5G Array for Lunar Relay Operations Flight Test (FIGARO-FT)

PI: Satish Sharma, San Diego State University

The goal of the 5G Array for Lunar Relay Operations – Flight Test (FIGARO-FT) is to advance the TRL of a high-performance, low-cost candidate technology for LunaNet relay nodes that is consistent with the future LTE/ 5G architecture being planned for lunar communications. This flight test is a continuation of prior work funded through the NASA Smallsat Technology Partnership initiative (STP).

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

5G technology stands to revolutionize terrestrial cellular communications infrastructure. Since 5G spectrum shares common Ka-band frequencies with NASA space communications systems, an opportunity exists to leverage the short timescale development cycles and high volume (and therefore, low cost) production of commercial technologies to create a high-performance data communications network in a low-cost CubeSat form factor that’s capable of serving the lunar surface and orbiting systems.

Technology Maturation

The payload will be integrated onto a high-altitude balloon platform to demonstrate relay operations with two unique mobile ground-based users, representative of users on the lunar surface. A minimum flight experiment duration of 8 hours is anticipated to ensure successful generation and acquisition of links. During flight, pointing solutions for the phased array antenna will be calculated from onboard avionics interfaces and user signal locking, with a separate command/control link as backup. R

Future Customers

NASA’s LunaNet architecture

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights21 (Dec 2021)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Balloon

Development Team

  • PI
    Satish Sharma
  • Organization
    San Diego State University
  • Sponsor

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