Delivery of GPS payload for CUAVA-2

ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs & Their Applications

CUAVA has reached a major milestone in our mission to launch CUAVA-2 in early 2024. We are excited to announce the delivery of the GPS Reflectometry Payload, Harry3 

The CUAVA-2 GPS reflectometry payload is developed by a team from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) at the University of NSW. Key researchers on this team are Aldi Rivaldi, Joon Wayn Cheong, Eamonn Glennon, Phu Le, Ben Southwell and Andrew Dempster. The CUAVA-2 GPS payload will be used to measure GPS signals scattered off the sea to determine the sea state remotely, as well as direct signals from GPS satellites for position, navigation, and timing. 

The payload comprises two Kea GPS receivers with flight heritage from UNSW-EC0, INSPIRE-2, CUAVA-1 and other satellite missions. One Kea is connected to an RHCP GPS patch antenna that is body mounted on the bottom side of the spacecraft, which provides positioning, navigation, and time synchronisation to the payload. The other Kea is connected to a deployable LHCP antenna made by Helical Communications Technology (HCT), mounted on the top side of the satellite as the reflectometry antenna.  

Image: GPS reflectometry payload with deployable LHCP antenna.

The two Keas are attached to an interface board controlled by a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. This interface board controls both receivers and provides temporary data storage before transfer to the bus and power to the receivers.  

During operation the RHCP antenna will be zenith-facing for optimal reception of four or more GPS L1 satellite signals, and the deployable reflectometry antenna will measure the reflected signal from the ocean. The reflected signals are then correlated with a replica of the navigation signals, generating delay-Doppler maps (DDMs) at a rate of 1 DDM/sec for each of its 4 correlator channels. These will be downlinked to the ground to determine the sea states.  

We now commence integration into the CUAVA-2 CubeSat, in preparation for launch in early 2024. Congratulations to the ASCER team!   

Keep up to date with our news and events blog as we spotlight CUAVA-2 payload deliveries.