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Low-cost TDRSS communications for NASA's long duration balloon project

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A transponder and RF ground support equipment that are making tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRSS) communications available to lower budget NASA projects are discussed. The Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)/Wallops Flight Facility's long duration balloon project (LDBP) will be the first to take advantage of this TDRSS user hardware for communications through the TDRSS S-band multiple access system during their around-the-world scientific balloon flight campaigns. The transponder is one tenth the cost of the current generation space-qualified transponder, and the TDRSS user RF test set (TURFTS) is less than one half the cost of the currently available transponder test equipment.<>

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IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 2 )