NASA Makes Contact With Firefly Cubesat

January 9, 2014
Image Caption: An artist's rendition of the football-sized Firefly satellite in low-Earth orbit. Firefly's mission is to study the relationship between lightning and huge bursts of gamma rays called terrestrial gamma ray flashes. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


A NASA team made first contact with the National Science Foundation-funded Firefly spacecraft at 7:33 p.m. EST on Jan. 6, 2014. On the first pass, the team – based out of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. – received enough data to show that the spacecraft was healthy and transmitting a strong signal.

The data volumes on the spacecraft had been filled, as expected, given that the spacecraft had been downloading data since launch on Nov 19, 2013. When the team downlinked the first installment of the data, they found that the spacecraft power system is healthy and the computer processing unit temperature is within a good range, at about 50 F.

The team will soon begin work to download the rest of the data, assess Firefly’s status, and then move the spacecraft into science mode. Firefly is led by a joint team of scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

Source: NASA

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