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USN Moderates CubeSat RF Communications Standards Meeting
by Staff Writers
Logan UT (SPX) Aug 11, 2014


File image.

Universal Space Network (USN) moderated a meeting Tuesday of 20 CubeSat industry leaders from academia, industry and government in an effort to develop a standardized communications package.

"Today, the ground infrastructure supporting SmallSat/CubeSat communications is not guided by any standard," said USN CEO John Williams, who provided opening comments to the meeting.

"This results in higher costs to everyone due to varied designs from UHF networks to higher-end government and university networks. By encouraging an industry-wide standard, SmallSat/CubeSat missions will be able to focus more on the operational, technological and science part of their missions.

"USN's goal is to help facilitate an industry-wide ground network communications standard so costs for fielding SmallSats/CubeSats can be significantly reduced and more technology can be delivered to consumers around the world."

During the meeting, the academia, industry and government participants discussed:

+ Working with the spacecraft manufacturers and owner/operators to develop and qualify common communications systems.

+ Establishing basic Interface Control Documents (ICD's) that refer to a standard configuration for communications and radio interfaces.

+ Forming working groups to recommend RF configurations for the SmallSat/CubeSat community at large.

+ The announcement regarding SSC and USN's five new antenna assets available for CubeSat communications services.

"Today was a great start to moving the CubeSat industry toward a standardized communications architecture," said Jay Heberle, USN's lead for CubeSat standardized communications package development.

"With hundreds of CubeSats being launched each year, the industry is expanding from a platform that was primarily academic to a fully operational capability. The industry is also at a 'tipping point' in terms of current satellite ground station network capability and projected requirements. Now, efforts for industry partners will pave the way to meeting future requirements in a more affordable, secure and resilient manner."

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