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SALSAT - Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite

Artistic Impression of SALSAT during an overflight in the low earth orbit


The Mission

The research project SALSAT (Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite) develops, launches and operates a nanosatellite with a payload for in-orbit spectrum analysis. The primary payload is the spectrum-analyzer SALSA, which has been developed and space-qualified within the recent research activities of the chair of space technology. SALSAT is based on the TUBiX10 satellite bus which has been developed at the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin. An existing flight spare satellite of the S-Net mission is utilized and modified to accommodate the specific needs of the SALSAT mission. The primary focus of the project consists of the design of Hard- and Software components as well as the operation of SALSAT in orbit. Scientific data for the analysis of the global spectrum use is gathered and processed throughout the mission lifetime. The data is used to generate heatmaps of the global spectrum use as well as to detect harmful interference. Study groups of the ITU for spectrum analysis for small satellites are also accompanied in the scope of the SALSAT mission.

The payloads

The SALSAT mission consists of the primary payload SALSA, which is a spectrum analyzer for the analysis of the spectrum utilization from the low earth orbit. SALSA solely analyzes the portion of the spectrum which is utilized for satellite communication (e.g. amateur radio bands). The following frequency bands will be analayzed:

  • VHF: 145.80 – 174.00 MHz
  • UHF: 400.15 – 420.00 MHz
            435.00 – 438.00 MHz
  • S band: 2 075.00 – 2 095.00 MHz
                 2 255.00 – 2 275.00 MHz

The spectrum utilization will be collected and analyzed within these frequencies. As a result a global heatmap of the spectrum utilization over time and location will be generated.

The SALSAT mission will also feature multiple secondary payloads:

  • Laser-Retroreflectors for ground-based high accuracy orbit determination
  • Optical paylaoad for verification of the attitude control system of SALSAT
  • Novel Fluiddynamic Actuator (FDA) for attitude control of nanosatellites
  • Modified S-Link RF transceiver for full-duplex communication in the S band
SALSAT satellite overview


SALSAT (Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite) project team
project lead

systems engineer

software engineer

electronics engineer

communications engineer

student assistant

student assistant

student assistant


Preparatory research projects

As previously mentioned the SALSAT project conducts in-orbit spectrum analysis in defined RF bands. The chair of space technology at the TU Berlin conducted preparatory work within the scope of two completed research projects (REPIN and SALSA). These projects established the theoretical and practical foundation for the SALSAT mission. The utilized satellite bus (TUBiX10) has been developed and space qualified within the S-Net project. This project also utilizes the SLink RF transceiver. The secondary payload for attitude control is developed, qualified and manufactured within the FDA project.

Technical Parameter

This paragraph contains the main technical parameters of SALSAT. It shall be mentioned that the exact parameter evolve during the development process. The table below represents the technical specifications at the stage of the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in October 2018.

SALSAT: Technical Paramet
approx. 550 - 600 km (SSO)
Launch Date
Design Lifetime
>1 year
12.00 kg 
240 x 240 x 240 mm³
UHF (TM/TC), S band (UL/DL of payload data)
Attitude Control
3-axis control with MEMS sensors, magnetorquers and reaction wheels
Spectrumanalyzer (SALSA), optical camera, 3-axis Fluid-Dynamic Actuation system (FDA), S-band transceiver (SLINK) and Laser reflectors
SALSAT Mission Patch
SALSAT Mission on Social Media (Twitter, LinkedIn)



Hufgard, Fabian; Lengowski, Michael; Barschke, Merlin F.; Harmansa, Nicholas; Klinkner, Sabine and Brieß, Klaus (2018). Preliminary study of an academic micro-satellite formation mission for meteoroid trajectories determination and dust mass flow measurement. Proceedings of the Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium

Dinkelaker, Aline N.; Kaparthy, Akash; Reher, Sven; Bawamia, Ahmad; Kürbis, Christian; Smol, Robert; Christophe, Heike; Wicht, Andreas; Werner, Philipp; Bartholomäus, Julian; Rotter, Sven; Jördens, Robert; Barschke, Merlin F. and Krutzik, Markus (2018). Optical quantum technologies for compact rubidium vapor-cell frequency standards in space using small satellites. Proceedings of the 6th Reinventing Space conference

Barschke, Merlin F.; Werner, Philipp and Kapitola, Sascha (2018). BEESAT-3 commissioning – better late than never. Proceedings of the 69th International Astronautical Congress

Bartholomäus, Julian; Barschke, Merlin F. and Lehmann, Marc (2018). Development of a single-channel wildfire detection algorithm for the TUBIN mission. Proceedings of the 69th International Astronautical Congress

Barschke, Merlin F.; Gordon, Karsten; von Keiser, Philip; Lehmann, Marc; Starke, Mario and Werner, Philipp (2018). Initial orbit results from the TUBiX20 platform. Proceedings of the 69th International Astronautical Congress

Starke, Mario; Barschke, Merlin F.; von Keiser, Philip (2018). A Modular hardware diagnosis framework for small spacecraft. Proceedings of the 69th International Astronautical Congress

Gerlich, Rainer; Gerlich, Ralf; Montenegro, Sergio; Dilger, Erik; Flederer, Frank; Gordon, Karsten and Barschke, Merlin F. (2018). Verification of the C++-operating system RODOS in context of a small-satellite. in Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Computer Architectures in Space

Frese, Walter and Yoon, Zizung and Briess, Klaus (2018). communication network in LEO: in-orbit veri?cation of intersatellite link by nanosatellite cluster S-Net. Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

Daniel Alexander Sullivan and Johannes Ferdinand Fürstenau and Carl-Ludwig Wonneberger and Cassandra Posada Garcia and Sebastian Grau and Klaus Brieß (2018). Verification of 3-axis Control for a Picosatellite via Fluid Dynamic Actuators.

Großhans, J.; Vu, Quan H.; Balke A., Lohse A.; Maaß, A.; Noack, D.; Buscher, M.; Brieß, K. and Voigt, S. (2018). SALSAT - An innovative nanosatellite for spectrum analysis based on SDR technology. presented at the 69th International Astronautical Congress

Dinkelaker, Aline N.; Christopher, Heike; Brandt, Doreen; Werner, Philipp; Bartholomäus, Julian; Barschke, Merlin F. and Krutzik, Markus (2018). QUEEN: Design Study for Optical Frequency References on Small Satellites. presentation at the 82th Annual Meeting of DPG and DPG Spring Meeting of the Atomic, Molecular, Plasma Physics and Quantum Optics Section (SAMOP)

Barschke, Merlin F. (2018). Small satellite development at Technische Universität Berlin and the technology demonstration mission QUEEN. presentation at From Quantum to KOSMOS - Optical Quantum Technologies for Small Satellites

Noack, Daniel; Jäckel, Klaus; Reibe, Mathias; Hartmann, Frank; Pirwitz, Stefan and Brieß, Klaus (2017). XLINK - A 0.3 U Sized X-Band Transceiver for NanoSats. 68th International Astronautical Congress

Buscher, Martin; Balke, Alexander; Brieß, Klaus (2017). Potential new allocations to small satellite TT&C and regulatory status of small satellites. 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Brieß
Tel. +49 30 314-21339
Room F 515

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805