15

MarCO's primary mission isn't actually to transmit data from InSight during its entry period. That's a non-essentially function that can be done by other spacecraft, if needed. Instead, the main part of the MarCO mission is determining the functionality of cubesats during deep space missions. We've never before sent such small spacecraft this far from Earth, ...


12

Not an answer, but comments can't have pictures. After the primary mission of supporting the InSight landing, one of the MarCO sats did snap a nice picture of Mars while departing:


10

Neither the MarCO satellites nor InSight itself had the ability to enter Martian orbit - the interplanetary approach to Mars is quite fast, and it takes a lot of fuel to slow down enough for Mars' gravity to capture a probe. InSight itself used Mars's atmosphere to slow itself down, but the MarCO satellites had neither heat shields nor significant ...


9

You want to use a X-band communication link from a cubesat in Earth orbit to another cubesat in orbit around Titan? I don't think it is possible, at least at an acceptable data rate. Lets compare this link to a deep space probe down to the DSN antennas in Goldstone, near Madrid and Canberra. Deep space probes use a transmitter with about 10 to 20 W power, ...


9

Both MarCO cubesats are flying by Mars -- not in orbit. Furthermore, during their radio coverage of InSight's entry/descent/landing, their solar arrays are pointed away from the sun, towards Mars. They are on battery power, and will eventually stop transmitting when the batteries die. Then they will continue passively around the sun.


8

Short explanation The company that built the drive seems to have settled on FE-36 as the default propellant for many of their propulsion systems, in part due to limitations of launching it from the ISS. Long explanation MarCO is using a propulsion system built by VACCO. Most of their public information about this specific block is here and here, but that ...


6

It's the electrical equivalent of a Fresnel mirror; the reflective cousin of a Fresnel lens. Each of the little square patterns is actually a little passive circuit that reflects the incident microwaves with a different phase shift. It is called a Reflectarray antenna. You can read more about it in this Researchgate paper A Deployable High-Gain Antenna ...


5

Just released yesterday, an image of Mars from MarCO B.


5

No. Odyssey provided bent-pipe relay data during the Curiosity landing.


5

As Russell Borogove has already noted, neither the MarCO cubesats nor InSight itself had the ability to enter into an orbit around Mars. Their only options were either to hit the planet or to fly past it. And, unlike InSight, the MarCOs were not equipped to survive entry into the Martian atmosphere, either. From the way you phrased your question, I ...


4

Here's how to calculate the path lengths and the required phase shift to make it work. I've added a cartoon representation of squares that vary with required phase shift just to show how a real scenario might be calculated in Python. I used the dimensions in this image in this answer and a round figure of 8.4 GHz but the sizes of the zones don't match ...


4

After InSight is deployed from the Centaur upper stage in the forward direction. the two MarCO 6U cubesats will be deployed sideways, with a 180 degree rotation between the first and second, as shown in the video MarCO: First Interplanetary CubeSat Mission linked in the question. About 6.5 months later the plan for the original 2016 mission was for both ...


4

MarCO features two cameras, both with 752 x 480 pixel resolution. They are located on opposite sides of the CubeSat. One camera, a "color wide-field engineering camera" is mounted with the primary purpose of confirming deployment of the high-gain antenna. In order to do this it is mounted on the large side of the cube looking "up and out" at the antenna....


3

There are too many general questions here that require book-chapter-length-like answers. I would like to specify first: Do you want to calculate antenna performance, antenna pattern, or what exactly? Additionally, which antenna do you have in mind: ground station antenna for an uplink scenario, antenna on-board of the CubeSat for a downlink? In terms of ...


3

The mission for MarCO A and B was to perform a relay of communications for the Insight lander, which lowered the latency of data during landing, and that mission was a success. The mission ended on November 26, 2018 and JPL lost contact with them on January 4, 2019. Source MarCO A and B successfully completed their missions on Nov. 26, 2018. WALL-E was ...


3

@Uwe made a clear case why this may not be feasible using the DSN as an example. I'd like to add that some of the assumptions you list in the comments are not correct. I'm not sure how you come up with 470W generation from the solar panels you linked (cubesatshop.com/product/solar-panels), but the numbers listed on their site are most certainly rated for LEO ...


3

Each MarCO is equipped with two cameras. Both are 752x480 resolution, and connected to independent capture and processing computers. The narrow field-of-view camera is aligned with the UHF antenna, so it will face Mars during EDL (Entry, Descent, Landing). The wide field-of-view camera is aligned with the high gain antenna, allowing it to verify deployment ...


3

note: based on discussion in comments the question has been revised and more details added, so I will be updating this answer with the day. I'll address the current title: What power and signal-to-noise-ratio is required to send a signal from an asteroid to the DSN? The short answer is that it depends on the required data rate. A 12 bit 1024 x 1024 ...


2

Among Quantitative Feedback Theory and H infinity, which one is preferred for robust control of satellites esp. small satellites? And why? AFAIK Neither. First, you should define what you mean by "small satellite", the definition can vary between 30kg to 300kg. Second, in a small satellite, panels are generally mounted over faces rather than on deployable ...


2

One of the primary purposes of the camera is to confirm that the high gain antenna has been deployed properly. This requires that both the flat reflector (electrically "parabolic") and the antenna feed at the parabola's focus have both been deployed from the cubesat correctly. The black item protruding is near the surface of the reflector and is tilted "...


2

I went ahead and emailed the responsible people at JPL. They confirmed that there is no planned mission for LEO with IRIS on board.


1

Iris is sort of overkill (and expensive) for most LEO missions. If you're doing radio science or precision radiometric measurements, then yes, an Iris would do quite nicely. Iris has the somewhat unique capability of doing coherent turnaround (the transmit signal is phase/frequency locked to the receive signal) which enables accurate ranging measurements, ...


1

They have an onboard propulsion system. http://www.cubesat-propulsion.com/jpl-marco-micro-propulsion-system/


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