2015.A.4.3. Creating Facilities, Tools, and Services for Scientific Collaboration


Brenda Dingwall (1)

  1. NASA, United States of America




Collaboration, NASA


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Wallops Flight Faciltiy (WFF) provides customers with the opportunity to collaborate with the largest collection of satellite scientists in the world who have state-of-the-art experience in creating miniaturized instruments for Heliophysics, Astrophysics, Planetary and Earth Science. NASA GSFC’s Engineers and Scientists are leveraging commercial off-the-shelf technology as well as developing new technologies to further increase the state of the art. Such advances include custom deployers such as the small satellite transporter and FemtoSatellite deployer, and small satellite subsystems (power, communication, attitude determination and control, propulsion, Command and Data Handling (C&DH)) with greater performance and reliability.

WFF can provide end-to-end Small Sat capability. At WFF, we have decades of experience managing Low Cost Access to Space programs. This has given us extensive experience applying Class D and less processes to low cost programs to achieve acceptable reliability without compromising safety. Our test systems and laboratories, can support Small Sat missions and integration, and our heritage bus systems (e.g Power, Attitude Control, Telemetry, C&DH) can reduce mission risk, and improve instrument TRL advancement.
The Wallops Mission Planning Lab (MPL) provides customers with a collaborative visualization and presentation and evaluation of platform selection, flight profiles, and range asset placement. The MPL can provide support for all mission stages:

  • Formulation
    • Integrate Mission Design Trades with existing/proposed capabilities.
    • Baseline assumptions and performance goals.
  • Testing
    • Assess and validate assumptions and goals.
  • Analysis
    • Compare and analyze performance with planned asset configuration.
  • Training
    • Scenarios generated can exercise Safety and Operations personnel.

WFF’s rich facilities and expertise related to the design, manufacture, integration and test of flight hardware, have been used extensively to support Small Sat missions. WFF’s continuous involvement in Small Sat programs, including our support to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) CubeSat Partnership (since 2008) and our internal IR&D program have allowed WFF to to remain cognizant of the state-of-the-art in Small Sat bus systems, and to engage in R&D to further the state-of-the art of Small Sats.

In addition to offering facilities, engineering services, and science collaboration for Small Sats, WFF can also provide opportunities for customers to increase the maturity level of their Small Sat components by providing opportunities for testing using piggyback balloon flights, sounding rocket rides, and aircraft for a fraction of the cost of a satellite mission.


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