Programmable Picosat Transceiver

Period of Performance: 11/16/2011 - 11/19/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Array
Bothell, WA 98011
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: The goal of the Space Test Program operated by the US Air Force is to enable the rapid development of emerging space technologies by providing economical flight opportunities to increase a technology s TRL. In particular, the CubeSat form factor has emerged as an economical platform for testing technolo-gies that can be made to fit in the 10x10-30 cm form factor. Unfortunately, the lack of an SGLS trans-ceiver sized for these pico-satellite platforms has hampered the use of the flight proven ground stations in the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN). These rapidly developed and launched test missions cannot rely on having fixed frequency assignments within the unified S-band, but must still maintain compatibility with the signaling requirements of the AFSCN. Utilizing its experience building and flying CubeSats, TUI proposes to leverage its existing CubeSat software-defined radio platform to build a pro-grammable SGLS transceiver with lower size, weight and power (SWaP) than what is currently available. After constructing and demonstrating a brassboard prototype in the Phase I effort, we will design and build a functionally complete transceiver in the Phase II effort suitable for flight qualification. BENEFIT: This SBIR effort will produce a compact SGLS/USB transceiver in a 0.25U CubeSat form factor that will provide high-speed data downlink capabilities for CubeSat and other pico-satellite missions. This transceiver will increase the downlink capabilities of CubeSat missions while reducing total mission cost.