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John Hansen designed communication system for satellite launched into orbit
Monday, December 02, 2013

John Hansen designed communication system for satellite launched into orbit

Professor John Hansen

The Minotaur I rocket launched by NASA from its Virginia facility in November is carrying a unique satellite that will communicate using a digital interface system designed by Professor John Hansen of the Computer and Information Sciences Department at SUNY Fredonia.

The rocket was carrying its main payload and 29 miniature satellites ("picosats") including the CAPE-2 satellite, which was constructed by students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In order to provide digital data communications, CAPE-2 contained an onboard system designed by Hansen. The satellite measures just 10 cm (4 inches) on each side and weighs just over two pounds. It is capable of converting text to speech, tweeting, sending email, repeating voice messages, transferring files and collecting data from buoys in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. Hansen's digital data interface system, called "TNC-X" has been used in digital communications systems in over 40 countries, often to support first responder teams preparing for disaster situations. For the Cape-2 project, Dr. Hansen modified the design so it would be appropriate for use in orbit. TNC-X interfaces with the on-board computer and the satellite's radio to provide a command and control interface to the ground command station as well as transmit telemetry, and digital communications such as email and tweets.

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