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RadFxSat - A University Based Satellite Program to Study Radiation Effects on Advanced Nanoelectronics The Vanderbilt University/NASA Kennedy Space Center, Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate

Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering has funded development of three laboratories focused on design, development and test of spaceflight hardware. These laboratories didn’t exist prior to the EPSCoR award. The School was motivated to provide the space and funds for this development because of the EPSCoR award. All students

it’s School of Engineering. To our knowledge, Vanderbilt University has never proposed to build a full CubeSat spacecraft. The willingness of the School to support this effort was a direct result of the EPSCoR funding. We have developed two independent relationships with NASA Space Grant programs. One with the Tennessee Space Grant

which show significant promise for use in spaceflight hardware. They are willing to provide details of the process information used to fabricate the microcontrollers, this, along with ground and space data will enable us to make recommendations on which would be suitable for spaceflight. 2) We are working with NASA JSC to understand and improve applicability of the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) for use to qualify electronics for spaceflight. NSRL is widely accepted as the facility of choice for biological radiation-effects research. There is a new effort to use NSRL for electronics testing. We are working with NASA JSC and GSFC to better understand how the data taking on radiation response of electronics can be used to predict the failures when exposed to the space radiation environment. Texas Instruments and Jazz Semiconductor have provided, at no cost, a large set of test structures that will be flown on our first missions. The estimated cost of those structures is > $375,000. The EPSCoR funding has enable us to interact with these vendors to develop and acquire this test articles.

Assembled Independence Payload Engineering Unit

(undergraduate and graduate) working on the project have access to one of the labs; the other two labs are dedicated to spaceflight hardware assembly and, therefore, have restricted access to US citizens. Over the past three years, our research group, which consists of 8 professors, 30 graduate students, and 14 full-time staff engineers, wrote several different CubeSatbased proposals valued at over $22M. One of these proposals was led by NASA/JPL. Another was partnering with NASA/MSFC. This is a significant change in the direction for Vanderbilt University’s radiation effects research team and



NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Consortium, which has provided ~$18k to improve the undergraduate design experience at Vanderbilt University. The Exploration Space Grant Project provide $5k in funds to purchase the hardware used by the senior design team to build the SELE. We are currently working on two technology transfer efforts: 1) Microchip Technology Corporation is a leading manufacturer of high-reliability terrestrialbased electronics. We are working with them to better understand the radiation sensitivity of their microcontrollers. We have radiation tested several of their products, some of

Dr. Robert Reed, Science PI, Science Investigator, The Vanderbilt University

John Wrbanek, NASA Technical Monitor, LCS0, GRC

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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