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Categories: 2016, Government Science and Communication

A Market View approach to Optimizing the Ground in Enterprise Ground Services

Access to space is becoming a reality to a broader global community of students, scientists, and entrepreneurs.  The CubeSat industry is furthering this access to space by standardizing affordable components/subsystem boards.  Standards provide for clarity in design, repeatability, and risk reduction.  Space to ground communications remains open to many variables, all of which add cost and risk to the mission.  Unless the mission is designed to test some new communications method, developers need to decide on a Standard Communications Configuration.  SSC has taken a lead role in developing this standard configuration.  This paper will present the problem of traditional approaches to satellite communications design.  The new approach is to turn the customer relationship around from providers answering requirements to customers meeting a Standard Configuration in order to gain access to a low cost communications service.

Traditional Spacecraft Communications Development
The priority of communications is usually a Mission Operations function. From the spacecraft developer side, the communications system operates as specified. The ground systems need to match these interfaces.  Now starts the long process of engineering analysis, design, configuration, testing, and documentation. Each of these items requires each ground station to implement and verify mission specific configurations.

New Approach to CubeSat Communications Services
SSC has made the internal commitment to implement a highly automated ground network based on Standard Configurations and automated scheduling systems.   Pre-qualified s/c radios will give customers choices based on the typical trades of power, weight, cost and capability. By taking this approach we “reduce” the compatibility risk and eliminate the need for costly development efforts.   Customers will have web-based user interfaces to the scheduling system as well as machine-machine interfaces.  The objective of this service is an interface for multiple constellations and 1000’s of s/c.  Cost and volume are the main drivers.

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Author: Erik Eliasen
Topic: Government, Science and Communication

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