Satellite Mission Success, Insurance, and Orbital Debris Mitigation
Training and workshop on ‘Black Box’ for flight redundancy and Data Protection
April 20-21, 2020 | Denver, CO

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This 1.5-day academic course will provide a comprehensive overview and technical analysis of the rapidly growing medium to small and large satellite industry. The recent demonstration of small satellite constellation links to the terrestrial satellite phone network verify ‘Anywhere & Anytime’ global connectivity.  The “Black Box” solution for satellites (TRL- 9) is similar to a Black Box found in an Airplane. This method is a proven tool which allows for a diagnostic failure analysis including a low-data rate link from launch to reentry. During active flight (or if partially or completely dead) the attached Black Box will continue to report redundant data for mission insurance.  A Black Box can be qualified for short, medium and long lifetimes with Radiation Box shielding. A current Air Force SBIR Phase 2 is underway with flights manifested.

During this course, various vendors of Black Box subsystems will be reviewed for custom applications. This class will also give an overview of the space environment that includes a look at the different considerations for mission hardening. Energetic particle shielding and design approaches will also be discussed for achieving radiation hard and tolerant systems and long lifetimes.   There will also be a hands-on component to this course which demonstrates some of the current technology for the Black Box, currently available on the market.


This course is intended for managers, mission planners, and engineers that have some spacecraft background.

Engineers, managers, and investors involved in spaceflight satellite systems or thinking about building a full CubeSat or a satellite subsystem, professionals interested in satellite technology or manufacture, other technical staff and educators.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify key design criteria for mission success and successful risk management methods
  • Better understand failures for mitigation and insurance risk
  • List baseline and optional sensors and subsystems needed in a Black Box and how each system functions
  • Review flight system approval processes such as battery safety, environmental testing, FCC license and vendor radio license approval
  • Hands-on testing of a small, 120-gram, Black Box with the Globalstar network. Also review cost options with different vendors for subsystem parts and data plans
  • Discuss live satellite telemetry with low latency that include ground station and secured encrypted data storage
  • Improve overall mission success with a live 24/7 redundant telemetry link
  • Assess new technologies for tracking improvements with long lifetimes in space radiation environments
  • Discuss multiple Black Box size configurations and applications
  • Explore the advantages of real-time data links on various satellites such as coverage, throughput, power, security, ground station storage and other factors and discuss some disadvantages
  • Understand the tradeoffs for an autonomous Black Box low data rate redundant link to support mission critical live data, failure analysis, Identification, and GPS
  • Discuss the importance of orbital debris tracking after satellite failure or decommissioning

ROI for Attendees:

The material provided for the course will include a manual of all the slides presented, a reference list of small satellite companies, small satellite parts vendors and institutions that are recommended for additional references. In addition, the demo portion of the class will include an operational Black Box that will be connected to the Globalstar network with associated live ground station operation and dada display.


Monday, April 20, 2020

8:00 – 8:30 am :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 am – 5:00 pm :: Course Timing

12:00 – 1:00 pm :: Group Luncheon

Introduction to Black Box Applications

  • Breakdown of live latency rates and global coverage challenges (Globalstar, Iridium…)
  • Identify critical importance of live satellite data and global coverage
    • Mission success
    • Risk reduction
    • Mission assurance
    • Tracking orbital debris
  • Review of current small and large satellites success record including
    • Data latency
    • Tracking
    • Fault tolerance when problems occur (insurance risk)
  • Black box design models
    • ‘Barnacle’
    • ‘Patch’
    • ThinSat
    • PC-104

Real Time Satellite to Satellite links

  • Discuss real-time satellite data links
  • Live frequency with low latency
    • Ground station and secured encrypted data storage
    • LEO
      • Globalstar
      • Iridium
      • Orbcom
      • GEO
    • Variety of company options
    • Explore the advantages and challenges of real-time data links on various satellites
      • Coverage
      • Throughput
      • Power
      • Security
      • Ground station
      • Storage
      • Other factors

Importance of Flight Redundancy for Mission Success

  • Assess the tradeoffs for an autonomous Black Box
    • Low data rate
    • Redundant link to support mission critical live data
    • Failure analysis and flight forensics
    • Identification
    • GPS
  • Advantages of mission redundancy
  • Discuss the importance of orbital debris tracking after satellite failure or decommissioning

New Comm Systems and Capabilities

  • EyeStar Simplex Radio
      • Globalstar Connective and data coverage
  • Hybrid space comm versatility and applications
  • Review Mil Spec, TRL-9
  • System Componentry:
      • GPS + Antenna
      • Temperature sensors
      • Particle detectors
      • Custom payload
      • Battery
      • EPS/Solar

General Black Box System Operation

  • Identify critical vs optional sensors
  • Subsystems needed in a Black Box (Block Diagram)
    • System functions
      • IR image
      • Particle dose detector
      • IMU attitude spin rates
      • Camera
      • Voltages
      • Solar and EPS
        • Battery power
      • Isolated serial feed of critical data from flight processor

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

8:00 – 8:30 am :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 am – 12:00 pm :: Course Timing

General Black Box System Operation Continued

  • Review Interface Control Documents (ICD) for small to larger size Black Boxes
  • Demonstrate Black Box sensor options
    • Inertial Motion Unit (IMU)
    • Solar cells (PV)
    • Particle detector
    • IR grid imager array
    • Camera
    • Plasma probe
    • More options

Safety and License Requirements

  • Review all approval processes needed for a flight system:
    • Materials
    • Battery safety
    • Environmental testing
    • Vender radio license approval
  • FCC license compliance

Hands-on Testing of a Black Box from Satellite – Ground Station

  • Live testing and analysis of a small, 120-gram, Black Box
    • Look at Globalstar network and capability
    • Review cost options with different venders for subsystem parts and data plans
    • Interact with mission simulation and latency rates

Wrap-up, discussion review and Q&A


Dr. Hank Voss
CEO and Chief Scientist, NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL)

Dr. Hank Voss is an Emeritus Professor in Engineering and currently CEO and Chief Scientist at NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL) located in Upland, IN. In the past 5 years NSL has created and launched 350 CubeSat subsystems and developed over 10 full satellites with 100 % success in-orbit. NSL was also the first to demonstrate the powerful Globalstar satellite-to-satellite link for 24/7 anywhere-anytime global visibility of a satellite with low latency of a few seconds. He worked previously 15 years at Lockheed Research Labs in Palo Alto CA on many advanced NASA and DOD satellites and payloads. Dr. Voss worked with Prof. Twigg, Inventor of the CubeSats, in the early days of CubeSats at Stanford and was instrumental in developing the first 2U CubeSat with students. He has 22 years’ experience in teaching aerospace and engineering at Taylor University in IN and development of many small spacecraft in an academic environment while receiving the university Teaching Excellence award and Forman Research award. While in Indiana he launched Indiana’s first satellite and first commercial satellite. He is an inventor of the new ThinSat standard to significantly reduce cost for access to space and inventor of the new thin patch satellite Black Box for mission success, diagnostics, and space debris GPS tracking. He has been responsible for the development of eleven small satellites (1U to 6U) that were launched into LEO orbit with a 24/7 Globalstar communication link that needs no ground station since all the encrypted data is linked through the internet. NSL has developed 60 autonomous ThinSats that launched as a constellation in 2019 with Professor Twiggs as well as a CubeSat payload for Deep Space and lunar flyby on the EM-1 mission.

He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois. He has published over 150 technical papers in Space Science, Space Instrumentation and CubeSat results.

Secondary instructor:

Matt Orvis BS, MS
Project Engineer, NearSpace Launch Inc. (NSL)

Mr. Matt Orvis BS and MS in Physics/Engineering and a project engineer with NearSpace Launch. Matt has worked over 5 years with state-of-the-art satellite design and acted as the lead engineer for the THEEF subsystem, an electric field and VLF sensor. He has been involved in the design and build of numerous other small satellites ranging from ThinSats to 6Us and 12Us.


Plaza Tower One Conference Center

6400 S Fiddlers Green Cir.

Greenwood Village CO, 80111

The conference center is conveniently located adjacent to the Arapahoe at Village Center Light Rail Station, allowing easy access to and from DIA, Downtown, and Local Area Attractions.

Nearby Hotels

Each of these hotels offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the conference center.

Springhill Suites DTC
7900 East Peakview Ave
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: 303-721-3321
0.3 miles away

Wingate by Wyndham
8000 East Peakview Ave
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: 303-626-2641
0.3 miles away

Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center
8300 E.Crescent Parkway
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: 1-303-804-7000
2.1 miles away

Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center
7800 East Tufts Ave
Denver, CO 80237
Phone: 1-303-779-1234
2.8 miles away

Denver Marriott Tech Center
4900 S Syracuse St
Denver, CO 80237
Phone: 303-779-1100
3.1 miles away


Please Note: Confirmed speakers do not need to register and are encouraged to participate in all sessions of the event. If you are a speaker and have any questions please contact our offices at 1.303.770.8800

EventEarly Bird Before
Friday, April 10, 2020
Standard RateAttendees
Satellite "Black Box" 24/7 Link for Mission Success, Insurance, and Debris MitigationUS $ 1195.00 US $ 1395.00

Register 3 Send 4th Free!

Any organization wishing to send multiple attendees to these conferences may send 1 FREE for every 3 delegates registered. Please note that all registrations must be made at the same time to qualify.

Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before March 27, 2020 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other LRA event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, LRAs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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