Published: July 14, 2016
Last Updated: July 31, 2017, 7:40 p.m.
Read time: 3 minutes
ATLAS Space Operations, Inc. has commissioned a pathfinder space mission to demonstrate its Interplanetary Satellite Communications Network (ISCN). The ATLAS ISCN is the world's first commercially available deep space communications network. The pathfinder mission is scheduled for launch in 2018 as a part of the NASA Cube Quest Challenge in cooperation with one of the six companies eligible, Miles Space, Inc.
The ATLAS ISCN will provide an affordable, commercially available alternative to the established deep space communications capabilities of the world. As stated by ATLAS CEO, Sean McDaniel, “Our objective is to advance commercial interest in space by providing access to more affordable communications from space to Earth. ATLAS was founded on this principle.”
ATLAS has chosen Phoenix for the first ISCN antenna site, with more to follow. Using innovations in phased array technology, ATLAS is installing a large array of electronically steered apertures to achieve the performance required to detect and track the faint radio frequency signals typical of deep space missions. The ISCN will have the similar performance attributes as the NASA DSN. “Our deep space ground station was born out of a technology partnership with Miles Space, enabling the ATLAS ground network to scale dynamically with the demand of the commercial space industry.” McDaniel said. Plans are in motion to establish operational Deep Space capability from Phoenix by July of 2017.
The 6U ATLAS ISCN pathfinder CubeSat will launch aboard the NASA Exploration Mission 1 (EM1), as a participant in the Cube Quest Challenge. After completing the challenge objectives, the satellite will move to a storage orbit that coincides with the 2016HO3 asteroid – Earth’s newly discovered quasi-satellite. The spacecraft will communicate via the ATLAS ISCN at distances reaching 30 million kilometers. Proving deep space capabilities are commercially available using ATLAS.
The spacecraft is equipped with proprietary ConstantQ™ advanced propulsion system capable of achieving the velocity necessary to establish the rendezvous trajectory with 2016HO3. “The spacecraft will have about 1U of space (about the size of a shoebox) to host science instrumentation from any agency that has an interest in collecting data on the asteroid.” McDaniel Said. “We will transmit the data back through the ATLAS ISCN and make it available for everyone to study.”
About ATLAS Space Operations, Inc.
ATLAS Space Operations, Inc. is a state-of-the-art satellite TT&C company that is utilizing the latest technologies to provide seamless solutions for the consumer’s satcom needs. Having moved hardware to the cloud and completely bypassing the need for onsite maintenance – ATLAS delivers a cost effective solution to the customers. For more information, visit www.atlasground.com and follow @AtlasSpace on Twitter.
About Miles Space
Miles Space, Inc. is the premier maker of space communication systems, CubeSats, and spacecraft propulsion. With our focus on the emerging asteroid market, Miles space produces compact plasma thrusters, autonomous deep space satellite operation software, and RF aperture array technology.