NSS has teamed with Xtraordinary Innovative Space Partnerships, Inc. (XISP-Inc.) on the Alpha CubeSat (ACS) Team, to compete in the NASA CubeQuest Challenge. The CubeQuest Challenge is an effort to stimulate the development of innovative propulsion, navigation, and communication solutions that will enable the use of cubesats for lunar and deep space exploration and development. The Challenge moving forward is composed of a Deep Space Derby, and a Lunar Derby. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners of these activities.
ACS is manifested as part of the Geometric Space Corporation Geometric-1 Ride-share flight scheduled for launch in June of 2022.
The ACS mission will demonstrate both trajectories and technologies that will be useful in the development of space. The ACS mission brochure can be found here: https://www.xisp-inc.com/ACS_brochure.pdf.
The promotional video for ACS can be found here:
As part of the XISP-Inc mission development effort ACS will have a role in supporting multiple technology development, demonstration, and deployment (TD3) missions including:
- ACS – Alpha CubeSat
- SSPB – Space-to-Space Power Beaming including power and ancillary services beaming
- MOCA Management Operations Control Applications
- INCA – Interoperable Network Communication Architecture
- HTA – Halfway To Anywhere missions
After launch the ACS spacecraft will follow progressive, low-energy trajectories to reach a deep space distance of at least four million km (about ten times the distance from the Earth to the Moon) before returning to the Moon and establishing itself in a lunar resonance orbit.
While accomplishing this, the spacecraft will demonstrate a hybrid propulsion system consisting of some combination of ion, electric, chemical, and thermal thrusters. This will allow for maneuvers that require both high and low thrust capabilities, as well as providing a long duration, low thrust capability.
The spacecraft will also demonstrate the use of a new hybrid Cognitive Software Defined Radio nanosatellite transceiver and an optical terminal for laser communications.
See the Team Alpha CubeSat website at http://www.alphacubesat.com for more detailed information about the project.