Session

Technical Session XII: Next Generation

SSC10-XII-7.pdf (3507 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The FASTRAC (Formation Autonomy Spacecraft with Thrust, Relnav, Attitude and Crosslink) satellites built by students from The University of Texas at Austin are manifested for a Space Test Program (STP) launch in September 2010. FASTRAC is the 2005 winner of the University Nanosatellite competition sponsored by the Air Force Office of Space Research and Air Force Research Laboratories. FASTRAC is a two nanosatellite mission that will be launched aboard a Minotaur IV rocket from Kodiak, Alaska. The goal of the FASTRAC mission is to demonstrate enabling technologies for nanosatellites that work together in space. The primary mission objectives are: 1) demonstrate two-way intersatellite crosslink with verified data exchange, 2) perform on-orbit real-time GPS relative navigation between satellites, and 3) demonstrate autonomous thruster operation using single-antenna on-orbit real-time GPS attitude determination. A description of the FASTRAC mission and its concept of operations are provided. This paper also recounts the history of the FASTRAC program, from its beginning in 2003 as an entry in the University Nanosatellite Program (UNP-3) Competition until its Launch and Operations Phase in 2010. Some of the unique goals and challenges of building, testing, delivering, and operating a nanosatellite in a university environment with a very limited budget are addressed. Lessons learned throughout the project's life cycle and recommendations for similar programs are documented and shared.

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Aug 12th, 12:15 PM

The FASTRAC Experience: A Student Run Nanosatellite Program

The FASTRAC (Formation Autonomy Spacecraft with Thrust, Relnav, Attitude and Crosslink) satellites built by students from The University of Texas at Austin are manifested for a Space Test Program (STP) launch in September 2010. FASTRAC is the 2005 winner of the University Nanosatellite competition sponsored by the Air Force Office of Space Research and Air Force Research Laboratories. FASTRAC is a two nanosatellite mission that will be launched aboard a Minotaur IV rocket from Kodiak, Alaska. The goal of the FASTRAC mission is to demonstrate enabling technologies for nanosatellites that work together in space. The primary mission objectives are: 1) demonstrate two-way intersatellite crosslink with verified data exchange, 2) perform on-orbit real-time GPS relative navigation between satellites, and 3) demonstrate autonomous thruster operation using single-antenna on-orbit real-time GPS attitude determination. A description of the FASTRAC mission and its concept of operations are provided. This paper also recounts the history of the FASTRAC program, from its beginning in 2003 as an entry in the University Nanosatellite Program (UNP-3) Competition until its Launch and Operations Phase in 2010. Some of the unique goals and challenges of building, testing, delivering, and operating a nanosatellite in a university environment with a very limited budget are addressed. Lessons learned throughout the project's life cycle and recommendations for similar programs are documented and shared.