Space Micro Inc., powered by Voyager Space, announced the successful performance of its Software Defined Radios (SDRs) on the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) CubeSat Networked Communications Experiment (CNCE) Block 1. Initially launched in June 2021 and completed in March 2022, CNCE Block 1, part of MDA’s Nanosat Testbed Initiative (NTI), used small, low-cost satellites to demonstrate networked radio communications between nanosatellites while in orbit.
MDA deployed two CubeSats developed by Space Micro with integrated radio frequency (R.F.) payloads based on its μSDR-C™ family of small form factor software-defined radios. MDA tested Space Micro’s SDRs at various distances, formations, and orientations, all of which successfully communicated with each other and ground nodes. This demonstration helps support the development of U.S. missile defense technology and architecture.
SDRs can be re-programmed on orbit, making them desirable in today’s rapidly changing world. Space Micro designed these particular radios, a precursor to the Company’s successful Nanocom family of SDRs, with the ability to create and operate within an ad-hoc communication network similar to a terrestrial Wi-Fi network.
“We are proud to support MDA as they bolster our national defense and to demonstrate further the capabilities and reliability of our R.F. radio frequency payloads for inter-satellite communications,” said David R. Czajkowski, Space Micro CEO.
“The Space Micro team continues to demonstrate flight-proven solutions that provide tremendous value to our national defense capabilities,” said Matt Kuta, President, and COO of Voyager Space. “This successful demonstration of SDR technology is a critical step forward for the future of space communications.”
MDA retired the Block 1 satellites in March 2022, and they will de-orbit and burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere.
Space Micro’s SDR product line comprises several models: The µSDR-C™ targets UHF, S-Band, L-Band, and low C-Band applications; the more powerful Nanocom™ targets higher frequency, higher data rate, and more processor-intensive R.F. applications; and the µXBT™ X-Band Transponder is slated for several Artemis programs. Space Micro legacy S-, X- and Ka-Band radios are in orbit today on NASA IRIS, an observation mission of the solar atmosphere, and NASA TESS, an exo-planet survey mission to provide prime targets for the James Webb Space Telescope.