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SBIR/STTR

SWIFT-HPX - High Data Rate Ka-band Commications for Small Satellites, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Leveraging TUI's SWIFT software defined radio (SDR) architecture, we propose to develop a 100 Mbps downlink and intersatellite crosslink capability with ranging and timing synchronization capabilities to enable more sophisticated CubeSat and small satellite missions. This effort will focus on designing a Ka-band communications solution including a high-gain patch antenna array and Ka-band RF front end, that can be integrated with TUI's SWIFT software defined radio (SDR) processor running state-of-the art modulation and coding techniques to provide a robust link with adaptive data rates up to 100Mbps. Analyses indicate that a 100 Mbps crosslink can be closed between two CubeSats separated up to 100 kilometers and between a CubeSat in low-Earth orbit and a 12 meter dish (99% link availability with the ITU-P618 rain model) with the same radio. These links represent nearly two orders of magnitude of data throughput improvement over the rates achieved by CubeSat missions to date. This increased downlink and crosslink data rate will enable nanosatellites and CubeSat constellations to be used for scientific, commercial and operationally relevant remote sensing and earth observation missions. Adaptive modulation and coding makes the link more robust and allows for reduced data rate operations without increasing aperture sizes at greater distances (e.g. Lunar and Martian). The proposed SWIFT-HPX radio technology and resultant product supports the migration of small satellite and CubeSat near-Earth communication downlinks and crosslinks to higher frequency links, which is consistent with Phase 1-3 of NASA'S Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Program. More »

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