Lunar-Orbiting Ham Radio Satellite Could Result from NASA Cube Quest Challenge

A NASA Cube Quest Challenge (CQC) team partnered with AMSAT-NA is among the five CQC teams to receive $20,000 each from the space agency as part of a competition that could lead to a lunar-orbiting Amateur Radio satellite. The Ragnarok Industries Nano-Satellite Company team, comprised of former NASA Goddard Space Flight Center PhD engineering interns, is designing the 6-unit (6U) Heimdallr CubeSat to test advanced propulsion and communication technologies for lunar and deep-space missions. AMSAT would develop the 5 GHz uplink/10 GHz downlink — the so-called “five and dime” paradigm — Phase 5 Amateur Radio transponder for the spacecraft, and AMSAT’s Ground Terminal initiative is supporting the effort. The five teams announced on September 9 scored highest in the first of four “ground tournaments” making up the initial phase of the $5 million CQC. The three teams with the highest total cumulative scores will be offered rides as secondary payloads on the first Space Launch System (SLS) mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) in 2018.

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