NASA ready to approach industry for V-band high-speed data satellite crosslinks for Earth monitoring

June 10, 2024
V band frequencies are from 40 to 75 gigahertz, and are not heavily used, except for millimeter wave radar and other kinds of scientific research.

CLEVELAND – U.S. space researchers are ready to approach industry for a project to demonstrate V-band satellite crosslinks to transmit large volumes of science and Earth remote sensing data with high-speed and low latency.

Officials of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center in Cleveland issued a statement of objectives Thursday of the upcoming Small Satellite Cross-Link Systems project. A formal solicitation is expected around 28 June 2024.

The Small Satellite Cross-Link Systems seeks to conduct a small satellite flight demonstration to demonstrate the performance of V-band crosslinks, as well as involve colleges and universities in performing V-band crosslink space-communications experiments.

V band describes microwave frequencies from 40 to 75 gigahertz. The V band is not heavily used, except for millimeter wave radar research and other kinds of scientific research.

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Scientific and Earth remote-sensing missions are primary users of Earth-proximity space-relay communication services for climate monitoring, resource management, oceanography, and disaster response.

As sensing technologies develop, the data volume needs for remote sensing missions in real time are increasing, which requires high-speed, low- latency communications, NASA researchers explain.

NASA wants a contractor to conduct a small satellite flight to demonstrate the performance of V-band high-speed data crosslinks, and work with colleges and universities to perform V-band crosslink space-communication experiments.

The contractor will conduct a small satellite-based flight demonstration of a V- Band crosslink capability, and complete a mission concept review, mission design review, characterization and experiment plan review, and launch and operational readiness review with NASA experts prior to launching the small satellites.

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The experiment plan should address:

-- antenna pattern and pointing performance to quantify realized antenna gain as a function of the relative position between satellites and pointing stability under various spacecraft conditions;

-- link budget performance to quantify realized link margins and signal to noise ratios as a function of various systems parameters and relative position between satellites;

-- bit error rate performance curves for available modulation and coding schemes to quantify the quality of the crosslink communications channel;

-- data throughput and latency performance under various spacecraft conditions and use cases to quantify the ability of V-band crosslink systems to support remote sensing and Earth observation science use-cases;

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-- ranging and positioning performance to quantify the ability of V-band crosslink capability to support range and velocity measurements between the small satellites; and

-- end-to-end system performance to evaluate the ability to use the V-band cross- link capability in real-world use-cases and applications.

In addition, the contractor will provide opportunities for an academic institutions to perform space-communication experiments using the V-band crosslink capability.

Companies interested should email NASA's Tyler Braden of their interest in submitting offers no later than 21 June 2024 at [email protected]. More information is online at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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