Space Technology 5


Space Technology 5 (ST5) of the NASA New Millennium program was a test of ten new technologies aboard a group of microsatellites. Developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the three individual small spacecraft were launched together from the belly of a Lockheed L-1011 aboard the Pegasus XL rocket, on 22 March 2006. One technology involved antennas that were designed by computers using an evolutionary AI system developed at NASA Ames Research Center.[2] The ST5 on-board flight computer, the C&DH (Command & Data Handling) system, was based on a Mongoose-V radiation-hardened microprocessor.

Space Technology 5
Space Technology 5.jpg
Artist's rendering of the "string of pearls" satellite constellation
OperatorNASA / GSFC
COSPAR ID2006-008A through 2006-008C
SATCAT no.28980 through 28982
Mission duration100 days
Spacecraft properties
Kennedy Space Center
New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory
Launch mass25 kilograms (55 lb)
Power≈20–25 W @ 9–10 V
End of mission
DeactivatedJune 30, 2006 (2006-06-30)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Regimesun synchronous
Perigee altitude300 km (190 mi)
Apogee altitude4,500 km (2,800 mi)[1]
Bandwidth1 Kbps / 1 or 100 Kbps

On 30 June 2006 the satellites making up ST5 were shut down after successfully completing their technology validation mission.[3]

Mission objectivesEdit

ST5's objective was to demonstrate and flight qualify several innovative technologies and concepts for application to future space missions.

Communications Components for Small Spacecraft
The X-Band Transponder Communications System was provided by AeroAstro. The transponder system is a miniaturized digital communications transponder. It provides coherent uplink-to-downlink operation that provides a ground-to-space command capability, space-to-ground telemetry capability, and a radio frequency tracking capability. The X-Band weighs approximately 1/12 as much and is 1/9 the volume of communications systems now used in other missions.
Evolved antenna
A supercomputer using an artificial evolution algorithm designed a very tiny, highly unlikely looking, but highly promising communication antenna for the ST5 spacecraft. The radiator was designed by NASA Ames and the antenna itself was implemented by the Physical Science Laboratory at New Mexico State University. (As a note, each spacecraft has two X-band antennas: an evolved (the solid black painted unit) and a quadrifilar helix antenna (the two-toned, black and white unit). The quadrifilar helix antennas were also developed at the NMSU Physical Science Laboratory.)
Lithium-Ion Power System for Small Satellites
The Low-Voltage Power System uses a low-weight Li-Ion battery that can store up to four times as much energy as a Ni-Cad battery, charged by triple junction solar cells. The Li-Ion rechargeable battery has a longer life and exhibits no memory effect.
Ultra Low-Power Demonstration
The CULPRiT is a new type of microelectronic device that allows circuits to operate at 0.5 Volts. The technology will greatly reduce power consumption while achieving a radiation tolerance of ~100 kRad total dose and latch-up immunity.
Variable Emittance Coatings for Thermal Control
The Variable Emittance Coatings, provided by Sensortex, Inc. and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), are used for thermal control and consist of an electrically tunable coating that can change properties, from absorbing heat when cool to reflecting or emitting heat when in the Sun. The Microelectromechanical System (MEMS) chip is part of this technology.
Propulsion Systems Components
A miniature microthruster that provides fine attitude adjustments on the spacecraft. The Cold Gas Microthruster (CGMT) is a tiny electromechanical system designed by Marotta Scientific Controls, Inc. to provide fine attitude adjustments on each of the micro-sats. It uses 1/8 the power and weighs only half as much as attitude control systems being used in other missions.
Miniature magnetometer
Miniature spinning sun sensor
Spacecraft deployment mechanism
Magnetometer deployment boom
Nutation dampe

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "ST5 Quick Facts". Archived from the original on 2006-01-18.
  2. ^ "Evolutionary Design of an X-Band Antenna for NASA's Space Technology 5 Mission" (PDF). NASA. 2004.
  3. ^ "ST5 Mission". NASA. December 20, 2007.
  • Speer, D.; Jackson, G.; Raphael, D. (March 2002). Flight Computer Design for the Space Technology 5 (ST-5) Mission. Vol. 1. Big Sky, MT: Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE Aerospace Conference. pp. 255–269. doi:10.1109/AERO.2002.1036846. hdl:2060/20020039332. ISBN 0-7803-7231-X. S2CID 109051232.
  • Justin Ray (2006). "Mission Status Center Pegasus Launch Report: Space Technology 5". Space Flight Now. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  • Hupp, Erica; Chandler, Lynn (22 February 2006). "Space Technology 5 News Media Kit" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 April 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  • Phil Davis; Kirk Munsell (23 January 2009). "Space Technology 5". Solar System Exploration. NASA. Archived from the original on 12 December 2012. Retrieved 2009-04-22.

External linksEdit

  • Space Technology 5 JPL NMP page
  • Space Technology 5 NASA page