Space radios

Space Dynamics Laboratory electrical engineer Craig Thompson is shown performing acceptance testing on one of the Iris radios at SDL in North Logan. The SDL-built Iris radios will provide communications for dual Lockheed Martin small spacecraft being built for NASA’s deep-space mission called Janus, to visit near-Earth asteroids.

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Making phone calls from deep space is a challenge even from large spacecraft, but from small satellites it is exceptionally hard. The communications devices for small spacecraft that will be used in an upcoming NASA mission will be provided by the Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State University.

The Janus mission is targeted to launch in two years with plans for dual small spacecraft to travel over 10 million kilometers to meet up with a pair of asteroids. Because the satellites are small, communication between the craft and earth will be especially difficult.

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