15 votes
Accepted

What will become of the two cubesats deployed as part of the Insight mission?

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 ...
  • 3,227
12 votes

What will become of the two cubesats deployed as part of the Insight mission?

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 votes
Accepted

Why was MarCO-B CubeSats flying away after InSight landed?

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' ...
9 votes

X-Band range and data

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 ...
  • 47.8k
9 votes

What will become of the two cubesats deployed as part of the Insight mission?

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. ...
  • 46.7k
9 votes

Why did the MarCO space probes use fire extinguishant as their propellant?

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 ...
  • 3,372
9 votes
Accepted

How does the pattern on the MarCo cubesat's antenna boost data-transmission?

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 ...
  • 148k
6 votes

How does the pattern on the MarCo cubesat's antenna boost data-transmission?

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 ...
  • 148k
5 votes

How do I calculate what antenna I need for my cubesat?

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? ...
5 votes
Accepted

Is the prompt relay of landing telemetry by the MarCo cubesats to Earth really a "first"?

No. Odyssey provided bent-pipe relay data during the Curiosity landing.
  • 57.9k
5 votes

Why was MarCO-B CubeSats flying away after InSight landed?

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 ...
5 votes
Accepted

MarCo, Polo? Any further news, or images, or transmissions from the MarCo deep space cubesats?

Just released yesterday, an image of Mars from MarCO B.
  • 57.9k
5 votes
Accepted

How can the two MarCO cubesats remain reliably close to InSight during their six month trip to Mars?

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 ...
  • 148k
4 votes
Accepted

Where is the camera on the MarCo cubesat that took this "pale blue dot" type of photo of the Earth and the Moon?

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 ...
  • 361
4 votes

X-Band range and data

@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 ...
  • 423
3 votes
Accepted

What will (or did) end of mission look like for the MarCo cubesats?

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 ...
3 votes

Where is the camera on the MarCo cubesat that took this "pale blue dot" type of photo of the Earth and the Moon?

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, ...
  • 6,377
3 votes

If a MarCO-type CubeSat were in orbit around Bennu, what kind of power would it need to communicate with the Deep Space Network?

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-...
  • 148k
2 votes

Among Quantitative Feedback Theory and H infinity, which one is preferred for robust control of satellites esp. small satellites? And why?

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 "...
  • 1,879
2 votes

Where is the camera on the MarCo cubesat that took this "pale blue dot" type of photo of the Earth and the Moon?

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 ...
  • 148k
2 votes
Accepted

Did the MarCo cubesats photograph each other or the Centaur stage from which they were deployed?

Cool question! I did some research and came to the conclusion that the CubeSats only photographed two objects, Mars and Earth/Moon: Then I found this article by NASA: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/...
  • 1,026
2 votes
Accepted

IRIS Transceiver for LEO Missions?

I went ahead and emailed the responsible people at JPL. They confirmed that there is no planned mission for LEO with IRIS on board.
  • 83
2 votes

How do I calculate what antenna I need for my cubesat?

There is no such thing as a "perfect" antenna. Antennas are only better or worse than each other for a specific purpose. Choose a different purpose, and generally a different antenna will ...
  • 6,132
1 vote

IRIS Transceiver for LEO Missions?

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 ...
  • 321
1 vote

How can the two MarCO cubesats remain reliably close to InSight during their six month trip to Mars?

They have an onboard propulsion system. http://www.cubesat-propulsion.com/jpl-marco-micro-propulsion-system/
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Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible