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Center Independent Research & Development: JPL IRAD

Networked Constellation Communications Technologies

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Develop communications architectures and enabling technologies for mission concepts relying on multiple spatially distributed spacecraft to perform coordinated science. Characterize link and network requirements, identify technology targets, and develop analytical tools and testbed emulation to validate concepts and derive performance.

Specific examples of networked constellation missions are a radio science array formed by spatially distributed spacecraft combined with a communications network, a team of small rovers performing Mars terrain or cave exploration and dynamically connected in communications network, or a swarm of flyby spacecraft performing planetary gravity science. Multiple access, store-and-forward routing, multi-hop networking, and ranging methods supporting in situ localization will be investigated. Of key interest is implementation with small spacecraft such as Cubesats, thereby achieving cost feasibiity and potential scaling to larger networked constellations.

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Technology Maturity (TRL)

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