tech track papers
Categories: 2018, Small Satellites
For a number of years small satellites have been seen as a way to provide low cost solutions for technical demonstrations. Only recently have they been viewed as mission-ready for government and IC programs. While the commercial world has been quicker to adopt these new platforms, government and IC programs have been slower to do so.
While small sats can be put into orbit quickly and relatively inexpensively, making them an attractive option for government and IC programs, ground system technology was not nearly as agile. Now, however, the advent of virtualized ground system environments that feature plug-and-play design for simplified setup, automation tools for lights-out operation and complete situational awareness have opened new alternatives for government and IC programs.
The migration of NASA Wallops Atmospheric Sciences Research Facility (ASRF) Small sat Ground Station (ASGS) to a highly automated ground station solution is a recent example. By migrating to a virtualized environment NASA will increase the number of missions running through the station and avoid costs associated with added infrastructure. Here, Kratos is providing complete end-to-end solution with configurable hardware to implement an RF link to every satellite being served. Focusing on automation, access to the satellites is now seamless during the user’s time period (or pass).
While virtualized environments allow IC programs to stand up new ground stations quickly and efficiently there is still some resistance to migrating legacy systems for a number of reasons, time and effort to prepare and complete a successful migration being one of them. New programs, with no legacy systems to migrate, are willing to embrace virtualized environments. This paper discusses the NASA ASGS migration, along with some other government agency programs that are considering virtualized small sat ground stations.
Author: Jordan KlepperTopic: Small Satellites