Nasa centennial Challenges in Collaboration with Ames Research Center



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National Aeronautics and

Space Administration EFFECTIVE DATE: December 18, 2014

NASA Centennial Challenges in Collaboration with Ames Research Center

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama 35812


Cube Quest Challenge

Ground Tournaments, Deep Space Derby Prizes, and Lunar Derby Prizes

Communications Procedure for Both In-Space Challenges (CommsProc)


Draft 2014-12-18

DOCUMENT HISTORY LOG


Status

(Baseline/

Revision/

Canceled)



Document

Revision



Effective

Date


Description

Baseline


1

December 18, 2014

Baseline





































Table of Contents
Page

Rule 1:Introduction 5

Rule 2:Applicable and Reference Documents 6

Rule 2.A:Government Publications 6

Rule 2.B:Non-Government Publications 7

Rule 3:Challenge Definitions 8

Rule 4:Rules Amplification 9

Rule 4.A:Mission Concept Registration Data Package 9

Rule 3 and subsequent Rules require that Teams submit and maintain a Mission Concept Registration Data Package that includes a Concept of Operations and a Preliminary Frequency Allocation Data Package. 9

The Concept of Operations is to be a graphic illustrating mission concepts including, but not limited to, deployment, transition to final orbit, final orbit, ground station(s), data flow including anticipated frequencies, and the Cubesat. The graphic is to be on a single page no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches and no larger than 11 x 17 inches with type face no smaller than 10 point. 9

The Preliminary Frequency Allocation Data Package shall, at a minimum, identify expected ground station(s) to be used, frequencies, and data rates. The Teams will update this data package at regular intervals within the ground development review cycle in a manner similar to that given in NPR 2570.1 even if they do not participate in all of the Ground Tournaments. 9

Rule 4.B:Radio Frequency Authorization Package 9

Rule 5 and subsequent Rules require development and submission of a Radio Frequency Authorization to assist with the licensing process. This Rule pertains to any Team planning to use RF for telecommand or telemetry services. To assist with the licensing, the Challenge requires the periodic submission of an authorization package. Note: NASA will not manage the submission of the package. The intent is to keep the team on-track with required submissions in the spirit of NPR 2570.1. 9

In order to minimize the variance between the teams, the Teams shall submit their Radio Frequency Authorization Package using the electronic files developed with the EL-CID database available from the NTIA (http://www.ntia.doc.gov/el-cid-support-center ). Judges will evaluate the degree of completeness of the package based upon the stage represented by the Ground Tournament or relevant design review level, as appropriate. 9

If Teams wish to use non-standard frequency allocations and/or apply for experimental licenses, documentation of FCC awareness and concurrence with the approach must be part of the package. 9

Teams must submit proof of authorization by the indicated date. This includes both the Cubesat authorization and any ground station authorization. 10

Rule 4.C:Link Budgets 10

Rule 4.D:Data Transmission Methodology 10

Rule 15.B specifies that each Team shall begin their competition day based on their separation time. To allow NASA to plan for understanding when the Team may be attempting transmissions to meet the Challenge, Rule 18.A requires that each team shall inform judges of the Contest operating periods the Team plans to utilize for the next 24 hours beginning at the start of the next competition day. This notification shall be at least 24 hours before the start of the competition day. Teams may operate more than once per competition day, depending upon the schedule the Team negotiates with the ground station owner. The notification shall contain 10

The Team identifier 10

The UTC date and time for each anticipated operating period. 10

If the team does not announce operating periods, then judges will not consider any operations that day for competition purposes. 10

Rule 18.B specifies that Teams shall generate their random data using the algorithms and protocols specified in this document. Judges will not accept data generated by any other methodology. The data generation methodology shall be 10

1.NASA assigns the Team with a unique competition key that is 256 bits in length. The Team will use this key in generating the random data and include the key in the header of the transmitted data packet containing Challenge random data. 10

2.Data blocks are defined as 1024-bit units (128 octets). Multiple data blocks can be generated consecutively and stored in the transmission packet. The maximum number of data blocks in a single transmission packet is left for the Team to determine based on data protocol constraints, coding efficiency, and operational constraints. Only complete blocks will be counted in Challenge scoring. 10

3.The spacecraft time for each data packet that is generated is to be used with the Team-unique key to generate the random block sequence. This time is to be included in the transmission packet header with the Challenge data. The time is to be encoded as an ASCII string in YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.S format. There is no requirement to slave this time to UTC but it should be approximately correct to within an offset of less than one hour. 11

4.The random data shall be generated from a linear congruent generator using the algorithm 11

11

where x0 is the seed value computed from the Team key and the generation time. 11



5.The values for a, b, and M shall be 11

a.1664525 = a 11

b.1013904223 = b 11

c.232 = M 11

6.The seed value shall be computed by 11

a.Concatenating the Team key with the spacecraft time to form a 384-bit string. 11

b.This 384-bit string is to be divided into 32-bit segments. 11

c.The 32-bit segments are bitwise XORed to form a 32-bit seed value. 11

Rules 18.C and 18.G specify that each team shall supply a CubeSat communications log to the judges to verify competition timing. This log shall contain this minimum set of data: 11

UTC time and date for the beginning of the operating period 11

UTC time and date for acquisition of signal 11

Total time of acquired signal (seconds) 11

UTC time and date for the loss of signal/end of operating period 11

Rest carrier frequency 11

Beginning and ending Doppler offsets at a minimum; intermediate values taken at least once per five minute period are preferred 11

Data Rate 11

Link Quality (BER, C/N, etc.) estimate 11

Total data received when in receiver lock 11

Azimuth and Elevation pointing data during the operational period 11

As specified in Rule 18.G, each Team shall document their procedure for complying with this requirement before GT 3 11

Rule 18.D specifies that Teams may choose to wrap data blocks in a convenient protocol for transmission to assist with block accounting and sequencing as long as the Judges can verified that the data were generated by the prescribed algorithm. NASA does not wish to specify the specific protocol that the Team chooses to use. However, the Team must document the protocol as part of the communications design so that NASA can have insight into the data transmission process being used. Note: any bits for FEC will not count towards the data total – only the uncoded bits. Additionally, packet headers, synchronization markers, or channel fill data do not count in the total. 12



List of Tables

Table Page



Rule 1:Introduction


The Centennial Challenges Program (CCP) is NASA’s flagship program for technology prize competitions (www.nasa.gov/Challenges). The program directly engages the public, academia, and industry in open prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies that have benefit to NASA and the nation. The CCP is an integral part of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), which is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. For more information about NASA's STMD, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech.

Beginning in 2015, NASA CCP plans to conduct the Cube Quest Challenge. After a series of Ground Tournaments (GTs), qualified competitor teams may be offered a secondary payload opportunity on NASA’s first Exploration Mission (EM-1), planned for 2018. Secondary payloads will be inserted into a trans-lunar trajectory for in-space Challenge purposes. Competitor teams may also select a third-party launch provider in order to participate in these Challenges. The Deep Space Derby Prizes will be conducted once Competitor Team CubeSats have achieved, and maintain, a range of at least 4 million kilometers from Earth. The Lunar Derby Prizes will be conducted once Competitor Team CubeSats are successfully achieved, and maintain, a verifiable lunar orbit as described in the Cube Quest Challenge Operations and Rules. Prizes will be awarded for various communications, navigation and longevity achievements that are performed under the conditions of the aforementioned Rules.

This document is a further explanation of the specific communications-related rules and issues found in Cube Quest Challenge Operations and Rules (OPSRUL). As such, all of the rules, constraints, and definitions found in the master document apply to this document.

Rule 2:Applicable and Reference Documents


The documents listed in this section are referenced in Section Rule 4: of this document or are explicitly referenced in the Cube Quest Challenge Operations and Rules. While every effort has been made to ensure the completeness of these lists, document users are cautioned that they must meet all specified requirements of documents cited in Section Rule 4: of this document, whether or not they are listed here.

Document revisions are current to the date of this publication. Unless specifically noted within the document, the most recent document revision shall be applicable. Document users are responsible to verify correct versions.

The NASA Centennial Challenges website will be the primary location for document(s) access and updates. Hardcopy versions will not be available, except for inhibiting circumstances.

Rule 2.A:Government Publications


Government specifications, standards, and handbooks in Table 2-1 form a part of this document to the extent specified herein. The government reference documents are listed in Table 2-2.

Table 2-1 – Government Applicable Documents



Document #

Document name

Date

Revision

CCP-CQC-OPSRUL-001

Cube Quest Challenge Operations and Rules

11/10/2014




453-NENUG

Near Earth Network (NEN) Users’ Guide

January 15, 2010

Revision 1




Required Navigation Artifacts for Authenticating Claimed Comm Distances and Verifying Achievement and Maintenance of Lunar Orbit







NPR 2570.1

NASA Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Manual

September 22, 2014

C




Rules and Regulations, Title 47, of the Code of Federal Regulations.







Table 2-2 – Government Reference Documents



Document #

Document Name

Date

Revision




Rules and Regulations, Title 47, of the Code of Federal Regulations.










Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management

May 2013

May 2014

FCC Public Notice DA: 13-445

FCC Public Notice DA: 13-445 (http://www.fcc.gov/document/guidance-obtaining-licenses-small-satellites)






Rule 2.B:Non-Government Publications


The non-government specifications, standards, and handbooks in Table 2-3 form a part of this document to the extent specified herein. The non-government reference documents are listed in

Table 2-3 – Non-Government Applicable Documents



Document #

Document Name

Date

Revision

DSN No. 810-005

DSN Telecommunications Link Design Handbook

September 18, 2013





Table 2-4 – Non-Government Reference Documents

Document #

Document Name

Date

Revision

Equipment Location – Certification Information Database (EL-CID)

Manual 6.0 User Training Manual

2013

Revision 1.4

CCSDS 131.0-B-2

Recommendation for Space Data System Standards: TM Synchronization and Channel Coding

2011

2

CCSDS 133.0-B-1

Recommendation for Space Data System Standards: Space Packet Protocol

2003 with correction through 2012

1

CCSDS 301.0-B-4

Recommendation for Space Data System Standards: Time Code Formats

2010

4

Rule 3:Challenge Definitions


The following definitions are related to the communications rules and are repeated from the Cube Quest Challenge Operations and Rules for reference in this document.

  • A “data block” is 1024 bits of random data generated by a NASA-provided algorithm as prescribed by NASA.

  • Error free data” and “volume of error free data” are determined by the number of unique (nonduplicative), whole data blocks delivered to the judges that are free of transmission errors. Competitors may employ any error correction protocols (FEC, ARQ, hybrids) of their choice to achieve error-free data delivery.

  • An “operating period” is a continuous 30-minute time segment during which the teams will officially attempt to receive data.

  • A “competition day” is defined as a 24 hour period that starts at the respective time the Competitor Teams receives confirmation from their launch service provider of deployment from their respective CubeSat dispenser (regardless of whether deployed from EM-1 SLS or from a Team-arranged launch vehicle). Each competitor will have their own start time at which their competition days begin counting.

As contained in Section 4.2.1 of OPSRUL, the “start of competition” notification will be provided by NASA for those satellites deployed via EM-1 (see Rule 15.B). For those satellites using a different launch vehicle, the Teams will need to notify the Cube Quest challenge management within 24 hours of their deployment event (see Rule 15.A).

Rule 4:Rules Amplification


The following subsections contain the amplification of specific communications rules found in the Cube Quest Challenge Operations and Rules. Teams are referred to the NASA NPR 2570.1 for how NASA approaches spectrum management and the governing documents for NASA projects from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and related standards. For those teams contemplating using a NASA Near Earth Network ground station, the Near Earth Network User’s Guide contains useful information. For Teams contemplating using the Deep Space Network, the DSN Telecommunications Link Design Handbook contains useful information.

Rule 4.A:Mission Concept Registration Data Package


Rule 3 and subsequent Rules require that Teams submit and maintain a Mission Concept Registration Data Package that includes a Concept of Operations and a Preliminary Frequency Allocation Data Package.

The Concept of Operations is to be a graphic illustrating mission concepts including, but not limited to, deployment, transition to final orbit, final orbit, ground station(s), data flow including anticipated frequencies, and the Cubesat. The graphic is to be on a single page no smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches and no larger than 11 x 17 inches with type face no smaller than 10 point.

The Preliminary Frequency Allocation Data Package shall, at a minimum, identify expected ground station(s) to be used, frequencies, and data rates. The Teams will update this data package at regular intervals within the ground development review cycle in a manner similar to that given in NPR 2570.1 even if they do not participate in all of the Ground Tournaments.

Rule 4.B:Radio Frequency Authorization Package


Rule 5 and subsequent Rules require development and submission of a Radio Frequency Authorization to assist with the licensing process. This Rule pertains to any Team planning to use RF for telecommand or telemetry services. To assist with the licensing, the Challenge requires the periodic submission of an authorization package. Note: NASA will not manage the submission of the package. The intent is to keep the team on-track with required submissions in the spirit of NPR 2570.1.

In order to minimize the variance between the teams, the Teams shall submit their Radio Frequency Authorization Package using the electronic files developed with the EL-CID database available from the NTIA (http://www.ntia.doc.gov/el-cid-support-center ). Judges will evaluate the degree of completeness of the package based upon the stage represented by the Ground Tournament or relevant design review level, as appropriate.

If Teams wish to use non-standard frequency allocations and/or apply for experimental licenses, documentation of FCC awareness and concurrence with the approach must be part of the package.

Teams must submit proof of authorization by the indicated date. This includes both the Cubesat authorization and any ground station authorization.


Rule 4.C:Link Budgets


To permit Judges and SMEs the ability to assess the viability of the communications system, Teams will provide the computation of link budgets and link margins as part of their documentation. RF Link Budgets must be shown in sufficient detail to estimate transmitter EIRP, Space Loss, atmospheric attenuation loss, transmitter and receiver pointing loss, ground station Tsys and G/T, implementation loss, received Es/No, demodulated Eb/No, required Eb/No for the desired bit error rate, and Eb/No link margin. Also include expected minimum and maximum carrier power at the receiver input and margin on those estimates. Teams are to describe any form of link coding used and make appropriate allowances in the link computations.

Optical communications systems will need similar link budgets but with the relevant optical equivalent data.


Rule 4.D:Data Transmission Methodology


Rule 15.B specifies that each Team shall begin their competition day based on their separation time. To allow NASA to plan for understanding when the Team may be attempting transmissions to meet the Challenge, Rule 18.A requires that each team shall inform judges of the Contest operating periods the Team plans to utilize for the next 24 hours beginning at the start of the next competition day. This notification shall be at least 24 hours before the start of the competition day. Teams may operate more than once per competition day, depending upon the schedule the Team negotiates with the ground station owner. The notification shall contain

  • The Team identifier

  • The UTC date and time for each anticipated operating period.

If the team does not announce operating periods, then judges will not consider any operations that day for competition purposes.

Rule 18.B specifies that Teams shall generate their random data using the algorithms and protocols specified in this document. Judges will not accept data generated by any other methodology. The data generation methodology shall be



  1. NASA assigns the Team with a unique competition key that is 256 bits in length. The Team will use this key in generating the random data and include the key in the header of the transmitted data packet containing Challenge random data.

  2. Data blocks are defined as 1024-bit units (128 octets). Multiple data blocks can be generated consecutively and stored in the transmission packet. The maximum number of data blocks in a single transmission packet is left for the Team to determine based on data protocol constraints, coding efficiency, and operational constraints. Only complete blocks will be counted in Challenge scoring.

  3. The spacecraft time for each data packet that is generated is to be used with the Team-unique key to generate the random block sequence. This time is to be included in the transmission packet header with the Challenge data. The time is to be encoded as an ASCII string in YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.S format. There is no requirement to slave this time to UTC but it should be approximately correct to within an offset of less than one hour.

  4. The random data shall be generated from a linear congruent generator using the algorithm

where x0 is the seed value computed from the Team key and the generation time.



  1. The values for a, b, and M shall be

    1. 1664525 = a

    2. 1013904223 = b

    3. 232 = M

  2. The seed value shall be computed by

    1. Concatenating the Team key with the spacecraft time to form a 384-bit string.

    2. This 384-bit string is to be divided into 32-bit segments.

    3. The 32-bit segments are bitwise XORed to form a 32-bit seed value.

Rules 18.C and 18.G specify that each team shall supply a CubeSat communications log to the judges to verify competition timing. This log shall contain this minimum set of data:

  • UTC time and date for the beginning of the operating period

  • UTC time and date for acquisition of signal

  • Total time of acquired signal (seconds)

  • UTC time and date for the loss of signal/end of operating period

  • Rest carrier frequency

  • Beginning and ending Doppler offsets at a minimum; intermediate values taken at least once per five minute period are preferred

  • Data Rate

  • Link Quality (BER, C/N, etc.) estimate

  • Total data received when in receiver lock

  • Azimuth and Elevation pointing data during the operational period

As specified in Rule 18.G, each Team shall document their procedure for complying with this requirement before GT 3

Rule 18.D specifies that Teams may choose to wrap data blocks in a convenient protocol for transmission to assist with block accounting and sequencing as long as the Judges can verified that the data were generated by the prescribed algorithm. NASA does not wish to specify the specific protocol that the Team chooses to use. However, the Team must document the protocol as part of the communications design so that NASA can have insight into the data transmission process being used. Note: any bits for FEC will not count towards the data total – only the uncoded bits. Additionally, packet headers, synchronization markers, or channel fill data do not count in the total.

Table illustrates the recommended packet data unit format based on the CCSDS 133-B-1 space packet protocol recommendation. Recommended Attached Synchronization Markers are supplied in CCSDS 131.0-B-2. The Time code format is an ASCII representation similar to that recommended in CCSDS 301.0-B-4 but without the delimiters.
Table -- Recommended CCSDS Packet Format Standard for CubeQuest Data Transmission.

Attached Synch Marker

Packet Primary Header

Packet Data Field

Version No.

Packet Identification

Packet Sequence Control

Packet Data Length

Packet Secondary Header

Competition Data Block

Type Indicator

Packet Secondary Header Flag

Application Process Identifier

Sequence Flags

Packet Sequence Count

Spacecraft Time Stamp UTC as

YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.S



Team-unique Competition Key




32 bits

3 bits

1 bit

1 bit

11 bits

2 bits

14 bits

16 bits

128 bits

256 bits

User Determined Length


Appendix A - Acronyms and Abbreviations

CY Calendar Year, January to December

DSN Deep Space Network

FCC Federal Communications Commission

FY Fiscal Year, October to September

GT Ground Tournament

GSE Ground Support Equipment

ICD Interface Control Document

IDD Interface Definition Document

IDRD Interface Definition and Requirements Document

NASA National Aeronautical and Space Administration

NEN Near Earth Network

NPR NASA Procedural Requirements

NTIA National Telecommunications and Information Administration

RF Radio Frequency



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