V-R3x - CubeSat cross-link, ranging, and coordinated measurment technology demonstration for future distributed CubeSat swarm missions

PI: Zachary Manchester, Stanford University, Anh Nguyen (Co-I), NASA/Ames Research Center

The V-R3x tech demo will demonstrate low-cost and low-SWaP autonomous high-speed cross-linking, ranging, coordinated radiation measurements, and relative topology recovery utilizing three (3) 1U CubeSats. The heart of the tech demo relies on an experimental S-band radio to perform the high-speed cross-link and ranging experiment. A high altitude balloon flight will achieve the distance required to verify the link budget parameters and ranging performance.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA05 Communication and Navigation
Problem Statement

Future NASA missions will require the coordination of multiple spacecraft to achieve their objectives. To date, commercial satellite operators are developing new methods for navigating, controlling, and communicating with small satellites in LEO that scale to hundreds of spacecraft but still require heavy use of ground-based infrastructure, centralized planning, and control performed from the ground. A greater degree of autonomy is needed for truly robust and scalable coordination between many spacecraft, both in LEO and beyond. V-R3x will demonstrate key wireless autonomous networking and radio navigation algorithms to enable such large swarms of spacecraft.

Technology Maturation

Functional and performance test of experimental RF cross-link and ranging activities in a space-like environment.
Start TRL: 4
End TRL: 6

Future Customers

A successful on-orbit demonstration of V-R3x will open new small spacecraft distributed architectures in astronomy, Earth observation, solar physics, and exploration beyond LEO.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    NASA Directed
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Balloon

Development Team

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Stephan Ord Last Update: November 16, 2018