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Code TI Contributes to Successful Deployment of TechEdSat5 From International Space Station and Completion of Initial Ops
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Code TI Contributes to Successful Deployment of TechEdSat5 From International Space Station and Completion of Initial Ops

The TechEdSat5 (TES5) was successfully deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) Kubo module using the NanoRacks deployer on Monday March 6, 2017 at 10:20 am PST. Code TI contributes to the TES series in two areas:

  • Rick Alena leads the Wireless Sensor Module (WSM) development effort, performing sensor signal and radio frequency analysis and system integration. The second-generation WSM hardware and software, called the Cricket, is hosted aboard the satellite and provides atmospheric pressure and temperature readings, 6-axis accelerometers and gyros, and a 3-axis magnetometer. Support for multiple thermocouples allows measurement of TES solar panel surface temperatures, and internal avionics temperature and magnetometer data was very useful for determining orbital attitude. Jon Wheless (Mission Design Division – Code RD) is responsible for WSM hardware and software development through the Code RD/TI partnership.
  • Chetan Kulkarini leads the battery prognostics team, providing support for flight qualification testing of the TES5 main batteries via a qualification process developed for the Discovery and Systems Health’s (DaSH) Systems Health, Analytics, Resilience, and Physics-modeling (SHARP) Lab (with substantial guidance from Ali Guarneros Luna, Systems Safety and Mission Assurance Division – Code QS). Nominal voltage and current characterization, together with charge capacity determination, provide key data on battery health prior to flight. Telemetry received during the first two weeks of operation has confirmed proper operation of the battery and the new solar panels.
TES5 incorporates an improved exo-atmospheric drag device that features the capability of changing the drag coefficient during flight, a major goal of this experiment, led by PI Marcus Murbach (RD). Initial checkout and operations were conducted using an automated sequence, which commenced telemetry downlink, ejected the exo-brake, powered up the orbital GPS unit, and tested the PhoneSat5 high-end processor that takes photographs of the exo-brake and supports the high-speed Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) radio-band downlink.

The exo-brake experiment will begin soon, as TES5 descends to a lower orbit where the atmospheric drag becomes significant. Orbit determination, provided by optical tracking and the onboard GPS data, will estimate the effective drag during various phases of the mission. TES5 will meet a fiery end over the Pacific within the next few weeks.

BACKGROUND: The TechEdSat project is an ongoing experiment for developing passive deorbit technology for rapid return of ISS payloads as well as other planetary entry systems. Certain technology experiments, like the PhoneSat processor and the Wireless Sensor Module, are conducted as collaborations with the intention of providing more spacecraft and orbit data towards the goal of increasing the autonomy of these CubeSats — a key capability for demonstrating novel atmospheric reentry technology for ISS payloads.

The NASA Launch Opportunities Program provided the flight accommodations, supported by the ISS Program. The TechEdSat Project is intended to train early career engineers and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students. The TES5 is a 3U-class spacecraft with hardware and software evolved from Ames’ university collaborations with San Jose State University and the University of Idaho, with contributions from UC Riverside, UC Merced, UC Davis, CalPoly San Luis Obispo, and others.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: TES: Entry Systems Modeling (ESM) group, Game Changing Development Program (GCD), Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD); and the Ames Research Center Investment Fund. WSM subsystem development: NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), Chief Scientist Daniel Winterhalter.

TEAM: Richard Alena, Andres Dono-Perez, George Gorospe, Ali Guarneros Luna, Chetan Kulkarni, Marcus Murbach, Cedric Priscal, Alejandro Salas, Rogan Shimmin, Sebastian Smith, Thom Stone, Austin Tanner, and Jon Wheless

POINT OF CONTACT: TES:Marc Murbach, marcus.s.murbach@nasa.gov; WSM: Rick Alena, richard.l.alena@nasa.gov

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