Memorias de investigación
Communications at congresses:
Educational Ground Station Based on Software Defined Radio

Research Areas
  • Processing and signal analysis

Nowadays, there a large number of worldwide initiatives lead by Universities and Space Agencies that develop space projects by developing small satellites (typically, cubesats)and associated ground stations. These projects gather a number of students, that shape their curricula by participating in a particular subsystem. This contribution focuses on the ground station subsystem. An educational ground station can be defined as a ground station whose facilities are supposed to serve in an educational space mission for teaching space systems and satellite communications. Educational ground stations provide the students with hands-on experience on the implementation of any part of the station, i.e., transceiver, antenna and tracking system, software for control and remote operation. Traditionally, the transceiver is a COTS (Commercial Off The Self) component which increments the cost and limits the flexibility of the station for receiving signals in different frequency bands and modulations. The main objective of the ground station design presented here is to make it as flexible as possible in order to provide a wide and robust multi-mission support by using a Software-Defined Radio (SDR) architecture. The specifications imposed to guarantee the use of the ground station for tracking any educational satellite is the possibility to operate in VHF, UHF and S bands. As a solution, we propose the use of a SDR transceiver operating in three intermediate frequencies under a bandpass sampling scheme. Therefore, separate antennas and front-ends (amplification, filtering and frequency conversion) are needed for each frequency band, while the combined IF signal is processed by a unique SDR transceiver. Being a SDR platform, the user can select the modulation, coding, bandwidth, etc., to process each time depending on the satellite to be tracked. Moreover, the configuration of the hardware can be made by software, making the remote operation of the station be integrated. In addition, a tool for selecting the range of possible sampling frequencies to use depending on the RF and bandwidth requirements of the received signals has been developed. In summary, this contribution represents a cost-effective solution to design a remotely operable and multimission ground station to operate student satellite missions. This work is a joint work between Universidad Polit?ecnica de Madrid (UPM) and Narvik University College (HiN). It represents the initial step for the deployment of an educational ground station network based on SDR to be integrated in the GENSO network supported by ESA."
59th International Astronautical Congress (IAC2008)
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IAC Proceedings 2008

Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Grupo de Radiación
  • Departamento: Señales, Sistemas y Radiocomunicaciones