A Fireside Chat with Hyperion Technologies

This week, we had the opportunity to chat with Steven Engelen, Head of Engineering at Hyperion Technologies and talk about the company’s journey, their greatest challenges around radiation shielding and share some of their products.

Can you tell us a little bit about the background of Hyperion Technologies B.V. ? Why did you choose to get into the development of the components for small spacecraft?

Back when we started, we noticed a lack of precision components for small satellites, which we saw as a limiting factor for doing useful missions with smaller satellites. So we asked ourselves the question one should never ask of “how hard could it be”. And now we know.

In terms of radiation protection, how are your products shielded? What orbits are they designed for?

Our product philosophy is based on radiation tolerance. We make our components tolerant to SEU and SEFI’s. We protect the devices against SEL using proven circuits and add as much (aluminium) shielding as we deem necessary to achieve a comfortable radiation design margin. Our products are not designed with a specific orbit in mind mostly, we design them to withstand a given TID level, which the user can use to determine the expected lifetime.

In your opinion, what do you think are the greatest pain points or typical mistakes made in relation to radiation shielding?

When using non-hardened components, one tends to forget that even with the ideal amount of shielding, the process is still stochastic, so some events will still pass through and cause an SEU. The design as a whole needs to be tolerant to those as well.

Which project are you most proud of? Why is it important?

There are so many projects I’m proud of, and also many of our products are used in very cool missions, so it is very difficult just to name one. If I was forced to pick one though I would choose our star-tracker/imager since it was the enabler for us to do what we do now, though really anything we’re doing is cool.

Could you shed some light on your most significant challenges when designing products for small spacecraft? How did you manage to overcome them?

“Testing in a relevant environment” is usually asked for, but the problem is that when you develop products for space, they will, in the end, need to be tested in space. And that requires (usually) a trusting customer who will take the plunge and risk using your component in space; or an IOD mission.

What is Hyperion Technologies B.V. planning for the future? Any exciting developments you would like to share?

We are always up to something…

How can our readers support you?

Check out our products for your missions or recommend us if you think someone in your network should get in touch with us. 

Who else is on your team at Hyperion Technologies B.V.? Perhaps, you could share some information about your colleagues and investors.

We are a small team of 15-20 people based in Delft, The Netherlands. Since the end of 2021, we are part of AAC Clyde Space, who has three more office locations. We do not know all of them yet and are in the process of aligning our activities and work together across borders. 

What advice would you give to new enthusiastic space entrepreneurs that want to join the space industry?

Try to design everything as if you were designing your own pace-maker!

If you want to learn more about Hyperion Technologies, check out their website.

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