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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)



Funke, Tobias; Buscher, Martin; Brieß, Klaus (2016). Eigenschaften & Entwicklung von Kleinstsatelliten. 9th Pico and Nano Satellite Workshop 2016

Buscher, Martin; Patzphal, Andre; Funke, Tobias; Brieß, Klaus (2016). Small Satellites might go viral - the data proves it. Proceedings the Small Satellites & Services Symposium 2016 - 4S 2016

Buscher, Martin; Funke, Tobias; Brieß, Klaus (2016). Small satellites might go viral - and change the frequeny coordination environment. Proceedings the Small Satellites & Services Symposium 2016 - 4S 2016

Buscher, Martin; Winkler, Nicolas; Funke, Tobias; Brieß, Klaus (2016). Orbital lifetime of small satellites and mitigation of space debris. Proceedings the Small Satellites & Services Symposium 2016 - 4S 2016

Bauer,Waldemar; Romberg, Oliver; Krag, Holger; Visser, Geert Henk; Digirolamo, Daniel; Barschke, Merlin F. and Montenegro, Sergio (2016). Debris in-situ impact detection by utilization of CubeSat solar panels. Proceedings of the Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium

Barschke, Merlin F.; Brieß, Klaus and Renner; Udo (2016). Twenty-five years of satellite development at Technische Universität Berlin. Proceedings of the Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium

Sascha Weiß, Sascha Kapitola, Nikolas Korn, Sebastian Trowitzsch and Klaus Brieß (2016). BEESAT-2 to BEESAT-4: In flight demonstration of attitude control to GPS based positioning and orbit determination. 4S Symposium Malta

Grunwaldt, Ludwig; Neubert, Rüdiger and Barschke, Merlin F. (2016). Optical tests of a large number of small COTS cubes. Proceedings of the 20th International Workshop on Laser Ranging

A. Kohfeldt, Ch. Kürbis, E. Luvsandamdin, M. Schiemangk, A. Wicht, A. Peters, G. Erbert, G. Tränkle (2016). Compact narrow linewidth diode laser modules for precision quantum optics experi- ments on board of sounding rockets. Proc. SPIE, Quantum Optics

M. Lezius, T. Wilken, Ch. Deutsch, M. Giunta, O. Mandel, A. Thaller, V. Schkolnik, M. Schiemangk, A. Dinkelaker, M. Krutzik, A. Kohfeldt, A. Wicht, A. Peters, O. Hellmig, H. Duncker, K. Sengstock, P. Windpassinger, K. Lampmann, T. Hülsing, T. Hänsch, R. Holzwarth (2016). Space-born Frequency Comb Metrology. Optica, 1381.

V. Schkolnik, O. Hellmig, A. Wenzlawski, J. Grosse, A. Kohfeldt, K. Döringshoff, A. Wicht, P. Windpassinger, K. Sengstock, C. Braxmaier, M. Krutzik, A. Peters (2016). A compact and robust diode laser system for atom interferometry on a sounding rocket. Appl. Phys. B, 217.

Dinkelaker, Aline N.; Barschke, Merlin F.; Bawamia, Ahmad; Schkolnik, Vladimir; Döringshoff, Klaus; Schiemangk, Max; Brieß, Klaus; Wicht, Andreas; Krutzik, Markus and Peters, Achim (2016). Towards diode laser systems for optical metrology on nanosatellites. presentation at the QTspace Conference

Noack, Daniel; Ludwig, Jonathan and Brieß, Klaus (2016). Fluid-Dynamic Actuators - An Alternative Attitude Control System for Small Satellites. The ESA/CNES Small Satellites Systems and Services (4S) Symposium

Lennart Kryza; Sascha Kapitola; Cem Avsar; Klaus Brieß (2015). Developing Technologies for Space on a Terrestrial System: A Cost Effective Approach For Planetary Robotics Research. 1st Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Barschke, Merlin F. and Gordon, Karsten (2015). Enabling flexible payload management through modularity. presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress

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

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805