Dr. Brian Gunter receives JPL Summer Fellowship

Dr. Brian Gunter receives JPL Summer Fellowship
Atlanta, GA

Aerospace engineering professor Brian Gunter is one of five Georgia Tech faculty chosen to do targeted research this summer through Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Fellowships program.

Dr. Brian Gunter will return to the JPL this summer to do research on spacecraft payload requirements and standards.

Aerospace engineering professor Brian Gunter is one of five Georgia Tech faculty chosen to do targeted research this summer through Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Fellowships program.

Gunter's research proposal, "Requirements and Standards Development for a Future Interplanetary Hosted Payload System" outlines his plans to investigate existing hosted payload systems, identify common elements, and adapt them to a set of requirements and standards that would be applicable for interplanetary missions.

The JPL Fellowship is a joint project between the Georgia Tech Center for Space Technology and Research (CSTAR) and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

"The long-term goal of the project is to develop a plug-and-play style hosted payload system with deployer capability, that can be easily accommodated on any future NASA mission," he said.

"This would greatly improve the ability for small hosted payloads and/or cubesat missions to complement NASA’s flagship planetary missions, and hopefully kickstart a new era in planetary cubesat exploration."

This is the second JPL Summer Fellowship for Gunter. Last summer his proposal, "Utilizing Nano-satellite Technology for Improved Monitoring of Earth’s Time-variable Gravity" gave Gunter a  valuable opportunity to dive into a mission concept involving a constellation of nano-satellites to measure the Earth's time-variable gravity. He worked alongside JPL's Dr. Mike Watkins and Dr. David Wiese, both of whom are heavily involved with the current GRACE and upcoming GRACE Follow-On missions.

This year, Gunter will shift his focus to an investigation of the way in which  small and nanosat systems are used on space missions and focus on the manner in which they interface with the primary missions’ subsystems.

Dr. Gunter is seen here during his 2014 JPL Fellowship, when he researched the use of nano-satellites to improve the monitoring of time-sensitive gravity.

"Examples of such interaction include the use of the primary satellites’ power and communications  systems to maintain stable thermal conditions and forward housekeeping data of the hosted payload or  rideshare," he said.

This process could be greatly simplified by employing a standardized set of software and hardware connections, he added.

"This would allow the selection and integration of the hosted payload to be decoupled from the primary mission."
 

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