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Optimization of ground station locations for the tracking of nanosatellites using 3D modeling techniques
Research Areas
  • Engineering,
  • Telecommunications
The increasing number of small satellite and nanosatellite missions in low-Earth orbits raises the need for a reliable communication link and to maximize the visibility time between the satellite and the ground station. Satellites in low orbits are visible from the ground station only for a few minutes per day. In addition, small satellites also have limitations in the amount of power available to download data to ground stations, and hence need to optimize their concept of operations to maximize the communication times with the ground stations. The study presented in this paper offers an analysis for selecting ground station sites, using geographical 3D modelling techniques. The digital model obtained is represented in a 3D thematic map with internal and spatial variables which affect, distort or hinder communication, regarding the theoretical location of the antenna and its surrounding environment. In addition, the application of this study in an operating station allows to visualize the existing visibility windows and to develop recommendations to redesign its location for satellite tracking to improve effectiveness. In addition, this study will show experimental results that have been obtained for a ground station located at ETSIT-UPM with the aim of achieving the optimal site of the ground station. This experimental analysis will determine that optimization of the satellite elevation mask, in its AOS and LOS azimuths along the horizon visible from the antenna, increases the communication time with the ground station. Issues such as orography, buildings, and other obstacles surrounding the antenna will be considered in the study and its impact on satellite visibility will be evaluated. In conclusion, optimal configuration of the antenna elevation mask maximizes data download, and hence helps to meet the requirements of the mission. This fact is especially important in complex missions that include many small satellites, such as QB50, where one ground station would be able to track several satellites even simultaneously.
5th CubeSat Symposium
Royal Military Academy of Brussels in Belgium
Start Date
End Date
From page
To page
5th European CubeSat Symposium - Book of Abstracts
  • Autor: Ramon Martinez Rodriguez-Osorio (UPM)
Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Grupo de Radiación
  • Departamento: Señales, Sistemas y Radiocomunicaciones
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Cofinanciación del MINECO en el marco del Programa INNCIDE 2011 (OTR-2011-0236)
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