Instrumentation Design


Space Weather Monitoring Solutions

ASTRA™ is committed to the on-going effort to provide our customers ever-improving state-of-the-art programmable instrumentation for monitoring space weather from anywhere in the world to space. Even if your space weather application requires deployment of GPS receivers in remote regions or oceanic environments, ASTRA is pioneering autonomous instruments with unparalleled performance and versatility.

ASTRA’s GPS program for monitoring space weather and characterizing ionospheric scintillation represents an SBIR “success story”. After years of development from Phase I, through Phase II, and then on to Phase III commercialization, the CASES GPS Space Weather Monitor and resulting product line demonstrate ASTRA’s capabilities to take a research concept and develop it to an operational product.

More and more, arrays of dual-frequency GPS receivers are being used to monitor the ionosphere. Ionospheric total electron content (TEC) is derived using dual-frequency phase measurements. The variations of GPS signal amplitude and phase are used to measure the magnitude of ionospheric irregularities.

Superior GPS-based Ionospheric Monitoring Instruments

RIO GPS Space Weather Monitor

A smaller size, weight, and power GPS receiver designed to provide autonomous operation from remote platforms


SmallSat Instrumentation

Topside Sounder

ASTRA’s CubeSat innovations continually strive to meet compatibility requirements for small platforms. Historically, orbiting topside sounders have been large, expensive, and power-hungry. For platforms as small as 15cm x 10cm x 10cm, CubeSat-compatible instrumentation must be low-weight, miniature in size, and low in power consumption.

ASTRA is working with USU/SDL to develop a CubeSat-compatible sounder which will enable topside measurements of the ionosphere and provide critical data over the oceans from a constellation of CubeSats.


THOR Winds

ASTRA is developing a miniaturized neutral wind instrument to measure vector winds in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) under all solar and magnetic conditions. The 2.06 THz Oxygen-line Radiometer (THOR) will provide critical neutral-wind information in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere from a CubeSat. This robust and compact instrument provides comprehensive spatial measurements currently not afforded by any in-situ measurement technique. Benefits/applications include:

  • Understanding and predicting satellite drag as a result of vector winds

  • Ionospheric instabilities

  • Gravity wave filtering in the upper atmosphere

  • Vertical profiling of neutral winds

Power Distribution Unit


Customize with multiple battery pack, power board and MPPT board configurations

Multiple Battery Configurations

Supports 4 and 8 series of Li-Ion, LiFeP04, and 12/24 volt Lead Acid

Host Interface Control

Firmware allows for configuration and control of all channels and ports with dashboard

High TRL

Air-8, Water-8, Space-6, Land-8


Over Current and Short Circuit Protection

Reacts in < 20 µS to protect payloads from failure

True MPPT Design

Allows for extracting the maximum power from solar panels


Virtual Channel Logic

1 or more ports can be grouped into a single logical channel to allow simultaneous power control

Watch Dog Timer

Timer with local or Host control reset