AffiliationSpace & Missile Systems Center
Loral Space & Range Systems
small satellite operations
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Collection InformationProceedings from the International Telemetering Conference are made available by the International Foundation for Telemetering and the University of Arizona Libraries. Visit http://www.telemetry.org/index.php/contact-us if you have questions about items in this collection.
AbstractAn increasing number of satellite users and manufacturers are looking to lightweight, inexpensive satellites as substitutes to traditional large, expensive satellites with multiple payloads. Neither the Department of Defense nor the commercial sector can bear the financial or reputational consequences associated with massive program failures. With the low cost and weight of these new satellites, users can achieve mission success without great risk. One example of this new class of inexpensive spacecraft is the RADCAL (RADar CALibration) satellite. Detachment 2, Space & Missile Systems Center at Sunnyvale, CA operates the satellite. RADCAL is a 200-pound polar orbiting satellite with an average altitude of 450 miles. It is primarily used by 77 worldwide radars to calibrate their systems to within five meter accuracy. Also flying on board RADCAL is a communication payload for remote field users with small radios. The RADCAL program has satisfied all mission requirements. However, with the limited size and cost come certain challenges, both in the satellite and on the ground. Pre-launch testing was not as comprehensive as with more expensive programs; anomalies have arisen that require extensive workarounds. Data management is not a straightforward task, and it is sometimes difficult and inexact to track satellite performance. These challenges are presented with their solutions in the following discussion; this paper addresses the functional, operational, and testing aspects associated with the RADCAL satellite.
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