NASA Space Communications and Navigation Testbed on the International Space Station uses Sierra Nevada antenna pointing technology

International Space Station

SPARKS, Nev., 22 Aug. 2012. The Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Testbed, a software-defined radio experiment on the International Space Station (ISS), employs an antenna pointing system developed by engineers at Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems in Sparks, Nev.

The SCaN Testbed, developed by the NASA Glenn Research Center personnel, will perform a variety of communications, networking, and navigation experiments in space to advance space communication technologies in support of future NASA missions and other U.S. space endeavors.

SNC supplied the integrated antenna pointing system, which features SNC open-loop, microstepping technology. This same system has flown on Deep Impact, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Suomi NPP, and several commercial remote-sensing platforms.

Japan’s HTV3 cargo carrier, launched on a Japanese H-II rocket, delivered the SCaN Testbed in July 2012. Initial reports indicate the system is operating as designed.

The NASA SCaN program is designed to provide communications and navigation services to space flight missions throughout the solar system via a new generation of software-defined radios.

 “This is another excellent example of a successful collaborative program between SNC and NASA,” says Matt Johnson, space technologies director of programs for SNC’s Space Systems.


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