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SALSAT - Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite

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


Launch & LEOP Information

Current schedule:

  • 2020-09-28 11:20:32 UTC Launch at Plesetsk Cosmodrome
  • 2020-09-28 14:46:12 UTC Separation
  • 2020-09-28 23:11:37 UTC First contact (callsign DP0WER)
  • 2020-09-29 Core System checkout
  • 2020-09-30 Historic Telemetry Analysis
  • 2020-09-30 Regarding our and community Doppler observations SALSAT is probably object 2020-068K (SCN 46495) but not finally confirmed yet
  • ... commissioning

The following Links can be used for further updates/information about the project and launch:

  • Updated Website: TU Homepage [2]
  • Social Media: Follow TUBSpace [3] and SALSAT [4] on Twitter!
  • Documents: Amateur Radio Informations [5]
  • Youtube Trailer: English [6] / Deutsch [7]
  • Youtube Interview: TU Interview [8]

See the TUBIX10-COM document [9] for Communication System Specifications incl. preliminary LEOP TLE. To import the TLE data directly into your orbit prediction tool you can use this source [10] hosted by DK0TU.

SALSAT Team Members in front of the S band antenna of TU Berlin's groundstation
Lupe [11]
SALSAT Team Members at the Integration Facility in September 2020
Lupe [12]

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 [13], 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 [14] 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 [15], 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 [16]) for attitude control of nanosatellites
  • Modified S-Link RF transceiver for full-duplex communication in the S band
SALSAT satellite overview
Lupe [17]

Amateur Radio

SALSAT is a Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite. The main objective is an analysis of the actual used (amateur & scientific) spectrum to obtain a better understanding of the current challenges of frequency coordination. The Amateur spectrum data will be made available to the interested public. Space research payload data will be requested and downlinked in space research service bands. SALSAT does not include any commercial mission and does not use amateur bands for non-amateur services.

Detailed Information on how-to contact SALSAT (e.g. telemetry formats) can be found on the amateur radio website [18] of the chair.

The spectrum data in the amateur radio bands collected over the course of the mission will be published in a online database (s/t the MarconISStadatabase [19]). Detailed information will be published during the operational phase of SALSAT in 2021.

The reason for not using amateur-satellite bands in S band is that the transceiver has a proprietary
protocol that is not published by the manufacturer (IQWireless). Most of the spectrum data will be downlinked via this COM system. The S band transceiver has both uplink and downlink functionalities and is therefore independent from the UHF COM system.

Within several hands-on classes and projects TU Berlin uses Amateur UHF to teach satellite operations and communication technology. Currently these courses are:
- Amateur Radio Novice and Advanced Class
- Spaceflight Planning and Operations,
- Project Satellite Operations,
- Project Amateur Radio,
- Project Satellite Communications

Through these courses, we so far helped ~40 radio amateurs to obtain their license.
Nominal TT&C of the satellite and amateur payloads will be conducted in amateur-satellite bands.


SALSAT (Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite) project team
project lead
Jens Großhans, M.Sc. [20]
systems engineer
Dipl.-Ing. Huu Quan Vu [21]
software engineer
Philipp Wüstenberg, M.Sc. [22]
electronics engineer
Michael Pust, M.Sc. [23]
communications engineer
Sebastian Lange, M.Sc. [24]
student assistant
Alexander Balke, B.Eng. [25]
student assistant
Thee Vanichangkul, B.Eng. [26]
SALSAT Team 2020
Lupe [27]

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 [28]and SALSA [29]). 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 [30] project. This project also utilizes the SLink [31] RF transceiver. The secondary payload for attitude control is developed, qualified and manufactured within the FDA [32] 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 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) in July 2020.

SALSAT: Technical Paramet
575 km (SSO)
Launch Date
September 28th 2020
Design Lifetime
>1 year
~ 11.00 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), Linux based processing system (IPU), S-band transceiver (SLINK) and Laser reflectors
Lupe [33]
Lupe [34]
Lupe [35]



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Buscher, Martin; Winkler, Nicolas; Funke, Tobias; Brieß, Klaus (2016). Orbital lifetime of small satellites and mitigation of space debris [53]. Proceedings the Small Satellites & Services Symposium 2016 - 4S 2016

Buscher, Martin; Balke; Alexander, Brieß, Klaus (2017). Spectrum requirements for small satellite TT&C and regulatory status of small satellites [54]. 11th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Buscher, Martin; Balke, Alexander; Brieß, Klaus (2017). Potential new allocations to small satellite TT&C and regulatory status of small satellites [55]. 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

Buscher, Martin; Balke, Alexander; Brieß, Klaus (2018). Potential New Allocations for Small Satellite TT&C: Prospects of Success at ITU WRC-19 [56]. Proceedings the Small Satellites & Services Symposium 2018 - 4S 2018

Buscher, Martin; Großhans, Jens; Balke, Alexander; Lohse, Alexander; Maaß, Alexander; Brieß, Klaus (2018). RF Spectrum Analysis Missions at TU Berlin [57]. Proceedings the Small Satellites & Services Symposium 2018 - 4S 2018

Martin Buscher (2019). Investigations on the current and future use of radio frequency allocations for small satellite operations [58]. Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics: Scientific Series

Brieß, Klaus; Baumann, Frank; Trowitzsch, Sebastian (2011). Present and Future Picosatellite Missions at TU Berlin [59]. Proceedings of the 8th IAA Symposium Small Satellites for Earth Observation, 49-52.

Brieß, Klaus; Avsar, Cem; Barschke, Merlin F.; Baumann, Frank; and Yoon, Zizung (2015). From small satellites to planetary rovers and space probes - A university approach [60]. presentation at the 11th IAA Low-Cost Planetary Missions Conference

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 [61]. 1st Symposium on Space Educational Activities

Binder, Matthias and Yoon, Zizung and Briess, Klaus (2017). Attitude Determination with Failure Tolerant Sensor Arrays Suitable for Nanosatellites [62]. 11th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Frank Baumann and Klaus Brieß (2015). A Quad-channel UHF Transceiver for TUBiX20 [63]. 10th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation

Baumann, Frank; Trowitzsch, Sebastian; Brieß, Klaus (2012). BEESAT - A CubeSat Series Demonstrates Novel Picosatellite Technologies [64]. presentation at the 4th European CubeSat Symposium

Baumann, Frank; Ballheimer, Walter; Großekatthöfer, Karsten; Nitzschke, Christian and Brieß, Klaus (2013). TUBIN - A Nanosatellite Mission with Infrared Imager Payload [65]. presented at the Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium

Baumann, Frank; Ballheimer, Walter; Großekatthöfer, Karsten; Nitzschke, Christian and Brieß, Klaus (2012). TUBIN - A Novel Nanosatellite Bus with Uncooled Infrared Imager Payload [66]. presented at the 61th German Aerospace Congress

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 [67]. Proceedings of the Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Enrico Stoll
Tel. +49 30 314-21339
Room F 515
sekretariat@rft.tu-berlin.de [82]

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805

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