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.
Having access to an awesome 3D printer is certainly crucial for the SatNOGS project but the SatNOGS hardware is much more than 3D printed parts. To push the development of the ground station forward the core development team decided to acquire an oscilloscope, a programmable power supply and a Vector Network Analyzer
Following our ideal of sharing resources with the community, sharing it with the local hackerspace, we decided to install our instruments to it’s lab and share them with anyone interested.
In the future we plan to include to our instruments among other things a frequency generator and a signal analyzer.
We consider having access to a complete electromechanical lab/workspace is crucial not only for SatNOGS but for any community driven open hardware initiative.
To cover our needs we communicated with AlephObject in order to purchase a LulzBot TAZ4 3D printer. LulzBot didn’t only provided us with a superb open hardware 3D printer as usual but also they donated it to the SatNOGS project!
We are really excited by their offer, and stay true to the spirit of sharing that characterizes our project from the very beginning we decided to share our new 3D printer with the awesome community of the local hackerspace of Athens Greece a physical space dedicated to open hardware and software hacking.
To celebrate the occasion members of our team and the local hackerspace gave a welcoming event, and our 3D printing expert showcased TAZ4 and it’s awesome capabilities. He gave a hands-on introduction in 3D printing in general, TAZ4 and PrintRun (the free -as in freedom- software controlling LulzBot). Members and visitors of the hackerspace had the chance to print their own stuff (from Rocktopus figures to OpenBCI electrodes).
10 days ago we deployed a SatNOGS v2 on top of hackerspace.gr in Athens, Greece. This is the first SatNOGS deployed on the field and we couldn’t help but thinking that this is a huge milestone and brings great pride to the team!
(obviously the front cap is closed at the finished deployment)
The deployment was pretty straightforward, with one UHF helical antenna (our VHF is still up for matching) and no SatNOGS client controlling it (still under development for connection to Network). We simply controlled it with gPredict and Gqrx. POE for powering it up and minimal weather shielding (just some silicone on and around the bolts of the box)
We were able to track and record many different satellite passes and we encountered some software issues with our arduino homing code (see our post on community forum for details) which we hotfixed.
Congratulations to the whole SatNOGS team for the first deployment!