Design Goal - Create a high reliability, light weight APRS Tracking Beacon that can be used from mission to mission. The following are the design goals of the Pico Beacon system.
Extreme Light Weight - Designed to be the lightest weight, complete tracking system. The prototype met the initial 8 ounce design goal and weighs 5.8 ounces.
Operational over full industrial temperature range (-40°C to° C). Designed for future, long duration and over night missions. Initial night, flight test recorded internal temperatures down to -48° C ° F).
DDS (Direct Digital Synthesizer) with digital modulation provides multi-waveform capability (1200bps A-FSK and 9600bps FSK AX.25 APRS currently implemented). Future expansion for experimental, low power Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, Q-PSK, or MFSK (OFDM) type waveforms.
½ watt (+27dBm) output power, controllable down to 50mW (+17dBm)
Frequency agile over full UHF (420-450 MHz) 70cm band
Accurate carrier frequency +/- 10Hz over temperature (TCXO dynamically corrected with GPS 1-PPS)
Industrial Motorola M12+ GPS receiver as used for GM OnStar system.
COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) batteries capable of operation at low temperature with high power to weight ratio
Flight Data Recorder sampling at once per second
Capable of full GPS tracking for 16 hours and 48 hours with managed GPS operation
On board software to predict landing location based on winds aloft data gathered during ascent
User configurable through RS-232 port. Mission to mission configuration changes do not require software load.
Pico Beacon weigh in.
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