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PTD 3 (TBIRD, Tyvak 0125)

PTD 3 [NASA Ames]

The PTD 3 (Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3) is a 6U CubeSat technology demonstration mission to demonstrate the new TBIRD laser communications system from MIT Lincoln Laboratory capable of sending large amounts of data to ground stations from low-Earth orbit. This system could deliver up to 10 terabytes of data per day to a ground station.

Each PTD mission consists of a 6-unit (6U) CubeSat weighing approximately 12 kilograms and measuring 30 cm × 25 cm × 10 cm. Each PTD spacecraft will also be equipped with deployable solar arrays that provide an average of 44 watts of power while in orbit.

The PTD-3 payload is the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery, or TBIRD, which is being developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington in collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Funding for the TBIRD technology payload is provided by NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program in the Space Operations Mission Directorate. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s (STMD) Small Spacecraft Technology (SST) program provides funding for the spacecraft, mission operations, and launch. The communication system is intended to achieve an unprecedented 200 gigabit per second data downlink rate.

It was selected in 2020 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to be launched as part of the ELaNa program.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: NASA Ames Research Center
Contractors: NASA Ames Research Center; Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc.(bus)
Equipment: TBIRDS Laser communications terminal
Configuration: CubeSat (6U)
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 12 kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
PTD 3 (TBIRD, Tyvak 0125) 2022-057C 25.05.2022 CC SLC-40 Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5) with Umbra 03, ICEYE X17, ..., X20, X24, ŃuSat 28, ..., 31, GHGSat C3, C4, C5, Hawk 5A, 5B, 5C, CICERO-2 1, 2, Sherpa-AC 1, ION-SCV 006, Guardian 1, SBUDNIC, Vigoride 3, SelfieSat, FossaSat 2E7, ..., 2E13, Veery FS-1, Urdaneta-Armsat 1, Spark 2, AMS, CNCE 4, 5, Platform 1, BroncoSat 1, Foresail 1, Planetum 1, SPiN 1, Connecta T1.1, Centauri 5, Sejong 1, Lemur-2 153, ..., 156, VariSat 1C, PTD 3, CPOD A, B, OMD 1


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