Livermore Lab is looking for experts for the Pandora SmallSat mission


LIVERMORE, Calif., – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Energy/NNSA Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNS) are seeking industry and academic experts to help execute mission operations and a ground network for its Pandora SmallSat project.

The LLNS would focus on efficient, sparsely manned automated operations, to execute mission objectives and interface with GSFC and RCAF mission elements and a ground station network provider. LLNS is also looking for a ground system network capable of supporting 4000 seconds of X-band downlink per day and the required S-band uplink control and health status support.

The agencies note that respondents may meet one or both objectives. This survey is not limited to commercial entities and is open to academic institutions, UARCs and FFRDCs that have considerable expertise and experience in the following areas:

  • Capabilities to provide small satellite mission operations for command and control, automated operations, and spacecraft engineering support to include anomaly resolution if required.
  • Includes the ability to handle AES-256 software encryption/decryption
  • Approved by the U.S. Government for processing ITAR data for spacecraft design information items requiring these controls
  • Previous experience performing mission operations for NASA, CIVIL, or DoD NanoSat or SmallSat missions
  • Ability to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with Raytheon Blue Canyon Technologies to access information required to operate an ESPA-class SmallSat bus.
  • Capabilities to interface with other operational elements to include GSFC, ARC and NASA LLNS on terrestrial networks for transmission of data, files and coordination of operations.
  • Capabilities to provide antenna coverage with S-band uplink and downlink and X-band downlink for the contacts described above or existing capabilities to interface with an existing ground station network provider.

Companies that have not worked with the LLNS are encouraged to visit the potential LLNS supplier website and complete a supplier information form if they wish to do business with the lab.

Pandora is a SmallSat mission concept, selected as part of NASA’s Astrophysics Pioneers program and designed to study the atmospheres of exoplanets using transmission spectroscopy. The agencies say transmission spectroscopy of transiting exoplanets offers our best opportunity to identify the composition of planetary atmospheres over the next decade. Pandora is designed to disentangle star and planet signals in transmission spectra and reliably characterize planetary atmospheres. Pandora will collect long-term photometric observations with a visible light channel and simultaneous spectra with a near-IR channel, where water is a strong molecular absorber. Pandora will observe at least 20 exoplanets with sizes ranging from Earth-sized to Jupiter-sized and host stars spanning mid-K to late-M spectral types.

LLNL has set a response date for July 15, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Please contact Emily Edler at [email protected] for more information or to submit.


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