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SALSAT - Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite

Artistic Impression of SALSAT during an overflight in the low earth orbit
Lupe [1]


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 [2], 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 [3] 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 [4], 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 [5]) for attitude control of nanosatellites
  • Modified S-Link RF transceiver for full-duplex communication in the S band
SALSAT satellite overview
Lupe [6]


SALSAT (Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite) project team
project lead
Jens Großhans, M.Sc. [7]
systems engineer
Dipl.-Ing. Huu Quan Vu [8]
software engineer
Philipp Wüstenberg, M.Sc. [9]
electronics engineer
Michael Pust, M.Sc. [10]
communications engineer
Sebastian Lange, M.Sc. [11]
student assistant
Alexander Balke, B.Eng.
student assistant
Anreas Schiller, B.Eng. [13]
student assistant
Thee Vanichangkul, B.Eng. [14]
Lupe [15]

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 [16]and SALSA [17]). 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 [18] project. This project also utilizes the SLink [19] RF transceiver. The secondary payload for attitude control is developed, qualified and manufactured within the FDA [20] 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
Lupe [21]
SALSAT Mission on Social Media (Twitter, LinkedIn)
Lupe [22]



next >> [34]

Sebastian Grau and Sascha Kapitola and Sascha Weiß and Daniel Noack (2019). Control of an Over-Actuated Spacecraft using a Combination of a Fluid Actuator and Reaction Wheels [38]. 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

Yeerang Lim, Debdeep Roychowdhury and Sascha Weiß (2019). Autonomous Maneuver System for NanoFF [39]. 12th Pico and Nano Satellite Workshop 2019

Martin Buscher (2019). Investigations on the current and future use of radio frequency allocations for small satellite operations [40]. Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics: Scientific Series

Diez, Jose M.; Lutkewitte, Brennan T.; Smith, Nicholas P.; Grau, Sebastian; Großhans, Jens (2019). TUPEX-7: Expanding CubeSat Capability [41]. 8th European Conference for Aeronautics and Space Sciences

Noack, Daniel; Barschke, Merlin F.; Großhans, Jens; Ungermann, Boris G. J.; Vu, Huu Q.; Werner, Philipp; Brieß, Klaus (2019). In-Orbit Verification of a Fluid-Dynamic Attitude Control System [42]. Joint Symposium: 32nd ISTS & 9th NSAT

Sascha Kapitola, Sebastian Grau and Sascha Weiß (2019). Automated Operations of BEESAT-9: A CubeSat with a Fluid-Dynamic Actuator and GPS receiver [43]. IAA

Debdeep Roychowdhury, Yeerang Lim and Sascha Weiß (2019). Feasibility Analysis of Low Earth Orbit Nanosatellite Formations with Limited Delta-V Budget [44]. IAA

Wüstenberg, Philipp; Großhans, Jens; Balke, Alexander; Vu, Huu Q.; Pust, Michael; Brieß, Klaus (2019). SALSAT: Distributed software architecture for a Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite with modular payload capabilities [45]. 12th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Martin Buscher, Max Kramer, Robert Marx, Alex Sullivan, Brian Treacy, Klaus Brieß (2019). Flight Results of MarconISSta: Monitoring and Analysis of Radio Frequency Use from Low Earth Orbit [46]. 12th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Lim, Yeerang and Yoon, Zizung and Frese, Walter (2019). in-orbit differential drag control experiment on nanosatellite cluster: analysis and flight results [47]. 12th IAA Symposium on small satellites for Earth observation

Frese, Walter and Yoon, Zizung and Briess, Klaus (2019). S-Net first year in orbit: verification of a nanosatellite network in s band [48]. 12th IAA Symposium on small satellites for Earth observation

Yoon, Zizung and Frese, Walter and Briess, Klaus (2019). novel nanosatellite cluster deployment strategy by precise orbit insertion – design, verification and flight results [49]. 12th IAA Symposium on small satellites for Earth observation

Dinkelaker, Aline N.; Kaparthy, Akash; Reher, Sven E.; Bawamia, Ahmad; Kürbis, Christian; Smol, Robert; Christopher, Heike; Wicht, Andreas; Werner, Philipp; Bartholomäus, Julian; Rotter, Sven; Jördens, Robert; Barschke, Merlin F. and Krutzik, Markus (2019). Optical quantum technologies for compact rubidium vapor-cell frequency standards in space using small satellites [50]. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 74-82.

Gordon, Karsten; Starke, Mario; von Keiser, Philip and Barschke, Merlin F. (2019). Multi-mission software development for small spacecraft [51]. Proceedings of the 12th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Barschke, Merlin F. (2019). A modular platform architecture to enable system level scalability [52]. Proceedings of the 12th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

next >> [64]

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Brieß
Tel. +49 30 314-21339
Room F 515
e-mail query [65]

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805

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