When a small spacecraft needed to transmit data to Earth, he has to wait when he gets within range of a ground station, and it's pretty long and not always convenient, especially if we are talking about small satellites with modest functionality and capabilities. To solve this problem, NASA experts and engineers startup ATLAS Space Operations have jointly developed a system of space data transfer, which is now being actively tested. The idea of the project is that when researchers need to obtain data from the satellite, they could not wait, instead deploying a small transmitter in the desired location and pass the information through it.
consists of a microcomputer which ensures the safety of data when a failure occurs, and four antennas, the weight of each not exceeding five pounds. For operation it needs only a power source and Internet access. It is capable of real-time process signals from several satellites a small and quickly adjusted for work in just a few minutes after treatment.
The Developers note that the ATLAS still requires certain improvements, but in the future will be able to provide fast and reliable data transfer to the Ground even in those areas where NASA has no land-based stations. It is reported, that to operate such mobile antenna can both independently and in «» with stations of the NASA Near Earth network Network.
If the development project is successfully completed, the transmitters will become cheap and practical solution that will allow you to store backups and support missions, providing an additional link between spacecraft and Earth.
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