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Radio receiver geared to going to the Moon

Submitter: Jeanette Bast and Albert-Jan Boonstra
Description: The Netherlands China Long Wavelength Explorer (NCLE) is a radio receiver aimed at observing the low frequency radio sky in lunar (Earth-Moon L2) orbit. NCLE is currently being designed, and is geared to launching with the Chinese Chang'e 4 relay satellite in 2018.

At the end of 2016 the project passed the requirements review. Requirements stemming from the different science cases, including the Dark Ages and other unique scientific opportunities below 30 MHz, were derived, evaluated and agreed. The photo shows happy faces from the ASTRON part of the NCLE team, relieved by this success.

In the meantime, the team is working very hard towards the PDR which will follow shortly. ASTRON's responsibilities include the design and production of the analogue input circuitry, the low-noise amplifiers, and the RF side of things of the antennas. With the help of our LESIA colleagues we had a head start in designing the LNA for which we currently have promising solutions. Still, as the time scales are very tight, the team is focused and determined to deliver on time.

This project allows us to design and build low-frequency radio technology not only for NCLE, but this ground work will also form the basis for much larger future space-based radio instruments.

The NCLE receiver project is a collaboration between ASTRON, Radboud University (PI), Innovative Solutions In Space (ISIS), the Chinese NAOC, and is supported by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO).
Copyright: ASTRON
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