X-Band Secondary Station Prototype to Support Deep Space Missions

Project: Research project

Project Details


X-Band Secondary Station Prototype to Support Deep Space Missions X-Band Secondary Station Prototype to Support Deep Space Missions The primary objective of this proposal is to prototype a secondary groundstation capable of X-band data reception, including data and remote-control pathways, for use by future JPL nanospacecraft. Secondary communication stations are forecast to augment Deep Space Network (DSN) reception resources in the near future, primarily in support of nanospacecraft missions, and especially during initial acquisition operations. The first such mission to make use of such assets is likely INSPIRE, though MarCO (to be launched in March 2016) may also benefit. While an X-band transceiver has been developed and tested during the INSPIRE integration effort it has not yet been deployed to a secondary station for prototype operations. This SURP effort will (1) install an X-band transceiver on the existing ASU groundstation, (2) develop the pathways for remote control and data acquisition from ASU to JPL, and (3) demonstrate the viability of the ASU groundstation to support future JPL flight efforts via ground testing. The deliverables from this effort will include a report and presentation on (a) the concepts of operations for applications that may be considered in future JPL missions; and (b) the technical assessment of practical aspects of secondary ground station operations. Depending on readiness, a full operational demonstration of the groundstation (and resulting report) will take place during initial MarCO operations. This project will enhance the already strong partnership between Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and JPL by expanding it into the area of nanosat-based mission operations. The partnership will leverage the extensive expertise of the SESE partners in planetary exploration and instrument design [e.g., CubeSat-sized instruments REXIS (student-led)]. ASU students led by their professors in SESE have demonstrated an impressing record in the High Altitude Student Payload Program, and in NASA technology program competitions. This program would specifically involve SESE undergraduate students (specific students are TBD, but a number of potential candidates are already enrolled in the program) already supporting the small spacecraft programs at ASU.
Effective start/end date11/3/159/25/16


  • National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA): $19,900.00


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