Session

Pre-Conference: CubeSat Developers' Workshop

SSC13-WK-7.pdf (882 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The Wallops 18-Meter diameter UHF-Band and the Morehead State 21-Meter diameter current S-band and future X-Band and UHF-Band CubeSat Groundstations answer a growing need for high data rate from CubeSats over government licensed frequencies. About ten years ago, when CubeSats began, they were nothing more than simple science experiments, typically consisting of a camera and a low data rate radio. The success and wide community support for the National Science Foundation (NSF) CubeSat Program combined with the increasing number of NASA proposals that utilize CubeSats, and other large government organizations that have started funding CubeSats, demonstrates the maturation of the CubeSat platform. The natural gain provided by the large diameter UHF-, X- and S-Band Groundstations enables high data rates (e.g. 1.5 Mbit, 150 times the typical 9.6 Kbit for CubeSats over UHF). Government funded CubeSats using amateur radio frequencies violate the intent of the amateur radio service and it is a violation of National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) rules for a government funded ground station to use amateur radio frequencies to communicate with CubeSats. The NSF has led the charge in finding a suitable government frequency band for CubeSats. Although amateur frequency licensing is really easy and fast to obtain, it limits downlink data rate capability due to narrow spectrum bandwidth allocation. In addition to limited bandwidth allocation, using unencrypted and published downlink telemetry data, easily accessible by any receiver, has not satisfied the needs of universities, industry and government agencies. After completing a decade mainly operating at the amateur radio frequency and using inexpensive but unreliable amateur commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) space and ground hardware, the CubeSat community is looking for different CubeSat and ground system communication solutions to support their current and future needs.

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Aug 10th, 10:05 AM

CubeSat Communication Direction and Capabilities at Morehead State University and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Facility

The Wallops 18-Meter diameter UHF-Band and the Morehead State 21-Meter diameter current S-band and future X-Band and UHF-Band CubeSat Groundstations answer a growing need for high data rate from CubeSats over government licensed frequencies. About ten years ago, when CubeSats began, they were nothing more than simple science experiments, typically consisting of a camera and a low data rate radio. The success and wide community support for the National Science Foundation (NSF) CubeSat Program combined with the increasing number of NASA proposals that utilize CubeSats, and other large government organizations that have started funding CubeSats, demonstrates the maturation of the CubeSat platform. The natural gain provided by the large diameter UHF-, X- and S-Band Groundstations enables high data rates (e.g. 1.5 Mbit, 150 times the typical 9.6 Kbit for CubeSats over UHF). Government funded CubeSats using amateur radio frequencies violate the intent of the amateur radio service and it is a violation of National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) rules for a government funded ground station to use amateur radio frequencies to communicate with CubeSats. The NSF has led the charge in finding a suitable government frequency band for CubeSats. Although amateur frequency licensing is really easy and fast to obtain, it limits downlink data rate capability due to narrow spectrum bandwidth allocation. In addition to limited bandwidth allocation, using unencrypted and published downlink telemetry data, easily accessible by any receiver, has not satisfied the needs of universities, industry and government agencies. After completing a decade mainly operating at the amateur radio frequency and using inexpensive but unreliable amateur commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) space and ground hardware, the CubeSat community is looking for different CubeSat and ground system communication solutions to support their current and future needs.