Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Andrew S. Keys, PhD


This thesis describes the assessment and analysis performed to characterize the communication subsystem used for command and telemetry transmission in support of the Grissom-1 Mission (GM1). The GM1 is unique in that it represents the pathfinder for a standardized 6U bus that serves as the basis for future CubeSat missions to host a variety of technical and scientific payloads, as prioritized by the Department of Defense, requiring flight demonstration or access to the orbital environment. Lab-based testing within an anechoic chamber provided link margin data required to characterize the command and telemetry links of the GM1. Experimental data describing the results of each test are also included. The research culminates in a full characterization of the software-defined radio, an analysis of the GM1 to MC3 communication interaction, and any limitations revealed as attributable to the 6U spacecraft. Collected data supports an analysis of the limitations inherent to the current GM1 communications subsystem configuration as operated at a variety of orbital distances plus recommended augmentations to the MC3 network to support those distances.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number