Virtual Ground Station App – Global Crowdsourcing of CubeSats
Data Visualization, Platform, Model
An armada of CubeSats is about to be deployed from launch vehicles and the International Space Station creating a swarm of planetary sensors orbiting the Earth. Your challenge is to develop a common antenna kit or directions and an app that can receive data transmitted from these orbiting CubeSats through ground stations around the world to create a global data network. A virtual ground station app that tracks CubeSat locations and downloads their data. The app should visually show the location and path of the satellite and provide data.
A CubeSat is a type of space research nanosatellite. The base CubeSat dimension is 10x10x11 centimeters (one “Cube” or “1U”). CubeSats include volumes of 1U, 2U, 3U, and 6U and may weigh up to 1.33 kilograms per 1U Cube. CubeSats provide low-cost, high risk-tolerant payloads to conduct scientific research and technology demonstrations in the space environment.
After CubeSats are deployed, they will begin to orbit the Earth. After forty-five minutes in orbit the CubeSat transmitters will turn on and ground stations will listen for beacons using UHF antennas. CubeSats are tracked using a NORAD ID, assigned by U.S. Space Command, which is used to identify all Earth orbiting satellites and a two-line element that describes the orbits of Earth-orbiting satellites. Once a beacon is heard, universities can determine their satellites functionality and satellites become operational and begin transmitting mission data. CubeSat mission durations and orbital life vary depending on the orbit it is placed in, solar events and its design. A 1U CubeSat may stay in orbit for 180 days. Upon mission completion, the CubeSats fall to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere.
Not all of the spacecraft are communicating via UHF. Some are using S-Band.
CubeSats use a variety of frequencies within the UHF band. Most CubeSats “beacon” at a specific, pre-defined interval. Knowing how often a particular cube beacons (every x minutes), what frequency it beacons on, and roughly where it is in the sky is important to identification/tracking.
Here are some ways for you to frame this solution (may be implemented by mix of mobile apps or server apps vs peer to peer):
· Design a common UHF antenna kit to automatically track and receive data from a CubeSat
· Define data packets and publish to Amateur Radio community.
· Explain how to interface software to your computer
· Show a map of receiving antennas at network level
· Allow ground stations to input initial CubeSat contact
· Compare initial CubeSat contact data to NORAD ID and two line element to identify CubeSat
· Show aggregate and individual CubeSat tracks
· Show aggregate and individual CubeSat data
· Network ground stations to create a global network to download data
· Provide baseball card style statistics on individual satellites linking it to their data
· Potentially provide user information to denote who is tracking the data
- NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative: http://go.nasa.gov/CubeSat_initiative
- How to build an Antenna: http://www.skyscan.ca/Antennas.htm
- Definition of Two-line Element Set Coordinate System: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/SSapplications/Post/JavaSSOP/
- Cal Poly Ground Operator Network: http://www.cubesat.org/index.php/collaborate/ground-operators
- Example of Request to Help Track CubeSats: http://www.southgatearc.org/news/november2013/help_track_iss_ham_radio_cubesats.htm
- The CubeSat Ground Station at the University of Arizona: ftp://pirlftp.lpl.arizona.edu/cubesat/cubesat_papers/gspaper.pdf
- CubeSat-to-Ground communication and mobile modular ground: http://www.spacegrant.hawaii.edu/reports/16_SUM06-FA06/Ichikawa_Dylan_FA06.pdf
- Distributed Ground Station Network for CubeSat Community: http://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/25151/Leffke_ZJ_T_2014.pdf
NORAD ID: USSPACECOM object number assigned to all Earth orbiting satellites in order of identification.
Two-line Element: a data format used to convey sets of orbital elements that describe the orbits of Earth-orbiting satellites. A computer program called a model can use the TLE to compute the position of a satellite at a particular time.
The following projects are solving this challenge:
You are welCOMe! (Distributed Ground Station Network)
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Global Sensor Network
With a RTL-SDR dongle costing no more than a 10 dollars or less one can receive live satellite data but only when the satellite is visible to you. The same concept of sharing that data globally (like http://flightradar24.com does with data coming from airplanes), it should be possible redistribut... Visit Project
Check the attachment Visit Project
One of the most amazing events in contemporary history was the launch of the first human-made satellite, the Sputnik-1. Early satellite radio amateurs could remember and identify the characteristic sound it made. Nowadays we live in a world where satellites are an everyday commodity, there are t... Visit Project
C.O.G.S Project - CubeSat Open-Source Ground Station Project
C.O.G.S. aims to develop a UHF antenna platform designed to search for, lock on to, and collect CubeSat signals through an affordable X,Y axis (pan and tilt) system allowing for precise line-of-site signal reception of passing overhead CubeSats. Secondly, the signals will be collected using cheap... Visit Project
SatNOGS - Satellite Networked Open Ground Station SatNOGS project is a complete platform of an Open Source Networked Ground Station. The scope of the project is to create a full stack of open technologies based on open standards , and the construction of a full ground station as a showcase of... Visit Project
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