This week the Dwingelooradio Observatory tested their 25 meter dish as a SatNOGS station! Although not set up as a permanent SatNOGS station it is great to see this historic observatory linked to the network. Dwingeloo radio observatory was built between 1954 and 1956 near the village of Dwingeloo in the Netherlands. Since 2009 this single 25 meter dish has been a national heritage site.
New Station on Crete
Also this week, To Labaki Hackspace and the University of Crete have joined forces and have set up a SatNOGS station in Crete. With some support from the Libre Space Foundation, we welcome them to the network!
Weekly Meetings Re-established
This week we resumed the SatNOGS weekly update meeting on the IRC channel. There was a lot of activity and discussion with a large group of attendees. The meetings are planned for Thursdays at 18:00 UTCon the #satnogs channel @FreeNode IRC network which is also available via riot.im. Keep an eye on the SatNOGS section of the Libre Space Foundation forum for agenda details. It will routinely include news, updates, status of projects and discussion of outstanding issues.
As ever, it’s inspiring to see everyone working hard not just on these stations and meetings, but all over the network. Keeping us on track and helping us democratise space the libre way.
SatNOGS is maintained by the Libre Space Foundation, a non-profit built to develop and promote open source space technologies and open access to space-related data. The passion we have for space and open source is what drives us, and we are proud of the community that has been built around SatNOGS. Over the past four years of development, the SatNOGS community has grown to more than 100 ground stations around the world with more than 2000 satellite observations per day.
On November 27th, Amazon announced the AWS Ground Station service. Like othercompanies who are currently operating ground stations as a service, this will allow satellite operators to receive their data using proprietary and closed-source technologies. The SatNOGS community is focused on building a ground station network that provides downlinked satellite data to researchers and operators worldwide, in an open way and free of charge. As we have for four years, SatNOGS will continue to serve organizations and missions that value the openness of science and data.
With Amazon and other companies entering this space, our vision for SatNOGS remains the same: to advance open technologies and open data for space by creating the best and largest open source satellite ground station network.
SatNOGS-Client development team member Vasillis, using PiGen and Gitlab CI, created a SatNOGS Client Raspbian image to use with your Raspberry Pi 3 for your SatNOGS ground-station. To install and setup the image you can follow the Raspbian sector in the Raspberry Pi 3 SatNOGS wiki page. Following the instructions will get you to the SatNOGS Client configuration screen, from there you can add your ground-station’s details via the basic setup.
If you already created a ground-station in the SatNOGS Network website (or it’s stage environment) you should provide the relevant data for your Raspberry Pi and soon you will see your ground-station on-line.
If you haven’t created a ground-station in the SatNOGS Network yet, you can create an account in the SatNOGS Network stage environment, and create a new ground station (Note: as soon as you are satisfied with your ground-station’s performance you will be able to migrate to the production instance of the SatNOGS Network).
If you don’t have a ground-station you can either start building a SatNOGS Rotator, buy a commercial rotator using a commercial controller or even our ardushield, or simply use a no-rotator setup using a turnstile antenna, an LNA, an RTL-SDR, and your RaspberryPi 3 which is ideal as an introduction to SatNOGS and satellite hunting!
Since SatNOGS is not only a set of open source technologies but also a community effort don’t hesitate to reach out to the community, and our active channels IRC #satnogs at the Freenode server or the SatNOGS Matrix channel reachable by riot.im (both channels are bridged and riot keeps an archive of previous messages).
SatNOGS community has been busy over the last couple of months, with many exciting updates on projects to share with you!
First and foremost, the 3.1 version of the SatNOGS rotator is soon to be finalized. If you are already working with a v3 keep in mind that upgrading to 3.1 is pretty straightforward, on the meantime feel free to share your build progress or finished ground stations with our community We got have some stickers to send to SatNOGS ground station operators. We really hope that lot’s of people get to install their own v3.1 rotator and hook up to the SatNOGS network, and we are working on a way to get the v3.1 rotator design to as many people as possible.
Our crowd-sourced satellite database, SatNOGS DB, is expanding and will soon be powering Csete’s gpredict through it’s API. In the meantime we deployed new functionality that allows SatNOGS DB to visualize telemetry data captured using the SatNOGS Network of ground stations.
We really appreciate people participating in the SatNOGS project, either in our community website, our IRC/Matrix chatroom, the SatNOGS Wiki, populating the SatNOGS database and our source code repositories but we also enjoy meeting people interested in SatNOGS in person.
Last week on Linux.conf.au taking place in Hobart,Australia, Scott Bragg’s gave a great talk titled “Decoding Satellites With SatNOGS“. It was a great overview of the SatNOGS project and the ways you can get involved.
Since most of the core SatNOGS team lives in Europe most of us will attend FOSDEM in Brussels,Belgium this February. There Manolis Surligas is giving a talk “SDR for Space the Open Way” focusing on the Software Defined Radio RF frontend and the GNU Radio module operating it and will be introduced in the coming versions of the SatNOGS client.
Stay tuned for more detailed updates, and as always … keep hunting satellites!
Although quite some time has passed since our last update the SatNOGS team and the community was busy working on it’s software and hardware components allowing modular setups.
A large amount of focus has being the SatNOGS client software. Allowing the user to not only use RTL-SDR based dongles but a far greater variety of SDR solutions using GnuRadio. In conjunction with that SatNOGS client is able to use Amateur Radios that are supported by hamlib (we’ve already tested on Yaesu and Kenwood radios). Such functionality paired with our new ground station hardware design, and further tests on after market designs such us Yaesu Az/El rotator would allow the SatNOGS network to not only receive but transmit data via the network to satellites.
Since a few months now Libre Space Foundation, the organization that assists the development, and operation of the SatNOGS networks is has being working together with the University of Patras on developing and manufacturing the first satellite with most of it’s components based open hardware and using free software, UPSat.
An open hardware and software satellite especially one build by Libre Space Foundation would be a great chance for the SatNOGS network to implement command and control features on it’s SatNOGS client, allowing a fully open Low Earth Orbiting satellite communication stack from earth to orbit and back.
Communications with the satellite are implemented through ECSS Standard Commands as described in ECSS-E-70-41A standard (CCSDS). You can checkout the code of the client on GitHub and the ecss services implemented on the satellite here. There has been a lot of effort to make sure that we implement all needed functionality on the SatNOGS client, while in parallel maintaining modularity and extensibility for future satellites and other protocols.
Do you have a satellite in the works and want to use SatNOGS client as command and control? Let us know and we will be happy to work with you expanding our client!
Early on, while developing SatNOGS, the SatNOGS team encountered the lack of a central and editable database for active satellite transmitters. Such information would be vital not only for SatNOGS operations but also for amateur radio operators interested in satellite telecommunications.
Over the past many years, lots of radio amateurs undertook the challenge by creating personal pages that would keep track of transmitter data, and although there are really fine examples of such efforts (props to PE0SAT, JE9PEL, OZ9AEC, AMSAT-UK and others) those are unfortunately not scalable approaches, that could easily become deprecated and are not easily exported for further usage.
Our solution was to create SatNOGS DB an open satellite transmitter database, that allows everyone to suggest transmitter information of active satellites and collaborate in keeping the database up-to date. SatNOGS DB information is freely and openly (CC-BY-SA) accessible via an API and a web application, to facilitate the needs of satellite radio operators across the globe.
Technically our current implementation is based on the Django Python framework. The code can be found here and we are looking for code contributors as always! Do you have any suggestions on how we can make SatNOGS DB better? File away issues here, so we can make DB better for everyone.
If you are a satellite operator, or an amateur radio enthusiast and would like to make suggestions on populating SatNOGS DB don’t hesitate to check out our FAQ on how to do so.
The more transmitter information we have, the easier it is to communicate with many more satellites. So get those contributions started, and together let’s create the holistic, open and crowd-sourced satellite transmitter database once and for all!
Emilio Martínez is a Spanish Telecommunication Engineering (MSc) student at
University of Granada. He defines himself as an enthusiast of space-related technology and he would like to focus his professional career on the space industry when he finishes his studies.
He is enrolled in an aerospace developing group at University of Granada called GranaSAT. This group isformed by students and professors with the goal of designing and developing a Cubesat mission. Currently, Emilio is developing his master’s thesis about the Communications System of the Granasat Cubesat and the satellite-earth link: designing the Cubesat communication hardware, defining the link budget and improving their ground station capabilities in order to reach a reliable communication.
The SatNOGS team is looking forward for the expertise and know-how Emilio brings to our project.
We welcome all contributors that would like to be involved in the SatNOGS project and we would like to encourage all parties interested in satellite communications to join our community of developers.
Since the conception of the SatNOGS one of our design mantras was modularity, not only we believe that the SatNOGS stack should be able use a wide variety of components but also that components should be able to used in a wide variety of applications.
This Sunday May 1oth 2015 the SatNOGS team had the chance to test how versatile our SatNOGS rotator and control software was by tracking the Aeolus-2way High Altitude Balloon.
Tracking was made possible by receiving APRS data from the Aeolus-2way High Altitude Balloon and converting them using a specialized script as azimuth and elevation coordinates.
The balloon launched from the center of the Peloponisos peninsula of Greece in the city of Megalopolis at Plaka airstrip at around 11:10.
The SatNOGS team was positioned 35 km (~21.7 miles) West – NorthWest of the launch site on the Antenna park near the Ano Dolianna village of Mt Parnon. An inverter was used to power two laptops sever ham radio transceivers and our SatNOGS rotator and provide sufficient power for the team’s needs
The balloon began it’s descent at 34.660 meters and it’s payload was successfully retrieved.
We would like to congratulate and thank all parties involved in this high altitude balloon launch for the great team work and cooperation and especially the Aeolus team for their commitment.
Moving forward we would like to consolidate our communications with the broader community, especially around news for SatNOGS project. For this reason we setup a newsletter to keep everyone interested updated for our latest developments.
ESA’s Summer Of Code In Space (also known as SOCIS) is an open source development program specifically for students run by the European Space Agency Under this program. ESA funds students to write space-related code for open source projects during the northern hemisphere’s summer.