “


OPS-SAT can host a number of experiments covering artificial intelligence, advanced communication protocols and compression techniques, software-defined radio, optical communication, advanced autonomous scheduling and web services in space.

The free to use system was launched for the first time in December 2019 and since then more than 200 experiments have been conducted flying with the relevant software in orbit.

It consists of “Altera Cyclone V SoC” with ARM dual-core Cortex-A9 MPCore and Cyclone V FPGA. There is also a high-resolution camera, radio antennas, optical receiver, reaction wheels and GPS receiver.

More specifically, there is a fine-tuning control system (ADCS) consisting of gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, reaction wheels, three magnetoprotective devices and a Star Tracker.

For high-speed communications, a CCSDS-compatible S-band communication link is provided, acting as the primary link for data and TM / TC communication with ESA ground stations. According to ESA, it will provide an uplink speed of up to 256 kbit / s and a return speed of up to 1 Mbit / s. The S-band connection is used to upload the experimenter’s software and download the results of the experiments on board. Finally, there is an X-band transmitter with communication for data rates up to 50 Mbit / s.

The system is depicted, on the right, during testing of its solar arrays at the University of Technology in Graz, Austria.

Commercial spaces

On 30 September, the execution of the trade was monitored by a team at ESA’s ESOC Mission Management Center in Darmstadt, Germany, although the open platform OPS-SAT laboratory meant that this could be done from anywhere.

The German company flatexDEGIRO uses its time on OPS-SAT to trade 100 of its own shares, which sell for about 200.00 euros.

Pictured above is the successful first space trade recorded on Earth by Rolf Densing of ESA, left, and flatexDEGIRO CEO Frank Nihage, right.

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