Modular Cubesat Architectures and Components

Period of Performance: 09/30/2011 - 12/30/2013

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Atmospheric & Space Technology Research
5777 Central Avenue, Suite 221
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator

Abstract

ABSTRACT: As the Air Force moves toward the deployment of CubeSats and the need for responsive launches, operational Plug-and-Play instruments to monitor the space environment become necessary. The goal of Phase-II is to develop and deliver a prototype for a new UV remote sensing instrument for ionospheric measurements that are relevant to Space Situational Awareness, and the IORD-II requirements. The instrument will be PnP compatible, and substantial PnP development is required for this application, building on Phase-I experience. While the prototype will use an existing scan mechanism that is larger and heavier than necessary, later generations of the instrument will easily fit in a 3U CubeSat. The project represents advances in PnP technology, the TRL of components including scan mechanism, UV photometer, and Rad-hard ASIMs. It also improves on existing AF capabilities for measuring the nightside ionosphere. BENEFIT: While the prototype will use an existing scan mechanism that is larger and heavier than necessary, later generations of the instrument will easily fit in a 3U CubeSat. The new instrument will be much less expensive and will be a factor of ten smaller in Size, Weight, Power, and Cost than the existing DMSP imagers. The new instrument will perform nightside ionospheric imaging with a field of regard similar to the existing DMSP imagers, but with much higher signal to noise ratio. Thus the new instrument will extend the latitudinal range of useful ionospheric measurements beyond the Equatorial Ionospheric Anomaly (EIA) region. The instrument will image the background ionosphere, ionospheric irregularities and the aurora, and provides TEC below the satellite. Numerous commercial and government applications of the technology are described.