Frequently Asked Questions

What SatNOGS is in a nutshell

SatNOGS is a Satellite Networked Open Ground Station. It’s a network of satellite ground stations focused on observing and receiving the signal of satellites, particularly low earth orbit (LEO) cubesats.

How this project started

SatNOGS started in mid-April 2014, during the NASA Space App Challenge hackathon in hackerspace.gr based in Athens, Greece. Following that initial work the SatNOGS team participated in the 1st iteration of the Hackaday Prize and won the 1st place which gave us a great boost (both in terms of resources and community) to start Libre Space Foundation

How much does it cost?

We estimate that our third version (v3) of the design can cost from 300 USD to 500 USD. It is important to keep in mind that existing ground stations already used by ham operators can be used with the SatNOGS Network for a fraction of the cost.

What SatNOGS can accomplish?

Initially SatNOGS is focused on retrieving signals from LEO satellites in UHF and VHF bands.
SatNOGS is able to retrieve status and telemetry signals, data from payloads (experiments) from scientific and research satellites (p.e. magnetospheric experiments), weather data etc.

Does the International Space Station constitute a LEO satellite?

Yes, it sure does.

What part of the SatNOGS stack is open hardware.

We are focused on the mechanical rotator, and diplexer, low noise amplifier, antennas and PCBs.

Where are all these available

We designed SatNOGS to be built using readily available materials and access to basic tools and machinery using 3D printers and CNC as provided by average hackerspaces. We don’t currently provide a kit solution, but we are actively exploring ways to provide a kit in the future. But don’t hesitate to check out our documentation for more info,

Weather conditions

UHF and VHF signals are not affected by weather conditions. The rotator is weatherproof, and we are also designing a Radome to protect it from extreme weather.

Does SatNOGS rotator need a broadband connection?

If you are willing to connect your rotator to the SatNOGS network it is recommend to have access to an ADSL or a 3G data connection, for uploading the data back to the network.

I have a commercial rotator, can I connect it with the SatNOGS network?

Sure, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

How scheduling is done when there are two request for the same ground station?

First come first served, but we explore functionality for special requests that allows for overriding this

What languages/software packets are you using?

Arduino, Debian as the operating system, the SatNOGS client is mostly python, SatNOGS Network is in also in python utilising the Django framework

What embedded machines are you using for SatNOGS Client

Raspberry Pi3 is our reference design, Beaglebone Black, Odroid C1 and Odroid C3 are tested and there are a lot of dev boards out there that should work!

Arduino? What board?

We use Arduino Micro for our rotator controller, but feel free to use your own board.

How about power?

We use PoE and voltage regulators, but we use batteries to drive operation for mobile deployments.

How many ground stations are on the network?

Currently there are more than 60 ground stations on the production environment, and many more on the development environment.