Revolv Space: a Talk With Filippo Oggionni, Co-Founder & CCO

We had the pleasure to interview Filippo Oggionni, Co-Founder and CCO of Revolv Space, a New Space startup to empower the small satellites market

The SEDS Italian Space Conference provided a backdrop for an enlightening conversation with Filippo Oggionni, Co-Founder & CCO of Revolv Space. Space Voyaging delved deep into the intricacies of Revolv’s mission, exploring the innovative solutions offered by SARA, the company’s flagship product, and gaining insight into Revolv’s mission.

Oggionni started giving a more understanding of Revolv’s mission: “Our mission at Revolv is rooted in addressing the constraints faced by small satellites. As the space industry undergoes a transformation, the significance of small satellites in the New Space economy is undeniable.

He added: “When we founded Revolv, we observed a crucial imbalance. While payloads were advancing in terms of technology and miniaturization, small satellite architecture lagged behind. This imbalance led us to a mission – to empower small satellites, making them more performant and, in turn, fostering the financial sustainability of space companies.

The logo of Revolv Space. Credits: Revolv Space
The logo of Revolv Space. Credits: Revolv Space

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Revolv Space is responsible for the development, production, and testing of cutting-edge devices for the upcoming era of small satellite constellations. At the forefront of their offerings is SARA (Solar Array Rotary Actuator), an innovative mechanism designed to integrate with nearly all CubeSat sizes. SARA can autonomously track the sun, effectively doubling the power supply available on board.

As explained by Revolv’s CCO: “SARA, our Solar Array Rotary Actuator, stands at the forefront of our efforts. It’s designed with a meticulous focus on optimizing power generation for small satellites. Comprising the mechanism, sun sensors, and embedded electronics, SARA boasts fully autonomous sun-tracking capabilities. This autonomy allows SARA to rotate solar panels without constant communication with the satellite bus, significantly enhancing power generation efficiency.”

What sets SARA apart is the introduction of Snapback, our proprietary backup mechanism. In the event of a failure, Snapback ensures the solar panels return to a default configuration, maintaining power positivity even in challenging situations. SARA, therefore, emerges as a resilient solution for small satellites, overcoming the single point of failure challenge that often plagues satellite missions.

SARA 3D model. Credits: Revolv
SARA 3D model. Credits: Revolv Space

Filippo Oggionni gave also an insight into the current development of this technology:

As of now, SARA is at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6, swiftly progressing towards TRL 7. We are actively engaged in environmental tests, including structural and thermal tests. Our meticulous approach includes the testing of the qualification model in various conditions, ensuring SARA’s readiness for the demanding environment of space. With a demonstration mission scheduled for October 2024, we aim to validate SARA’s functionality in real space conditions, thereby mitigating risks associated with its deployment.

Revolv is currently located in the ESA Business Incubation Center (BIC), in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. We tried to understand how important is for a Newspace startup to be part of an incubator program:

Our journey through space incubators, especially the ESA Business Incubation Program, has been transformative. This long-term program, based in Noordwijk near the ESA Technology Center, provides invaluable mentorship and exposure to mentors from diverse sectors. One noteworthy aspect of this program is the dedication of mentors to conduct one-on-one sessions. This personalized approach, with mentors from varied fields, including telecommunications, provides unique perspectives. It breaks the so-called ‘Space Bubble’ and fosters a holistic understanding, crucial for the growth of young space companies.

ESA BIC NOORDWIJK - ESA
A view of ESA BIC Noordwijk. Credits: ESA/G.Porter

He also spoke about another program they took part in, the TakeOff accelerator:

This high-paced, shorter program, conducted in Torino, complemented our incubation experience. Given that our company is based in the Netherlands, the accelerator provided a vital step into the Italian ecosystem. The diverse experiences gained through these programs have been instrumental in shaping our trajectory.

Finally, Oggionni gave us interesting insights about the future holds of the company:

SARA is just the beginning of our journey. We’re actively working on a larger version to target satellites up to 500 kg, expanding our reach and impact. Beyond power systems, we’ve identified several limitations that require attention. For instance, addressing communication system limitations and enhancing thermal management through mechanisms are part of our ongoing endeavors. These efforts, while complementary to our core expertise, shape the roadmap for Revolv Space in the medium term, providing a glimpse into the innovative solutions we aim to bring to the space industry.

Watch the full interview on our YouTube channel:


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