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CHIPSat Spacecraft Completes Final Environmental Test

Poway - Oct 22, 2002
CHIPSat has passed the final full system vibration and environmental testing conducted at the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Engineering Facility (AEF) at Kirtland Air Force base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and will soon begin launch integration for a scheduled mid-December launch.

"At AEF, CHIPSat was operated in a realistic test environment to perform a "dress rehearsal" for its orbital flight," said Jeff Janicik, director of flight systems of SpaceDev Inc. "The testing included vibration testing of all three axes, shock test, fit test, thermal vacuum, solar array, and magnetic calibration."

On October 14, CHIPSat arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California where it will be readied for a scheduled launch on December 19. CHIPSat will be the secondary payload on a Boeing Delta II; its primary payload will be NASA's ICESAT to be launched into a 94 inclination, 590 km circular orbit.

CHIPSat is a sophisticated, high-performance 45 kg microsatellite designed and built by SpaceDev for the University of California, Berkeley under a NASA-funded $6.8 million fixed-price contract.

SpaceDev has overall responsibility for the design of the mission, the design, assembly, integration and testing of the microsatellite, and mission control and operations from SpaceDev's Mission Control Center.

CHIPSat will be the first mission ever to use end-to-end satellite operations over the Internet with TCP/IP and FTP. This concept was analyzed and demonstrated by the NASA OMNI team via UoSat-12; however, SpaceDev will be the first to implement the concept as the only means of satellite communication.

One product SpaceDev hopes to spin out of CHIPsat is a Miniature Flight Computer (MFC) that offer a 300 MIPS rated general-purpose flight computer for a wide variety of space vehicles.

Described as cost-effective, SpaceDev's MFC has about 10x the performance-to-power ratio of current flight computers and only uses .5 to 6 watts of power, depending on its mode of operation.

The SpaceDev MFC produces an impressive 50 MIPS per watt and operates at speeds up to 300 MIPS. A variable power feature enables users to minimize system power consumption based on processing requirements.

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AeroAstro To Supply Star Tracker and Integrated Avionics For Test Sat
Ashburn - Oct 21, 2002
AeroAstro was recently awarded two Department of Defense Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contracts. Under contract through the Air Force Research Laboratory (Air Force Materiel Command), and in partnership with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), AeroAstro will develop an integrated avionics module for short-duration missions.

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