The Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission will launch a loose formation of eight cubesats into orbit approximately 500 km above Earth. The EDSN project is developing the technology to send multiple, advanced, yet affordable nanosatellites into space with cross-link communications to enable a wide array of scientific, commercial, and academic research. Another goal of the project is to lower the cost and shorten the development time for future small spacecraft.
The EDSN project is led by the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California and is funded by the NASA Small Spacecraft Technology Program. Other EDSN project partners include NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Montana State University, which is providing the science instrument, and Santa Clara University, which is providing the primary ground station. The EDSN project began in 2012.
Each EDSN nanosatellite is a 1.5 unit cubesat with dimensions of about 10 by 10 by 17 centimeters and a mass of about 2 kilograms. Each satellite carries a sensor built by Montana State University (procured through a competitive solicitation) to make distributed, multipoint space radiation measurements. The EDSN swarm has a planned demonstration mission of 60 days but the satellites may operate for a much longer time. The EDSN spacecraft will be launched as secondary payloads on the Super Strypi vehicle from Kauai, Hawaii in 2014.
EDSN will demonstrate a communications concept in which the individual satellites will share their collected data and one of the satellites will transmit the data to a ground station. Any of the satellites are capable of serving as the link to the ground. This technology has the potential to provide extremely flexible data correlation and distribution and to simplify spacecraft and mission operations for satellite swarms and constellations.
The launch of tens or even hundreds of network-based satellites would enable an unprecedented amount of communications and computing capability in low Earth orbit from which the satellite industry, university researchers, and NASA scientists could benefit.
For more information, contact:
EDSN Project Manager
NASA Ames Research Center