|Units or mass||1U|
|Organisation||Carnegie Mellon University|
|Entity||Academic / Education|
Demonstrate new technologies for networked communication, relative navigation, formation flying, and swarming.
Swarm of three small satellites to demonstrate new technologies and techniques for radio networking and navigation. The three satellites will perform a series of mesh networking and navigation experiments using their UHF and S-band radios as well as GPS. By developing and demonstrating these technologies on a small scale, they can be implemented for future multi-spacecraft missions, enabling NASA to pursue its future science, technology, and exploration goals.
Using three satellites known as CubeSats, each about the size of a coffee mug, the mission will conduct a series of such demonstrations. They will prove the ability to take high-precision data on spacecraft distance, send data from one spacecraft to the other at a high data rate, coordinate radiation measurements using onboard sensors, and keep track of the orientation and formation of all three spacecraft.
The first stage of the mission will begin with an orbital mission launching aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as a part of the Transporter-1 mission. If all goes according to plan, the mission anticipates completing its primary objectives within two weeks of launch, with a full mission duration of three months to gather additional data.
To complement this launch, the V-R3x team will also launch a CubeSat on a high-altitude balloon in the future. The balloon test is facilitated via NASA's Flight Opportunities program. Four units will be deployed on the ground, each driven to separate locations. Once turned on, each unit will communicate with the satellite at the upper edges of the atmosphere – over 100,000 feet away.
Both experiments will show the ability for small satellites to be in communication with each other across vast distances, maintain spatial awareness relative to each other, coordinate to collect data, and speedily share that data with each other.
V-R3x is based on an open-source CubeSat framework that integrates hardware and software, known as PyCubed. It will also be making use of the Amazon Web Service's ground station, the first operational use case for a NASA mission. Going forward, V-R3x provides NASA a simple, low-cost platform for future technology demonstration needs.
The V-R3x project is a collaboration between the Payload Accelerator for CubeSat Endeavors initiative, or PACE, at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and the Robotic Exploration Lab, or REx. PACE is a part of the Small Spacecraft Technology program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. REx was previously at Stanford University in California and is now based at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, led by Zac Manchester. The Flight Opportunities program, based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, facilitates rapid demonstration of space technologies through suborbital testing with industry flight providers. V-R3x is based on PyCubed, an open-source small-satellite framework that integrates hardware and software solutions for CubeSat and PocketQube applications, and is developed by Max Holliday at Stanford University.
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|V-R3x 1 (Littlefoot)||Was operational until 2021-01-31, 7 days? (Official social media on 20121-01-28 last checked on 2021-03-27, but not in Space-Track yet)||2021-01-24||525 km, 97.5 deg|
|V-R3x 2 (Petrie)||Was operational until 2021-01-31, 7 days? (Official social media on 20121-01-28 last checked on 2021-03-27, but not in Space-Track yet)||2021-01-24||525 km, 97.5 deg|
|V-R3x 3 (Cora)||Was operational until 2021-01-31, 7 days? (Official social media on 20121-01-28 last checked on 2021-03-27, but not in Space-Track yet)||2021-01-24||525 km, 97.5 deg|