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SALSAT - Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite

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

   

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)

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

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

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
Lupe

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 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). 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.

The SALSAT Team

SALSAT (Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite) project team
project lead

systems engineer

software engineer

electronics engineer

communications engineer

student assistant

student assistant

SALSAT Team 2020
Lupe

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 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) in July 2020.

SALSAT: Technical Paramet
Parameter
Value
Orbit
575 km (SSO)
Launch Date
September 28th 2020
Design Lifetime
>1 year
Mass
~ 11.00 kg 
Volume
240 x 240 x 240 mm³
Communication
UHF (TM/TC), S band (UL/DL of payload data)
Attitude Control
3-axis control with MEMS sensors, magnetorquers and reaction wheels
Payload
Spectrumanalyzer (SALSA), optical camera, 3-axis Fluid-Dynamic Actuation system (FDA), Linux based processing system (IPU), S-band transceiver (SLINK) and Laser reflectors
Lupe
Lupe
Lupe

   

Publications

System Design of an S-Band Network of Distributed Nanosatellites
Citation key Yoon.2013.DLRK.SNET
Author Yoon, Zizung; Frese, Walter; Bukmaier, Alexander; Briess, Klaus
Year 2013
ISSN 1868-2502
DOI 10.1007/s12567-013-0058-1
Journal CEAS Space Journal
Volume 6
Number 1
Month March
Publisher Springer
Abstract The paper presents the mission and system design of the S-Net mission, which consists of four nanosatellites to demonstrate intersatellite communication in S-band. The goal is to demonstrate multipoint to multipoint communication with high data rates and optimized communication protocols to push further the technological boundary of nanosatellites. To overcome the cross-communication limitations of a nanosatellite, the Technical University of Berlin developed an S-band (2.0-2.3 GHz) transceiver with 100 kbps crosslink and 1 Mbps downlink capability suitable for nanosatellites. Modern transmission techniques such as Adaptive Modulation and Coding (AMC) with Turbo and convolutional coding and up to APSK8 were implemented and tested on ground. The transceiver accommodates the physical layer and data link layer while the satellite controller is responsible for the network layer. Each nanosatellite will be equipped with the above mentioned S-band transceiver. Hence a mission analysis as well as the design overview of the space segment and ground segment will be described. Different network architecture and corresponding routing algorithm will be demonstrated and verified within the mission.
Link to original publication Download Bibtex entry

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Kommissarische Fachgebietsleitung

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Peitsch
Tel. +49 30 314-22878
Room F 007

Grant No.:

50 YB 1805