One Small Step for Wolf

May 26, 2009

The Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Avionics Experiment Module 
The Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Avionics Experiment Module

At 7:55PM EDT on May 19, 2009 the NCSU Strutting Wolf rode into space aboard the TacSat-3 satellite after a successful liftoff from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia.

The Wolf was pictured on a test module designed and built under the direction of Dr. Paul Franzon of the ECE department as part of the Air Force Research Labs Space Avionics Experiment.  The module implements a high speed communications channel and uses the Applique Sensor Interface Module (ASIM) to communicate test results to the satellite.  The module is essentially a test case for the ASIM's space plug-and-play avionics implementation which can potentially allow NASA to set up and launch space vehicles in a matter days instead of months.

Internals of the ASIM test module 
Internals of the ASIM test module

Adjunct Professor Dr. John Wilson, Ph.D. recipient Jian Xu, Post-Doctoral Research Associate Dr. Steve Lipa, and students Akalu Lentiro Lammade and Matthew Hamlett contributed to the project.

TacSat-3 features three revolutionary trials: the Raytheon Company-built Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer hyperspectral imager, the Office of Naval Research's Satellite Communications Package, and the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Avionics Experiment. This trio of payloads will offer real-time imagery (within 10 minutes of collection), sea-based information transmitted from ocean buoys and plug-and-play avionics to assist the warfighter in keeping one step ahead of the adversary.