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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Day in the Life

Before launch, the following satellite capabilities must be established:

  • The satellite antenna deploys autonomously two hours after P-POD deployment
  • The satellite begins beaconing autonomously two hours after P-POD deployment
  • The ground station can hear the satellite beacon once the antenna is deployed
  • The satellite collects housekeeping data correctly
  • The satellite can be commanded into science mode
  • The satellite collects science data correctly
  • The satellite can be commanded to downlink data to the ground station
  • The ground station can receive the downlinked data

Day in the Life testing is responsible for affirming each of these functions. In order to simulate the on-orbit RF signal attenuation, the satellite was prepped as it would be before launch and moved 5 miles away from the LASP ground station, on a hill with direct line of sight. Once the satellite was positioned, the P-POD deployment was simulated by closing the deployment switch onboard the spacecraft. With the deployment switch closed, the spacecraft batteries power the satellite, allowing it to begin collecting housekeeping data. The spacecraft was monitored; two hours after the simulated P-POD deployment the spacecraft antenna autonomously deployed and beacons were heard from the LASP ground station.

With communications established, the LASP ground station commanded the spacecraft into science mode and the spacecraft began collecting science data. Housekeeping and science data were then downlinked to the LASP ground station. Thus, CSSWE proved its capacity to meet each of the goals listed above. The image below shows CSSWE after the antenna deployed, communicating with the LASP ground station in the valley below.