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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)



Gordon, Karsten and Barschke, Merlin F. (2015). A new concept of software architecture for a flexible attitude determination and control of nanosatellites. presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress

Barschke, Merlin F.; Ballheimer, Walter; Gordon, Karsten and Brieß, Klaus (2015). The TUBIN mission - Wildfire detection using nanosatellites. presented at the 64th German Aerospace Congress

Noack, Daniel; Ludwig, Jonathan and Brieß, Klaus (2015). Fluiddynamische Aktuatoren - Ein alternatives Lageregelungssystem für Kleinsatelliten. 64. Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress

Bauer, Waldemar; Romberg, Oliver and Barschke, Merlin F. (2015). Space environment characterisation by applying an innovative debris detector. Proceedings of the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies

Sascha Weiß, Falk Kempe and Klaus Brieß (2015). Mission objectives of the picosatellite BEESAT-4. 8th Pico and Nano Satellite Workshop

Nitschke, Tony; Jonathan, Kolbeck; Court, R. A.; Wüstenberg, Philipp; Melan, Evgeni and Schmid, Michael (2015). The DECAN Project at TU Berlin. 64. Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress

Wolf Ronny, Korn Nikolas, Baumann Frank, Brieß, Klaus (2015). Untersuchung des Separationsverhaltens eines Picosatellitenschwarms im Rahmen einer Parabelflugkampagne. 64. Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress

Sebastian Grau and Roland Henning and Daniel Noack and Klaus Brieß (2015). Labormuster eines fluiddynamischen Aktuators für Satelliten der CubeSat-Klasse. 64. Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress. DGLR.

Buscher, Martin; Ubbels, Wouter Jan; Brieß, Klaus (2015). Frequency coordination for small satellites – current status, further proceeding. 8th Pico and Nano Satellite Workshop 2015

Werner, Philipp; Starke, Mario; Graf, Alexander; Gordon, Karsten and Barschke, Merlin F. (2015). Modular electrical ground support equipment for nanosatellites. Proceedings of the 10th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, 211–214.

Frank Baumann and Klaus Brieß (2015). A Quad-channel UHF Transceiver for TUBiX20. 10th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Barschke, Merlin F. and Weise, Jana (2015). Verification of an extendable boom system for nanosatellite applications in microgravity environment. Proceedings of the 10th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, 301-304.

Gordon, Karsten; Graf, Alexander; Barschke, Merlin (2015). Practical experience in using continuous integration within the development of nanosatellite software. Proceedings of the 10th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, 191–194.

Buscher, Martin; Funke, Tobias; Brieß, Klaus (2015). TUB Small Satellite Database. ITU Symposium and Workshop on small satellilte regulation and communication systems

Buscher, Martin; Ubbels, Wouter Jan (2015). Status of ITU-R studies related to small satellites. ITU Symposium and Workshop on small satellilte regulation and communication systems

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

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805