Status: In Development
AGS6’s primary mission is to demonstrate the functionality of a RF patch array device for applications in space-based SSA systems. AGS6’s secondary mission is to sample the LEO radiation environment to enhance existing radiation models.
The space environment is becoming increasingly congested, competitive and contested. In order to adapt to the rising challenge that increased access to space poses and to meet the high demand for space traffic management, new technologies and methods must be developed. Space-based Space Situational Awareness (SSA) systems must be developed as an alternative to the expensive ground-based SSA systems that have been used for years. As part of the University Nanosatellite Program’s (UNP) Nanosat-10 program, AGS6 attempts to find a solution.
AGS6 will host two payloads into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) aboard a 6U Cubesat. The primary payload will be an antenna array device designed to augment existing SSA capabilities. The secondary payload will be Teledyn’s LowLET Micro-Dosimeter to measure low energy elections in the LEO. Collected data can then be downlinked to a ground station in The Aerospace Corporation’s network of ground stations throughout the United States.
In order to demonstrate the potential for space-based SSA systems, the satellite will use the RF patch array device to passively collect signals from the a satellite constellation constellation above AGS6. The raw antenna data will then be downlinked to a ground station where it can be processed in order to determine a direction of arrival vector for satellites in said constellation. If the direction of arrival vector is accurate within an error of 4.2 degrees, it will be considered to have met the mission criteria. While this occurs, AGS6 will collect dosimeter radiation data and downlink it to a ground station for further processing by The Aerospace Corporation. Theoretically, by creating a constellation of satellites like AggieSat6, one could track a multitude of space objects with much smaller error than that of a single satellite, all while reducing the need for widespread ground-based SSA systems.