This week a story from Trondheim Norway. We love this story because it shows the fabulous co-operative nature of the SatNOGS community. Established in 1923 Akademisk Radioklubb is the oldest amateur radio group in Norway. The group has been using the LA1NGS SatNOGS station to schedule observations. Owned by NTNU Small Satellite Lab and Orbit NTNU they noticed that the rotator on LA1NGS had stopped working. Keen to help members of the Akademisk Radioklubb reached out and helped them replace the worn Yaesu G-5500 rotor with a new SPID SPX-02 . As reward they were given the G-5500 which they hope to refurbish and build their own station. More detail and lots of pictures on the Akademisk Radioklub blog.
That’s right! Over 300 stations are now supplying data to the SatNOGS database. This group comprises of the ground stations on the SatNOGS network and also those stations that chose to add data manually. Huge thanks to everyone in the community working hard to achieve this. For statistics about the SatNOGS database visit this page.
Dashboard Development Continues
The team have been working hard to refine and redevelop the SatNOGS dashboard project. Major changes have taken place and with that, you may have noticed some satellites and dashboards not currently updating. To help follow progress, there’s a dashboard that shows daily decoded frames per satellite here. To follow updates and discussion on the dashboard project check out this thread on the Libre Space community page.
SatNOGS Demo Display from 35c3
Fabulous community member ar3itrary set up a great SatNOGS demo display at 35c3. A python script rendering the waterfall of the latest SatNOGS observation, to a nice info graphic is set to update every minute as a cron job. The python script is available here.
The SatNOGS dashboard is now live! Decoded telemetry data from SatNOGS db is pulled into a new database built using influxdb, in turn Grafana is then deployed to visualise the data. This tool will be useful for mission monitoring and also for outreach events. Documentation about the dashboard is available here.
GNU Radio Conference 2018 Keynote Uploaded
Videos from last years GNU Radio Convention 2018 (GRcon18) have now been published. Manolis did an excellent job delivering the keynote focusing on SatNOGS, whilst also covering wider aspects of the Libre Space Foundation. Check out the video above.
Over on the SatNOGS section of the Libre Space Foundation Forum there is activity and discussion around the development of an auto scheduling tool for stations. To facilitate the upcoming needs of the auto-scheduler some small updates have been pushed to the Network API and the SatNOGS database . Follow the progress and discussion on the forum here.
So this week the team migrated the SatNOGS database to its new platform. This operation was crucial and ensures that we have a stable and well scalable database. Whilst the total data held on the database might not be huge, it contains a very large number of files. Overall, the migration went well and downtime was kept to a minimum. We would like to thank the team for their hard work making this a flawless process.
How to Schedule an Observation blogpost
This week a blog appeared with a walk through of screenshots explaining how a ground station owner schedules observations on the SatNOGS network. This aspect of the SatNOGS network is accessible only once someone has a station set up therefore it’s helpful to show people how easy they are to use once they do! Check out the blog here.
ARISS Contact Kenilworth, UK
On the 14th December many SatNOGS stations were able to hear an ARISS contact scheduled between Kenilworth School and Sixth form College and the International Space Station. The scheduled astronaut was Serena Aunon-Chancellor KG5TMT. As usual, you can find the list of successful observations and can listen to them via this post on the Libre Space Community page.
Rocketlab Electron Curie Launch and Hunting Satellites!
This week Rocketlab successfully launched their Electron ELaNA-19 mission succefully and deployed some satellites to orbit. As with every new launch, the SatNOGS team and community have been trying to hunt the satellites. Currently 5 satellites TLE’s and information have been made available and one satellite has been heard! Additionally, track the development of this over at this post on the Libre Space community page.
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!