The Latest from STF-1

The Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1) CubeSat mission aims to demonstrate how legacy simulation technologies may be adapted for flexible and effective use on missions using the CubeSat platform. These technologies, named NASA Operational Simulator (NOS), have demonstrated significant value on several missions such as James Webb Space Telescope, Global Precipitation Measurement, Juno, and Deep Space Climate Observatory in the areas of software development, mission operations/training, verification and validation (V&V), test procedure development and software systems check-out. STF-1 will demonstrate a highly portable simulation and test platform that allows seamless transition of mission development artifacts to flight products. This environment will decrease development time of future CubeSat missions by lessening the dependency on hardware resources. In addition, through a partnership between NASA GSFC, the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and West Virginia University, the STF-1 CubeSat will host payloads for three secondary objectives that aim to advance engineering and physical-science research in the areas of navigation systems of small satellites, provide useful data for understanding magnetosphere ionosphere coupling and space weather, and verify the performance and durability of III-V Nitride-based materials.

The mission is progressing on schedule and targeting a late 2016 launch. Our initial launch opportunity in November 2016 was not acquired, so the team will continue to work while pursuing another launch opportunity with the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). The team still has plenty of work to do. Following a successful Table Top Review in April 2015 the team identified the major components for the spacecraft bus and began procurement. The GOMSpace Nanomind A3200 flight computer, and SolAero Tech solar cells have arrived. We are currently awaiting the delivery of the UHF radio and antenna, spacecraft chassis, and our electrical power systems. Not all of the components are COTS, so the team has carefully designed solar panels and interface cards by leveraging the lessons learned from other GSFC CubeSats. A clean room and lab space have also been secured to be used for the integration and testing of the spacecraft.

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The flight software (FSW) for STF-1 is currently in development. The team has branched from the default version of GSFC’s Core Flight Software (cFE/CFS), and has begun integrating applications used on the Dellingr CubeSat mission. CFS has been integrated with the ITC developed simulation software, NOS Engine, to allow for simulation of hardware components either not yet acquired, or still in development. An initial version of the STF-1 Advanced CubeSat Simulation Library (ACSL) was provided, along with a development environment, to the WVU science teams in July. The STF-1 team plans to continue maturing the ACSL as more fidelity is needed to support the FSW development.

Ground Systems support will be provided by NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility located on the coast of Virginia. The STF-1 team has chosen to use the same communications hardware as the other GSFC CubeSats so that ground station support is the same across missions. The 18M dish at Wallops will provide the team with up to 3.0Mbps downlink speed.