NanoAvionics Awarded Contract by Los Alamos National Laboratory for GTO Mission

NanoAvionics Awarded Contract by Los Alamos National Laboratory for GTO Mission

The 12U (1U equals 10×10×10 cm3) spacecraft, about the size of a microwave oven, will host the Experiment for Space Radiation Analysis (ESRA) mission. ESRA is the latest of a series of Demonstration and Validation missions built by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, with the focus of this mission on testing next-generation charged particle sensors and critical flight subsystems. 

ESRA will be inserted in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and make observations of the Earth’s dynamic radiation belts during the solar maximum. To date, no CubeSat has ever provided observations of the energetic charged particles that populate the radiation belts.

The ESRA mission will provide measurements of the charged particle populations using two science payloads and several subsystems: These are the Wide-field-of-view Plasma Spectrometer (WPS) to measure ~100 eV to 35 keV ions, the Energetic Charged Particle (ECP) telescope to measure 100 keV to 200 MeV ions along with 100 keV to 1 GeV electrons, a compact modular high voltage power supply (HVPS), payload flight processor (PFP), flight software architecture, and distributed processor module (DPM). The LANL-designed payload processor will control the experiment, record the data, and communicate with the CubeSat avionics while the DPM will provide limited processing at the sensor head locations and packetize data thus enabling “smart sensors.”

12U ESRA CubeSat

Carlos Maldonado, ESRA Principal Investigator, said: “Partnering with the commercial sector, specifically NanoAvionics and KSAT, allows LANL technical staff to focus solely on the development of next-generation technology and science payloads, while allowing industry partners to do what they do best. Leveraging commercial satellites and ground stations will allow LANL to rapidly mature technologies with reduced schedule, risk, and cost. The ESRA mission will demonstrate the capability of CubeSats for both science and space weather monitoring beyond low-Earth orbit and serve as a pathfinder for small satellites doing big science.”

To fit the ESRA payloads into the host spacecraft, NanoAvionics will configure one of its 12U modular buses by making some mechanical and component arrangements before assembling the nanosatellite. To operate the satellite while in orbit, ESRA will use NanoAvionics’ mission control software, capable of handling multiple satellite missions, and is compatible with all major commercial ground station providers with antennas in over 200 locations around the globe. For all other mission-related aspects, NanoAvionics will take an advisory role supporting the team at Los Alamos with launch vehicle integration and on-orbit operations.

Žilvinas Kvedaravicius, CEO of Kongsberg NanoAvionics, stated, “We are thrilled to be working on our second mission with LANL following the 12U MAMBO satellite. This collaboration underscores the strength of our partnership and NanoAvionics’ commitment to advancing space exploration through its smallsat technology. The ESRA mission represents a pioneering venture into uncharted territory, and it marks the maiden flight of our built satellite in GTO, which fills the entire team with pride for their contribution to this project.”

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service-oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

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GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013