April 16, 2016 – Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) has recently been selected by The Ohio State University (OSU) to build a 6U spacecraft called CubeRRT. The CubeSat Radiometer Radio Frequency Interference Technology Validation (CubeRRT) mission will observe, detect, and mitigate radio frequency interference (RFI) for microwave radiometers. RFI is a growing concern for Earth science observations due to its negative impact on science measurements with microwave radiometers.
CubeRRT is being developed through collaboration between OSU, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Goddard and JPL will build the front-end instrument and the backend electronics for the spacecraft, respectively, while OSU will implement CubeRRT’s antenna subsystem and manage the project.
BCT will integrate the CubeRRT payloads with the 6U spacecraft bus and perform environmental testing of the complete spacecraft. The spacecraft will be operated from BCT’s Mission Operations Center located in Boulder, Colorado. BCT’s 6U spacecraft is a high-performance CubeSat that includes an ultra-precise attitude control system that allows for accurate knowledge and fine-pointing of the satellite payload.
“We are excited to work with The Ohio State University, NASA Goddard, and JPL on this important mission. BCT’s XB satellite platform continues to be a perfect match for science missions like CubeRRT that require a reliable, high-performance spacecraft”, said George Stafford, BCT president.
CubeRRT’s mission is to identify and mitigate RFI for space-based microwave radiometers. As spectrum usage has increased by the communications industry, RFI has become a problem for science missions. CubeRRT will build on the success of RFI mitigation techniques developed for NASA’s Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission, but at higher frequencies – 6 – 40GHz – instead of SMAP’s 1.4 GHz. Mitigation at these higher frequencies will allow scientists to continue using radiometry for high quality Earth science measurements.
The 6U spacecraft will be developed and operated at BCT’s Spacecraft Manufacturing and Operations Center located in Boulder, Colorado. The office and laboratory are designed specifically for high-volume production of spacecraft systems and components, with the manufacturing capability to handle large constellations of small spacecraft.