Session

Technical Session 5: Ground Systems

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program at NASA has reorganized its operations portfolio into two networks: the Deep Space Network and the new Near Space Network (NSN). With this reorganization, NASA can begin transforming to 100% direct-to-Earth commercial communications services for missions in the near-Earth region. NASA’s leveraging of commercial direct-to-Earth ground stations offers several benefits for the small satellite community, including lower cost, greater coverage, and increased technology infusion. In the fall of 2020, SCaN announced their intention to rely primarily on industry-provided communications services for missions close to Earth by 2030.

Commercial services are one way to infuse new technology into the ground station network without requiring an investment from NASA. Digital Video Broadcast, Satellite Second Generation (DVB-S2) is one example of a current technology. When combined with variable coding and modulation (VCM), the system automatically optimizes the data rate based on signal performance, significantly increasing total downlink data volume without an increase in the spacecraft effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP). There are several commercial service providers, including Amazon Web Service (AWS) Ground Station (AGS) and the KSATLITE ground stations that support SmallSat missions using DVB-S2 waveforms for downlinks. This paper identifies some commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) CubeSat/SmallSat DVB-S2 X-band and Ka-band radios. Overall, NASA’s increased dependence on commercial direct-to-Earth ground stations is a significant benefit for the small satellite community.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

Share

COinS
 
Aug 11th, 12:00 PM

NASA Leveraging Commercial Communication Ground Stations for Small Satellites

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program at NASA has reorganized its operations portfolio into two networks: the Deep Space Network and the new Near Space Network (NSN). With this reorganization, NASA can begin transforming to 100% direct-to-Earth commercial communications services for missions in the near-Earth region. NASA’s leveraging of commercial direct-to-Earth ground stations offers several benefits for the small satellite community, including lower cost, greater coverage, and increased technology infusion. In the fall of 2020, SCaN announced their intention to rely primarily on industry-provided communications services for missions close to Earth by 2030.

Commercial services are one way to infuse new technology into the ground station network without requiring an investment from NASA. Digital Video Broadcast, Satellite Second Generation (DVB-S2) is one example of a current technology. When combined with variable coding and modulation (VCM), the system automatically optimizes the data rate based on signal performance, significantly increasing total downlink data volume without an increase in the spacecraft effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP). There are several commercial service providers, including Amazon Web Service (AWS) Ground Station (AGS) and the KSATLITE ground stations that support SmallSat missions using DVB-S2 waveforms for downlinks. This paper identifies some commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) CubeSat/SmallSat DVB-S2 X-band and Ka-band radios. Overall, NASA’s increased dependence on commercial direct-to-Earth ground stations is a significant benefit for the small satellite community.