Title of Presentation: Space Technology 5—Technology Validation Results

Primary (Corresponding) Author: Candace C. Carlisle

Organization of Primary Author: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Co-Authors: Guan Le


Abstract:  The Space Technology 5 (ST5) Project is part of NASA’s New Millennium Program.  ST5 consists of a constellation of three micro-satellites, each  approximately 25 kg in mass, and was launched March 22, 2006 on a Pegasus XL rocket. All ST5 components are low mass, low power, and low volume.  During the three-month flight demonstration phase, we validated the key technologies that will make future low-cost micro-satellite constellations possible, demonstrated operability concepts for future micro-satellite science constellation missions, and demonstrated the research-quality science capabilities of the spacecraft.  The ST5 mission was successfully completed in June 2006.

ST5’s advanced technology components include:  single-card Command and Data Handling (C&DH) computer, low-voltage power subsystem featuring triple-junction solar cells and a lithium-ion battery, communications subsystem featuring a miniature X-band transponder, cold gas propulsion subsystem using a single micro-thruster for both delta-V and attitude control, miniature magnetometer, miniature spinning sun sensor, non-bellows nutation damper, 0.5 V CMOS Ultra Low Power Radiation Tolerant (CULPRiT) logic, Variable Emittance Coating thermal surfaces, and an evolved antenna developed using a genetic algorithm.  In addition, the three ST5 spacecraft were operated as a constellation, demonstrating “model-based operations” automation and ground communication strategies that will be useful for future missions that plan to deploy multiple spacecraft with minimal ground support personnel (i.e. “Lights-Out Operations”).

ST5 was built, integrated, tested, and operated in-house at Goddard Space Flight Center, with some components delivered from technology partners.  The results of the mission have been documented, and will be summarized in this presentation.