NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Lunar and Lagrangian Point L1 L2 CubeSat Communication and Navigation ConsiderationsCubeSats have grown in sophistication to the point that relatively low-cost mission solutions could be undertaken for planetary exploration. There are unique considerations for lunar and L1/L2 CubeSat communication and navigation compared with low earth orbit CubeSats. This paper explores those considerations as they relate to the Lunar IceCube Mission. The Lunar IceCube is a CubeSat mission led by Morehead State University with participation from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Busek Company and Vermont Tech. It will search for surface water ice and other resources from a high inclination lunar orbit. Lunar IceCube is one of a select group of CubeSats designed to explore beyond low-earth orbit that will fly on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) as secondary payloads for Exploration Mission (EM) 1. Lunar IceCube and the EM-1 CubeSats will lay the groundwork for future lunar and L1/L2 CubeSat missions. This paper discusses communication and navigation needs for the Lunar IceCube mission and navigation and radiation tolerance requirements related to lunar and L1/L2 orbits. Potential CubeSat radios and antennas for such missions are investigated and compared. Ground station coverage, link analysis, and ground station solutions are also discussed. This paper will describe modifications in process for the Morehead ground station, as well as further enhancements of the Morehead ground station and NASA Near Earth Network (NEN) that are being considered. The potential NEN enhancements include upgrading current NEN Cortex receiver with Forward Error Correction (FEC) Turbo Code, providing X-band uplink capability, and adding ranging options. The benefits of ground station enhancements for CubeSats flown on NASA Exploration Missions (EM) are presented. This paper also describes how the NEN may support lunar and L1/L2 CubeSats without any enhancements. In addition, NEN is studying other initiatives to better support the CubeSat community, including streamlining the compatibility testing, planning and scheduling associated with CubeSat missions. Because of the lower cost, opportunity for simultaneous multipoint observations, it is inevitable that CubeSats will continue to increase in popularity for not only LEO missions, but for lunar and L1/L2 missions as well. The challenges for lunar and L1/L2 missions for communication and navigation are much greater than for LEO missions, but are not insurmountable. Advancements in flight hardware and ground infrastructure will ease the burden.
Document ID
20170007427
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Schaire, Scott
(NASA Wallops Flight Facility Wallops Island, VA United States)
Wong, Yen F.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Altunc, Serhat
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Bussey, George
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Shelton, Marta
(NASA Wallops Flight Facility Wallops Island, VA United States)
Folta, Dave
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Gramling, Cheryl
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Celeste, Peter
(Booz-Allen and Hamilton, Inc. Annapolis Junction, MD, United States)
Anderson, Mile
(Booz-Allen and Hamilton, Inc. Annapolis Junction, MD, United States)
Perrotto, Trish
(Booz-Allen and Hamilton, Inc. Annapolis Junction, MD, United States)
Malphrus, Ben
(Morehead State Univ. KY, United States)
Kruth, Jeff
(Morehead State Univ. KY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 8, 2017
Publication Date
August 5, 2017
Subject Category
Communications And Radar
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN43219
SSC17-V-02
Meeting Information
Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites(Logan, UT)
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNG15CR66C
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
CubeSat

Available Downloads

NameType 20170007427.pdf STI

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20170007444See AlsoLunar and Lagrangian Point L1 L2 CubeSat Communication and Navigation Considerations