About Us

Our team has developed products or provided engineering work for more than 10 ESA missions, 7 nanosatellite missions, the Swiss watch industry and the Swiss transportation industry.

The Team

  • Fabien Jordan

    CEO

    Chief Executive Officer with a 10-year experience in the nanosatellite field. Based in Oregon/USA, Fabien sets the company strategy and vision.

  • Federico Belloni

    CTO

    Chief Technical Officer. Satellite systems engineering is no mystery for him. Federico is Astrocast’s mastermind, don’t mess with him!

  • Kjell Karlsen

    CFO

    Former President of Sea Launch AG. Lead its restructuring in 2010, participated in 39 launches with a total payload value in excess of $7billion. No kidding!

  • Muriel Richard

    COO

    Chief Operating Officer, she exudes a NASA-inspired challenging spirit and a fantastic system-level vision.

  • Julian Harris

    Head of space electronics

    Rock Star and Electronics genius, 20-year experience as consultant for ESA.

  • Bertil Chapuis

    Head of applications & services

    Bertil sees beyond the cloud. He can feel the data, sense the patterns and diagnose.

  • Florian George

    Software Engineer

    Do you believe that everything can be programmed? Florian does and he will show you how...

  • Julien Iseli

    Software Engineer

    Self-controlled and passionate developer, Julien will look you in the eyes and give you the wisdom.

  • Stefano Rossi

    Space Systems Engineer

    Not only does he know how to make real espresso, but he can also run the Ironman and book a rocket launch. Cos'altro?

  • Sergio De Florio

    Flight dynamics & operations engineer

    Are you looking for the best GNC and System Engineer scientist in Europe? Too late, we got him...

  • Armando Salmasi

    Senior RF Engineer

    30-years experience in RF Engineering. From 3G to GPS there is only one field where Armando isn’t experienced: Skype.

  • Kevin Owen

    Mechanical Engineer

    Kevin finds his inspiration in origami. He also eats a lot of organic apples to maintain his higher-than-average cerebral activity.

  • Sandeep Thakur

    Business Development

    MBA from HEC Paris, specializing in Finance and Strategy, nothing can stop Sandeep!

  • Nicholas Petrig

    Accounting

    Nicholas is good with numbers and numbers are good with him.

  • Janique Jordan

    Secretary

    Janique crossed the US by bicycle and mastered the usage of bear spray. That’s all she needs to survive with a happy crowd of geeks.

Advisors and Investors

  • Roland Loos

    Seed Investor

    Former COO and executive VP of ITC Global, Roland is our SatCom Business Expert. So cool to have him on-board!

  • François Stieger

    Angel Investor

    Former SVP of Oracle Corporation, François is a great source of enthusiasm, conviction and he’s got style.

  • Dr. José Achache

    Advisor

    Former Deputy Director of CNES, José is now ambassador of ESA in Switzerland. Bright mind, amazing support.

  • Prof. Claude Nicollier

    Advisor

    Can you believe that Claude performed 4 spaceflights and 1 spacewalk as an Astronaut? This guy is a legend!

  • Dr. Max Henri Cadet

    Advisor

    Former Head of ITU External Affairs and Lawyer at the State Bar of California, Max is our spectrum strategist.

  • Dr. Anton Ivanov

    Advisor

    Former JPL/NASA scientist, Anton is an Apple advocate. One day he will put an Iphone in orbit.

  • Laurent Stieger

    Advisor

    CEO of S-Partners, Hong-Kong. He competed in the European Formula Renault championship. Did you?

Our References

SwissCube

SwissCube

SwissCube is the first satellite entirely built in Switzerland. It follows the 1-unit CubeSat standard which is very small in size since it occupies a volume of 1 litre (10x10x10 cm) and weighs less than 1 kg. It was launched in September 2009 and it is still operational after 7 years. It has taken hundreds of pictures with its embedded telescope. More than 250 students have participated to this amazing project. Four key-engineers of the project are now working for ELSE.

PRISMA

PRISMA

The PRISMA mission (SNSB and OHB Sweden former SSC), launched on June 15th 2010, has been a precursor project for formation-flying and on-orbit-servicing missions. Mission objectives were the validation of formation flying sensor and actuator technology and the demonstration of experiments for formation flying and rendezvous. Key sensor and actuator components comprise a GPS receiver system (DLR/GSOC), a vision-based sensor (TDU), a formation-flying radio-frequency sensor (CNES and CDTI), a high-performance green propellant system (SSC/ECAPS) and a cold-gas microthruster system (SSC/NANOSPACE). The experiments were: 1) autonomous formation-flying (GPS- or FFRF-based), 2) homing and rendezvous (vision-based), 3) precision 3-D proximity operations (GPS- or vision-based), and 4) final approach and recede maneuvers (vision-based). Sergio De Florio contributed to PRISMA while employed at DLR/GSOC in the formation flying team. DLR/GSOC developed the GPS-based absolute and relative navigation system, autonomous formation flying and orbit keeping experiments (about two months of total experiment time), as well as the on-ground GPS-based POD layer for experiments validation.

CubETH

CubETH

CubETH is a joint project between EPFL’s Swiss Space Center and ETHZ whose main objective is to build a 1U CubeSat scheduled for launch in 2016-17. The CubETH spacecraft will be capable of calculating its own altitude and position in space with unprecedented precision thus paving the way for nano-satellite constellations with inter-satellite communication capabilities. This mission will use a GNSS-based navigation information system using five patch antennas, each connected to two independent u-blox receivers. These miniaturized and low-cost receivers are able to track single-frequency code and phase data of all the major GNSS. CubETH is the first mission that officially uses ELSE xU structure. ELSE engineers are deeply involved in this projects.

CHEOPS

CHEOPS

The CHaracterizing ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) mission is led by the Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern, Switzerland, with contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. CHEOPS was selected in October 2012 from among 26 proposals as the first S-class space mission in ESA's Science Programme. It will be the first mission dedicated to search for exoplanetary transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets. By being able to point at nearly any location on the sky, it will provide the unique capability of determining accurate radii for a subset of those planets for which the mass has already been estimated from ground-based spectroscopic surveys. ELSE engineers have participated in the mission definition, science requirements analysis and flight system requirements derivation for the preparation of the S-class proposal.

CleanSpace One

CleanSpace One

The debris orbiting Earth are accumulating. Although collisions with operational satellites are rare, each collision can generate several thousands of new debris. The problem is becoming increasingly serious. CleanSpace One is a 30 kilograms technology demonstration spacecraft designed to chase the SwissCube, capture and safely de-orbit the target craft. The mission aims to demonstrate orbital identification and rendezvous with an uncooperative target (debris). It has an estimated cost of about 15 million Swiss Francs ($16 million). It is a formidable feat of engineering. ELSE engineers have participated in the mission definition and analysis of the satellite system requirements.

ESA ExoMars Rover

ESA ExoMars Rover

ELSE engineers have contributed to the design of three scientific instruments on the 2018 ESA ExoMars Rover Mission: the LIBS/Raman spectrometer (CDHU design), the PanCam WAC Module (technical management), and the CLUPI (electronic design).

ESA CLUSTER II, Data Processing Unit

ESA CLUSTER II, Data Processing Unit

This project included the full redesign of the data processing unit for the Fluxgate Magnetometer on board the four Cluster spacecraft. The design and build of this system included prototype design, EM design, FM design, qualification and FM production. The full spectrum of flight electronics production was followed in accordance with ESA QA/PA specifications. This system included the use of a space qualified FPGA. This was an Actel Anti-Fuse FPGA and part of the Actel radiation hardened family. The mission was launched in 2000 and is still active in 2015 after many years of valuable magnetic data acquisition. All of the systems designed still function in nominal mode with no anomalies seen during the 15 year flight period.

ESA HIPS, SpaceWire Camera

ESA HIPS, SpaceWire Camera

During work upon the ESA highly integrated payload development (HIPS), Julian Harris of ELSE developed an elegant breadboard of a miniaturized SpaceWire enabled high definition camera. The camera was based upon a CMOS active pixel sensor (Cypress IBIS5) and Actel FPGA technology. All imager control was performed by state machines integrated within the FPGA. These machines handled the driving and sequencing of the sensor, data acquisition, ADC control and SpaceWire communication. A set of state machines handled both snapshot mode and rolling shutter mode image acquisition. The breadboard was fabricated and fully tested using a PC based Spacewire system with visual C++ EGSE software. Images were acquired at a rate of 4 frames per second at a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels, enabling low frame rate video to be captured. This was using a SpaceWire transmission rate of 80Mbps. The breadboard camera PCB is shown below as part of a dual camera (stereo­cam) system connected to the SpaceWire link.

ESA Advanced Payload Technology Study, LIDAR

ESA Advanced Payload Technology Study, LIDAR

During an advanced payload technology study for ESA, Julian Harris of ELSE developed and produced the electronics for a miniaturised LIDAR. The system was based upon a high precision timing device (with space heritage) and a large FPGA housing a LEON processor unit. As well as the processing system, the FPGA controlled all aspects of the timing device and also housed a Spacewire interface for telemetry and housekeeping information. A high voltage system was also built and controlled from the FPGA in order to drive SPAD detectors as well as a heating system employing PWM drivers and a digital thermal feedback system. The processor system ran embedded code which enabled a photon counting system to be realised using statistical processing. The LIDAR was fully tested and proved to be able to detect the surface topology of a simulated planetary surface from a distance of 1000km with extremely high accuracy. Both the main LIDAR PCB and the thermal management PCB are shown on the picture.