Programmable Picosat Transceiver
ABSTRACT: The goal of the Space Test Program is to enable the US Air Force to rapidly develop emerging space technologies by providing economical flight opportunities to increase a technology"s TRL. Over the past decade, the CubeSat form factor has emerged as an economical platform for testing technologies that can be packaged within the 10x10x30 cm form factor. However, the lack of a programmable SGLS/USB transceiver sized for these and other small satellite platforms has hampered the use of the flight-proven ground stations in the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN). Due to the rapid mission design and launch cycles as well as the lengthy frequency allocation process, the spacecraft must be often designed and built well before AFSCN SGLS/USB communication frequencies are allocated. Drawing upon its experience building and flying CubeSats, TUI proposes to leverage its existing SWIFT SDR platform to implement a programmable SGLS/USB transponder use on CubeSat and nanosatellite missions. Our Phase I effort has successfully validated the viability of our proposed approach, which enables simultaneous communication with both SGLS ground stations and newer USB ground stations. In the Phase II effort, we propose to design, build, and qualify a functionally complete SWIFT-AFSCN transceiver. BENEFIT: The CubeSat platform has recently become the focus of significant investment by AF, SMDC, SMC, NRO, SPAWAR, and other military organizations due to its low cost and frequent launch opportunities. Prior CubeSat missions have had relatively low downlink throughput due to the low number of ground stations as well as the relatively low gain of their antennas. The SWIFT-AFSCN transponder can provide a secure, high-reliability, high-availability communication link between CubeSats and small satellites with a dramatic increase in collected data, and a decrease in data product latency.
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Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Bothell, WA -
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