SURFSAT-1 is a small satellite built by undergraduate college students and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to support experiments by NASA's Deep Space Network. The satellite is designed to mimic signals from planetary spacecraft, and radiates milliwatt level RF signals in X-, Ku-, and Ka-band. These signals support research and development experiments supporting future implementation of Ka-band communications, tests of new 11m ground stations built to support the Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry project (SVLBI), and training of ground station personnel. From conception through launch, the spacecraft cost ~$3 million, including design, fabrication, test, and launch integration. The mission's goal is to provide one year of continuous operation, although the lack of any consumables aboard the spacecraft may permit several additional years of operation. Spacecraft: The spacecraft consists of two aluminum boxes that remain permanently bolted to the launch vehicle's 2nd stage rocket. The SUSFSAT-1/Delta 2 system is gravity gradient stabilised. Power is provided by body-mounted solar panels providing ~15W orbit average power. The boxes are electrically connected by a interconnecting wire harness.3 omni antennas (2 on the "primary" box, 1 on the "secondary" box) are used for uplink and downlink.3 independent command detector units are used to control operational state. The vehicle uses passive thermal control. There is no propulsion system, batteries or attitude control / determination. Payload: One transponder a carried in each box. The "primary" transponder operates at X-band (8 Ghz) and Ka-band (32 Ghz). The "secondary" transponder operates at Ku-band (15 Ghz). Both transponders radiate milliwatt level signals through the omni antennas.
Design Life: 1 year. Total Length: 0.8 m. Maximum Diameter: 0.3 m. Total Mass: 55 kg.
Test satellite for NASA's Deep Space Network.