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Northrop’s Cygnus to Kick Off ‘SharkSat’ Tech Demo Upon Departure From ISS

Northrop Grumman Cygnus
Northrop Grumman Cygnus

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to depart the International Space Station and host a two-week demonstration of the SharkSat payload once it leaves the ISS.

NASA said Wednesday Northrop-built SharkSat is intended to test and demonstrate multiprocessor systems, digital receivers, integrated circuits and other electronic components to facilitate the development of a Ka-band software defined radio that could have potential applications in 5G, space-to-ground and space-to-space communications.

David Schiller, who served as a principal investigator for SharkSat, said the payload will gather and transmit telemetry data back to Earth for analysis.

“In this case, the telemetry data will provide insight into the health and functioning of the electronic components of SharkSat,“ Schiller added.

Cygnus took off in October as part of the 14th ISS resupply mission. The spacecraft will deorbit once it completes the SharkSat demonstration and dispose of cargo from the space station prior to making its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

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Written by Jane Edwards

is a staff writer at Executive Mosaic, where she writes for ExecutiveBiz about IT modernization, cybersecurity, space procurement and industry leaders’ perspectives on government technology trends.

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