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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]



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Weise, Jana; Brieß, Klaus; Adomeit, Andre; Reimerdes, Hans-Günther; Göller, Michael; Dillmann, Rüdiger (2012). Modulare Satelliten für On-Orbit-Servicing [39]. Proceedings of the 61th German Aerospace Congress

Barschke, Merlin F.; Levenhagen, Jens; Reggio, Domenico and Roberts, Peter C. E. (2012). Design and analysis of manoeuvre scenarios for highly agile satellites [40]. 61th German Aerospace Congress

Barschke, Merlin F.; Özkan, Senol and Johnson,Michael J. (2012). Open source mission control software for small space projects [41]. 60th German Aerospace Congress, 1647–1652.

Barschke, Merlin F.; Baumann, Frank and Brieß, Klaus (2012). BEESAT-3: Passive attitude control for directed radio transmission on a CubeSat [42]. Proceedings of the 3rd United Nations / Japan Nano-Satellite Symposium

Barschke, Merlin F.; Badsi, Radim; Soyer, Babtiste and Marx, Johan (2012). OpenCube-alpha: A plug & play nanosatellite demonstrator [43]. Proceedings of the 3rd United Nations / Japan Nano-Satellite Symposium

Yoon, Zizung; Frese, Walter; Bukmaier, Alexander; Briess, Klaus (2013). Mission Design of a S-Band Network of Cooperative Nanosatellites [44]. International Workshop on Spacecraft Constellation and Formation Flight

Funke, Tobias; Jahnke, Stephan; Werner, Philipp; Trowitzsch, Sebastian; Brieß, Klaus (2013). Development of a Distributed Ground Segment for Multi-Mission Satellite Operations [45]. 2nd IAA Conference on University Satellites Missions

Trowitzsch, Sebastian; Baumann, Frank; Barschke, Merlin F. and Brieß, Klaus (2013). Lessons learned from picosatellite development at TU Berlin [46]. 2nd IAA Conference on University Satellites Missions

Barschke, Merlin F.; Yoon, Zizung; Baumann, Frank; Roemer, Stephan and Brieß, Klaus (2013). Nanosatellite activities at TU Berlin [47]. Proceedings of the 2nd IAA Conference on University Satellites Missions, 69-76.

Yoon, Zizung; Frese, Walter; Bukmaier, Alexander; Briess, Klaus (2013). System Design of an S-Band Network of Distributed Nanosatellites [48]. CEAS Space Journal. Springer.

Barschke, Merlin F.; Baumann, Frank; Ballheimer, Walter; Großekatthöfer, Karsten; Nitzschke, Christian and Brieß, Klaus (2013). TUBiX20 - The novel nanosatellite bus of TU Berlin [49]. Proceedings of the 9th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, 93-96.

Baumann, Frank; Ballheimer, Walter; Großekatthöfer, Karsten; Nitzschke, Christian and Brieß, Klaus (2013). TUBIN - A Nanosatellite Mission with Infrared Imager Payload [50]. presented at the Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium

Schmid, Michael; Fleischer, Philipp; Sliwowski, Filip (2013). DECAN (Deutsche CanSat-Höhenrakete) - A Sounding Rocket Project at TU Berlin [51]. Proceedings of the 5th European Aerospace Conference

Barschke, Merlin F.; Adirim, Harry; Balagurin, Oleksii; Ballheimer, Walter; Dornburg, Lars; Kayal, Hakan; Noak, Daniel; Nitzschke, Christian; Pilz, Nobert A.; Wojtkowiak, Harald; Brieß, Klaus (2013). TechnoSat - A nanosatellite mission for on-orbit technology demonstration [52]. Proceedings of the 27th AIAA/USU Conference on Samll Satellites

Schmid, Michael (2013). Deutsche CanSat-Höhenrakete DECAN an der Technischen Universität Berlin [53]. Proceedings of the German Aerospace Congress 2013

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Brieß
Tel. +49 30 314-21339
Room F 515
e-mail query [67]

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805

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