Northrop Grumman’s SharkSat payload showcases agility from the ground to orbit

(15 February 2021 – Northrop Grumman) A shark strikes by the water with pace and agility, all the time targeted on transferring ahead. It’s on this similar vein that Northrop Grumman lately developed SharkSat, a pioneering payload to display on-orbit mission agility and meet calls for for fast growth and deployment in area.

In January, after finishing a three-month keep on the Worldwide Area Station hosted aboard the corporate’s Cygnus spacecraft, SharkSat spent two weeks orbiting the Earth and transmitting priceless telemetry and efficiency information again to mission controllers.

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A Northrop Grumman engineer prepares SharkSat for integration with the Cygnus spacecraft. (courtesy: Northrop Grumman)

“SharkSat’s success immediately displays the pace and agility that our group put forth to ship mission success,” stated Candace Givens, vp, payload and floor methods division, Northrop Grumman.

Throughout its mission, SharkSat efficiently collected on-board information, which supplied perception into the well being and functioning of its digital parts after departing the area station. It additionally validated the flexibility so as to add new software program to an in-flight satellite tv for pc from a terrestrial floor station and demonstrated the resilience of those applied sciences by the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA). The SAA is a area of area identified to trigger low-earth orbiting satellites to lose communication and their {hardware} to brown-out, interrupting operations.

Elements of the payload included a multi-processor structure to help space-to-space and space-to-ground communication focused towards the event of a Ka-Band software program outlined radio. These applied sciences have makes use of in fields equivalent to 5G telecommunications, satellite tv for pc communications, and autonomous and cognitive methods. The SharkSat payload additionally affords a path for subsequent technology area methods to have extra functionality, decreased dimension, weight and energy (SWaP), decrease price and decreased growth timelines.

SharkSat serves as a stepping stone towards reusing these applied sciences for a number of purposes sooner or later. Its enhancements focus on utilizing superior and better efficiency parts which can be extra succesful, but devour much less energy.

Whereas the payload itself was created based mostly on an agile growth course of, the group who made it potential was assembled with that in thoughts. The SharkSat group was comprised of early-career and skilled professionals that introduced distinctive experiences and views on methods to obtain mission success. They put a premium on attaining high quality by innovation and agility whereas taking calculated dangers, testing completely and tight collaboration.

“Participating the total capabilities of our Area Programs group laid a collaborative basis throughout the enterprise,” stated Dave Schiller, SharkSat program supervisor for idea growth and engineering, Northrop Grumman. “Our partnerships, along with an end-to-end focus, created alternatives for making thrilling new concepts a actuality, permitting us to beat challenges as a group and full a profitable mission.”

Alongside the best way to mission success, Northrop Grumman’s SharkSat group put into observe flexibility, agility, exhausting work and an open-mind — encouraging them to swim confidently ahead to the subsequent problem.


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