Livermore Lab seeks experts for Pandora SmallSat mission

LIVERMORE, California, – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Energy/NNSA Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNS) are seeking industrial and academic experts to help conduct missions and a ground network for its Pandora. SmallSat project.

The focus of LLNS would be on efficient, minimally manned automated operations, to carry out the mission objectives and communicate with mission elements of GSFC & ARC and a ground station network provider. LLNS is also looking for a ground system network that can support 4,000 seconds of downlink on X-band per day and requires S-band uplink commander and health condition support.

The bureaus note that respondents can answer to one or both objectives. This research is not limited to commercial entities and is open to academic institutions, UARC and FFRDCs that have significant expertise and experience in the following:

  • Capabilities to provide small satellite missions for command and control, automated operations and spacecraft technical support to include anomaly resolution as needed.
  • Includes the ability to handle AES-256 software encryption/decryption
  • U.S. Government approved to process ITAR data for elements of spacecraft design information requiring these controls
  • Previous experience conducting mission operations for NASA, CIVIL or DoD NanoSat or SmallSat missions
  • Ability to enter into a nondisclosure agreement with Raytheon Blue Canyon Technologies to access the information required to operate an ESPA-class SmallSat bus.
  • Ability to communicate with other operational elements including NASA GSFC, ARC and LLNS via terrestrial networks for data transfer, files and operational coordination.
  • Ability to provide antenna coverage with: S band Uplink & Downlink and X-Band Downlink for the contacts described above or existing capabilities to communicate with an existing ground station network provider.

Companies that have not worked with LLNS are encouraged to visit the LLNS prospective supplier’s website and complete a supplier information form if they wish to do business with the laboratory

Pandora is a SmallSat mission concept selected as part of NASA’s Astrophysics Pioneers Program and designed to study the atmospheres of exoplanets using transmission spectroscopy. The agencies say transmission spectroscopy of transiting exoplanets offers our best chance of identifying the composition of planetary atmospheres over the next decade. Pandora is designed to disentangle star and planet signals in transmission spectra and reliably characterize the planetary atmospheres. Pandora will collect long-term photometric observations with a visible light channel and simultaneous spectra with a near-IR channel, where water is a strong molecular absorber. Pandora will observe at least 20 exoplanets with sizes ranging from the size of Earth to the size of Jupiter and host stars spanning spectral types from mid-K to late-M.

LLNL has set the response date July 15, 2022 at 5:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Contact Emily Edler at [email protected] for more information or to submit.

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