Livermore Lab seeks experts for Pandora SmallSat mission

July 7, 2022
Pandora will observe at least 20 exoplanets with sizes ranging from Earth-size to Jupiter-size and host stars spanning mid-K to late-M spectral types.

LIVERMORE, Calif., - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Energy/NNSA Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNS) are seeking industry and academic experts to help execute mission operations and a ground-based network for its Pandora SmallSat project.

LLNS' focus would be on efficient, minimally manned automated operations, to execute the mission objectives and interface with mission elements from GSFC & ARC and a ground station network provider. LLNS is also seeking ground system network provide that can support 4,000 seconds of downlink at X-band per day and required S-band uplink commanding & state of health support.

The agencies note that respondents can reply to one or both objectives. This is inquiry is not limited to commercial entities and is open to academic institutions, UARC, and FFRDCs’ that have considerable expertise and experiences in the following:

  • Capabilities to provide Small Satellite mission operations for command & control, automated operations, and spacecraft engineering support to include anomaly resolution when required.
  • Includes ability to handle AES-256 software encryption/decryption
  • US Government Approved for handling of ITAR data for elements of spacecraft design information requiring those controls
  • Previous experience performing mission operations for NASA, CIVIL or DoD NanoSat or SmallSat Missions
  • Ability to enter into a Non-Disclosure agreement with Raytheon Blue Canyon Technologies for access to required information to operate an ESPA class SmallSat bus.
  • Abilities to interface with other operational elements to include NASA GSFC, ARC and LLNS over terrestrial networks for passing of data, files, and operations coordination.
  • Capabilities to provide antenna coverage with S-Band Uplink & downlink and X-Band Downlink for the contacts described above or existing capabilities to interface with an existing ground station network provider.

Companies that have not worked with LLNS are encouraged to visit the LLNS Prospective Supplier website and complete a supplier information form if it is interested in doing business with the laboratory.

Pandora is a SmallSat mission concept, selected as part of NASA’s Astrophysics Pioneers Program and designed to study the atmospheres of exoplanets using transmission spectroscopy. The agencies say that transmission spectroscopy of transiting exoplanets provides our best opportunity to identify the makeup of planetary atmospheres in the coming decade. Pandora is designed to disentangle star and planet signals in transmission spectra and reliably characterize the planetary atmospheres. Pandora will collect long-duration photometric observations with a visible-light channel and simultaneous spectra with a near-IR channel, where water is a strong molecular absorber. Pandora will observe at least 20 exoplanets with sizes ranging from Earth-size to Jupiter-size and host stars spanning mid-K to late-M spectral types.

LLNL has set a response date of 15 July, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Please reach out to Emily Edler at [email protected] for more information or to submit. 

About the Author

Jamie Whitney

Jamie Whitney joined the staff of Military & Aerospace Electronics and Intelligent Aerospace. He brings seven years of print newspaper experience to the aerospace and defense electronics industry.

Whitney oversees editorial content for the Intelligent Aerospace Website, as well as produce news and features for Military & Aerospace Electronics, attend industry events, produce Webcasts, oversee print production of Military & Aerospace Electronics, and expand the Intelligent Aerospace and Military & Aerospace Electronics franchises with new and innovative content.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!