NASA has combined its reconfigurable flight computing platform with a Navigator-built GPS flight receiver to develop new technology as part of efforts to address future deep space navigational challenges and demonstrate X-ray communications capacities in space.
The agency said Friday it will deploy two Navcube units to the International Space Station in 2018 as one of several experiments on an external pallet to demonstrate navigation and processing capacity as well as aim to provide timing data for an X-ray communications experiment.
“Because we added the ability to process modernized GPS signals, NavCube has the potential to significantly enhance performance at low, and especially, high altitudes, potentially even to the area of space near the moon and lunar orbits,” said Luke Winternitz, chief architect at Navigator.
“We knew that processing speed from SpaceCube and the tracking capability of Navigator could be a powerful combination… The next task was to figure out how to make it … more flexible mission applications,” said Barry Geldzahler, chief scientist for NASA’s Space Communication and Navigation program.
NavCube will also provide a Modulated X-ray Source that generates X-ray pulses to support the XCOM demonstration which covers one part of the Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer mission.