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X-Band electronics for the INSPIRE Cubesat deep space radio

X-Band electronics for the INSPIRE Cubesat deep space radio This paper describes the design, fabrication and test results of the X-Band hardware for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) INSPIRE Cubesat deep space radio also known as Iris. The radio communicates with NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) and is the first known deep space Cubesat radio to take part in the DSN communication link. The complete RF electronics stack weighs less than 300 grams, has a modulation bandwidth of greater than 100MHz, puts out greater than 24dBm of RFpower and has greater than 50dB of receiver adjustable gain control (AGC) range. The antennas are Right-Hand Circular Polarized (RHCP) patches and are designed to attach to the top and bottom of the Cubesat structure to allow for broad coverage in the case of tumbling. The electronics is composed of Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) parts selected in order to meet the typical Cubesat budget constraints and avoid long lead times. The RF electronics is designed to accommodate the use of custom aluminum covers and commercially available gasket shielding. These cover assemblies were designed and put in place in order to reduce Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), crosstalk and also provide a relatively large thermal mass to help stabilize and spread the heat resulting from dissipated power in theelectronics.

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