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Pathfinder Risk Reduction (Tyvak 0129, Pony Express 1)

Pathfinder Risk Reduction [Tyvak]

The Pathfinder Risk Reduction, also known by the manufacturers designation Tyvak 0129, is a 6U CubeSat technology demonstration mission funded and built by Tyvak, that serves as a risk reduction for NASA's PTD missions.

Tyvak-0129 seeks to gather in-flight data for the bus hardware platform as a risk reduction prior to the NASA Pathfinder mission. The Tyvak-0129 bus platform includes the next generation of Tyvak power, communication, GNC and on-board processing subsystems and will be identical in form, fit and function to the bus used on NASA Pathfinder. Subsequently, Tyvak-0129 will serve as a flight demonstration to reduce risk and provide flight heritage to the bus platform prior to the launch of the NASA Pathfinder experimental missions later in 2019.

In addition, Tyvak-0129 hosts two experimental payloads to increase their technology readiness level and gather valuable flight test data. The two payloads are an electric propulsion system developed by Accion Systems Inc and a receive-only radio system developed by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Both payloads are only powered by Tyvak-0129 and rely on the spacecraft bus to downlink all flight telemetry to ground assets.

Lockheed Martin's Pony Express 1 payload, an example of rapid prototyping, was developed, built and integrated in nine months, and was funded completely by Lockheed Martin Research and Development funding. This orbital proving ground is validating payload hardware and software, and is packed with new technology that fits into a satellite the size of a shoebox. Some of the key technologies being flight-tested include:

  • HiveStar software validates advanced adaptive mesh communications between satellites, shared processing capabilities and can take advantage of sensors aboard other smart satellites to customize missions in new ways previously difficult to achieve in space
  • A software-defined radio that allows for high-bandwidth hosting of multiple RF applications, store-and-forward RF collection, data compression, digital signal processing and waveform transmission.
  • 3D-printed wideband antenna housing developed by Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Center.

It was launched by a launch arranged via Tyvak on an Indian PSLV-QL rocket.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc.
Contractors: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. (bus)
Equipment:
Configuration: CubeSat (6U)
Propulsion:
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime:
Mass: 11 kg
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51.6 (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Pathfinder Risk Reduction (Tyvak 0129, Pony Express 1) 2019-089 11.12.2019 Sr FLP PSLV-QL with RISAT 2BR1, QPS-SAR 1, 1HOPSat TD, Lemur-2 108, ..., 111, Duchifat 3, NANOVA

References:

Further PTD missions: