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Center Independent Research & Development: JPL IRAD

Radio Science and Astronomy via the Universal Space Transponder

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Augmenting JPL's next generation radio family, the Universal Space Transponder, with modules capable of advance radio science functions. This will allow future missions to peform additional science, such as bistatic radar and planetary radio astronomy, without the costs of full stand alone instruments.

The primary objective of this task is to demonstrate that it is feasible to augment the Universal Space Transponder (UST) product line with more advanced science capabilities that are extensible to many use cases. The UST is a next-generation software defined radio, currently in engineering model (EM) development. The architecture of the UST is designed expressly to be modular, with a stacked slice hardware design that enables accommodation of multiple frequency bands as well as software and firmware based functionality that are fully reprogrammable post-launch. The specific goals of this task are to develop and build prototypes of two different radio science and astronomy modules that can be integrated into the UST EM: a bistatic radar receiver slice and a low-frequency, planetary emissions receiver.

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