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NCLE Radio Receiver proceeding to the next phase

Submitter: 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 still in the design phase, and is geared to launching with the Chinese Chang'e 4 relay satellite in 2018.

In May 15-16 the NCLE teams presented their designs at the preliminary design review (PDR) at ESTEC. The ASTRON team showed readiness to proceed to the next phase of the project for the analog parts of the system: the analog input system, the calibrator board and the low noise amplifier. All showed technology readiness levels up to TRL 6. In addition, prior to the PDR, conductive and radiative EMC measurements were carried out with NCLE mock-up antennas mounted to a model of the Chang'e 4 spacecraft. Indeed, although the measurements are not complete yet, it is clear that there are significant EMC background signals present. The measurements however confirmed the validity of our linearity approach that includes switchable attenuators and frequency band selection.

The picture shows in counter clockwise order a drawing of the Chang'e 4 spacecraft with the three 5 meter monopole antennas mounted to it, one of the spectral filters designed for band selection, an infrared image of the board that produces narrow pulses for calibration purposes, an analog input board selecting input bands, NCLE antenna mock-ups and a measured EMC spectrum, and an impression of the PDR meeting. Currently we're heading full speed towards finalizing designs, and after that to start production.

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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