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CubeSat instrumentation

By miniaturizing highly successful and tested (TRL>6) space instrumentation, Goddard scientists and engineers are developing extremely powerful instrumentation applicable to CubeSats. From 1U imagers to advanced UV-Vis-NIR spectrometers, these small footprint payloads can address a broad range of highly relevant scientific goals.

BIRCHES: Broadband InfraRed Compact High Resolution Exploration Spectrometer

Principal Investigator: Dennis Reuter, NASA/GSFC Planetary Systems Laboratory
The Broadband InfraRed Compact High Resolution Exploration Spectrometer (BIRCHES) is a central instrument of Lunar IceCube, a mission led by Ben Malphrus of Morehead State University that has been recently selected for a 2018 launch by NASA’s NextSTEP Program. BIRCHES will conduct an infrared spectroscopic investigation to improve our understanding of the distribution of volatiles, including water, on the Moon’s surface.
Press release

CubeSat Telescope

Principal Investigator: Ted Kostiuk, NASA/GSFC Planetary Systems Laboratory
The CubeSat Telescope project aims to demonstrate the design of a compact telescope with fast, reflective optics and an interface, including fiber optic coupling, appropriate for use with UV-Vis-NIR mini-spectrometers. Such a telescope subsystem would have a “standard” instrument interface and be compatible with low-cost, mass-produced spectrometers. This approach can lead to rapid CubeSat instrument development, paving the way for large scale deployment to study planets, Earth and other solar system objects over a broad spectral range (UV-NIR) and enable atmospheric and surface studies on multiple targets at reduced cost and improved efficiency and science return.
Press release

UV-Vis-NIR Spectrometer

Principal Investigator: Shahid Aslam, NASA/GSFC Planetary Systems Laboratory
The goal of the UV-Vis-NIR Spectrometer project is to demonstrate the efficacy of a miniature commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) UV-Vis-NIR spectrometer that can address broad planetary science goals. COTS low-cost, mass-produced devices can be integrated into a CubeSat infrastructure for rapid development and potential large scale deployment, such as in swarms. We are working on a number of critical issues that include characterizing broadband spectral response in the context of planetary remote sensing, and data communications with the science and CubeSat bus processor.