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High rate communications systems for CubeSats

Small Satellites and especially CubeSat have received significant attention recently. The development of secondary launch systems to provide a reasonably priced ride to space has increased the number of small satellites in orbit. Recent subsystem developments have also supported this revolution. One area that has been slow to develop is high rate communications. Early CubeSat systems were built on the amateur satellite service, but the available data rates are low.

Efforts are evolving to develop high rate CubeSat transceivers. This paper will provide an overview of current CubeSat communication systemscapabilities in addition to details about an effort to develop a high rate CubeSat communication system that is compatible with the NASA Near Earth Network. The system includes a 200kbps S-Band receiver and a 12.5Mbps X-Band transmitter.