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SatNOGS - DIY Satellite Groundstation

Low earth orbit satellite communication is a must when your are building your own satellite. SatNOGS is a DIY ground station network platform that aspires to create a full modular and scalable stack of open technologies based on open standards that will provide interoperability with , and the construction of a full ground station.

Key part of the SatNOGS stack is it’s Global Management Network connecting multiple observers with multiple ground stations, enabling tracking and monitoring of LEO satellites from multiple locations around the world. All data gathered will be publicly accessible trough the network website.

In order to implement this general stack SatNOGS is using four different sub-projects.

SatNOGS Network

A web application running on a server that takes care of discovery of ground stations, registering of users, scheduling and job-detailing of observation as well as data collection and analysis once an observation is done.

The main page features a map with all ground stations, details about a featured ground station and latest completed and scheduled observations.

The timeline view gives a quick overview on the data that each ground station collected within the observation timeframe. On the left you can see the list of the Ground Stations that participated in the observation and on the right you can check the timeblocks each ground station got data.

The data view currently supports observed sound waves and has the ability for playback directly in the browser. A download link is also available so users can further process the data available.

SatNOGS Network also provides an API that matches it’s current DB model and enables other applications or services to query SatNOGS Network for information about Ground Stations, Observations, Data, Transponders or even Satellites.

You can play around with it in the SatNOGS Netwokr dev instance. For now authenticated users of the website are the only ones with POST (write) access, anyone else can view only (GET).

The SatNOGS Network code can be found (follow and contribute too!) here: https://github.com/satnogs/satnogs-network

A live development version of the website with demo data [WARNING ;)] can be found here:https://dev.satnogs.org/

SatNOGS DB , a separate crowd-sourced suggestions app build around transponder data for satellites. The source of truth about transponder data still lives under SatNOGS network (our main observation and scheduling website and SatNOGS DB would expose all these data and enable users around the world to provide suggestions about transponders for satellites.

Furthermore, by solving our data issue, SatNOGS DB provides the world (and especially ham and amateur satellite communities) with an open, accessible, crowd-sourced database for Satellite Transponder data. (yeah open data!)

SatNOGS Client, An embedded system that receives the scheduled operation from Network, records an observation and sends it back.

SatNOGS currently uses an Odroid U3 embedded system with several open source packets to achieve that functionality.

SatNOGS Groundstation

A major part of the SatNOGS network is the groundstation hardware. The scope of the project is to create a showcase groundstation that is easy to manufacture with readily available and affordable materials.

Step by steps instructions to build your own SatNOGS grounstation

are available in it’s dozuki page

, all Designs and 3D printable files can be found

here

and all PCB files for our electronics shields can be found

here.

Some of it’s features…

First and foremost it’s gear assembly is all based on 3d printed parts from scratch and the use of acetone ABS curing, focusing on ease of reproduction and excellent mechanical operation and properties.

PCB to house all electronics (Arduino, and Stepper Drivers)

additional PCB as a PSU for voltage regulation and neater cable management

The stepper code features acceleration and deceleration in movement

and opto-homing support

A diplexer to allow the use of both antennas

An easily constructed tripod that can facilitate the portable use of the SatNOGS grounds

A helical antenna design

And initial research on a radome design for more permanent installations

Since the project is based in modular and open design principles users can user their existing configuration as they consider fitting

About the Author

Eleftherios Kosmas is an open source hobbyist, member of the local

hackerspace or Athens

which SatNOGS started being developed. He is working as a researcher for the Medical School of the University of Athens and his work there has nothing to do with satellites whatsoever.

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