Mothercube for Cubesat-based Synthetic Aperture Radio Telescope
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9950 Wakeman Drive, Manassas, VA, -
AbstractThe miniaturization of satellite technology enables us to do more with less, but it also pressures us to find clever solutions to fundamental problems. We have identified several space missions amenable to fractionated architectures, in which instrumentation and other capabilities are distributed throughout a heterogeneous cluster of satellites. Fractionation techniques promise to lower the cost and improve the responsiveness of space systems, but the formation flying and distributed command and control capabilities needed to implement fractionated architectures have not yet been demonstrated. We propose the design and construction of the Mothercube: a Cubesat-class satellite with several subsystems tailored to fractionated missions. Our modular, reusable Mothercube design pushes forward enabling technologies for fractionation, including high-speed network links and internal buses as well as miniaturized electric propulsion and multicore computing. The satellite will be used to coordinate a flight demonstration of a synthetic aperture radio telescope involving payload satellites to be built under a separate SBIR contract.
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