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A CubeSat receiver for the study of VLF-waves at LEO
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Paper Abstract

We describe the design of the μBBR (micro Broad Band Receiver), a VLF receiver for the VPM mission. VPM is an AFRL CubeSat mission that will be launched into a 500 km circular orbit with a 45° inclination where it will continuously sample the VLF electromagnetic spectrum from 300 Hz to 30 kHz. These waves largely control the state of the radiation belts and improved understanding of them will lead to improved radiation belt predictive models. The µBBR consists of a single-axis electric dipole antenna, or dipole antenna assembly (DAA), a single-axis magnetic field search coil antenna, or search coil boom assembly (SCBA) and a payload electronics module (PEM). It is designed for high reliability by using radiation-tolerant components. The dipole antenna and search coil are aligned perpendicular to each other and the spacecraft is operated so as to keep both perpendicular to the background magnetic field as much as possible. All signal processing is implemented in an FPGA, using fixed-point arithmetic, without any volatile onboard firmware. Data is sampled at 80 kHz using a GPS-disciplined clock. Two date products are delivered: a reduced-bandwidth survey mode with 6.5, 13.1, or 26.2 second resolution, and a commandable full-resolution burst mode. Burst data can be taken in the time or frequency domain, can be selectively windowed along the time or frequency axes, and can be decimated by a factor of 2, 4, 8, or 16. Such capability is included because of anticipated data download rate limitations. The VPM spacecraft is scheduled for launch before the end of 2019.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 August 2019
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 11131, CubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III, 111310P (30 August 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2530479
Show Author Affiliations
Daniel Ramos, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Gordon Wilson, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Austin Sousa, Univ. of Colorado Boulder (United States)
Robert Marshall, Univ. of Colorado Boulder (United States)
Ken Brunetto, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
John Ballenthin, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Ronald Kay, Applied Technology Associates (United States)
James Patton, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Stephen Quigley, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Judy Fennelly, Air Force Research Lab. (Retired) (United States)
Michael Starks, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Travis Willet-Gies, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Stephen Tullino, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Ivan Linscott, Stanford Univ. (United States)
Umran Inan, Stanford Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11131:
CubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III
Thomas S. Pagano; Charles D. Norton; Sachidananda R. Babu, Editor(s)

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