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Small Spacecraft Technology Program Selects New Projects
 

After evaluating numerous Edison Small Satellite Demonstration Mission proposals from university, industry and government researchers, the Space Technology Program announced on August 9, 2012 the selection of teams to negotiate contracts to conduct small spacecraft technology flight projects. These three projects are described below.


Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna (ISARA) for High Bandwidth CubeSat
Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray Antenna (ISARA) for High Bandwidth CubeSat

Project Leader: Richard Hodges, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., partnering with Pumpkin Inc. of San Francisco.

ISARA will demonstrate a radio communication system that dramatically boosts the amount of data that the small satellite can transmit by using the back of its solar array as a reflector for the antenna. This three-unit CubeSat will be funded at approximately $5.5 million with launch expected in two years.


Integrated Optical Communications and Proximity Sensors for Cubesats
Integrated Optical Communications and Proximity Sensors for Cubesats

Project Leader: Siegfried Janson, Aerospace Corporation of El Segundo, Calif.

This pair of 1.5-unit CubeSats will demonstrate a laser communication system for sending large amounts of information from a satellite to Earth and also demonstrate low-cost radar and optical sensors for helping small spacecraft maneuver near each other. The mission is expected to take two years and $3.6 million to develop and operate.



Proximity Operations Nano-Satellite Flight Demonstration
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Proximity Operations Nano-Satellite Flight Demonstration

Project Leader: Charles MacGillivray, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems LLC of Orange, Calif.

Two three-unit CubeSats will demonstrate rendezvous and mechanical docking of small spacecraft in orbit. This project is expected to take three years and approximately $13.5 million in funding to develop, launch and operate. Partners on the project include Applied Defense Solutions Inc. of Columbia, Md., 406 Aerospace LLC of Bozeman, Mont., and California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo.

 

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