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.
It was selected in 2020 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to be launched as part of the ELaNa program.
|Type / Application:||Technology|
|Operator:||NASA Ames Research Center|
|Contractors:||NASA Ames Research Center; Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc.(bus)|
|Equipment:||TBIRDS Laser communications terminal|
|Power:||2 deployable solar arrays, batteries|
|PTD 2||-||2020||WI LC-0A||Antares-230+||with Cygnus CRS-14, BeaverCube, Bobcat 1, NEUTRON 1, SPOC, RamSat|