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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Design and Development of VHF Antennas for SoOp(Signal of Opportunity) Receiver for 6U Cubesat Platforms

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Circularly Polarized Antennas Mounted on a 6U Cubesat Platform

The main goal of the project is to design, fabricate, and test deployable VHF antennas for 6U Cubesat platforms to enable validation of root zone soil moisture (RZSM) estimation algorithms for signal of opportunity (SoOp) remote sensing.  The proposed work has a strong link for establishing a technology development path for maturing truly global direct surface soil moisture (SM) and RZSM measurement system (as shown in Figure 1) over variety of land covers with limited density restrictions.   In SoOp methodology, signals transmitted by already existing transmitters (known as transmitters of opportunity, in this case Military Satellite Communication (MilSatCom) System(known as Follow-on)) are utilized to measure properties of reflecting targets by recording reflected signals using a simple passive microwave receiver.

The project plans: (1) to develop and test a deployable VHF antenna technology for SoOp receiver for 6U Cubesat platforms; (2) to perform measurement of SM and RZSM using the proposed antennas;  and finally (3) to validate the RZSM and SM estimation algorithms from the measured data.   The proposed technology is to help the maturation of constellation of space borne Cubesats mission concept (as shown in Figure 1) for remote sensing of soil moisture (SM) and RZSM using MilSatCom System as transmitters of opportunity

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