Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Jacob Gunther

Second Advisor

V. Dean Adams

Abstract

Cube satellites, or CubeSats, are small satellites designed around a base unit cube of 10 cm by 10 cm by 10 cm which is commonly referred to as a one unit, or 1 U, CubeSat. The modular architecture of CubeSats allows multiple 1 U frames to be stacked together to form a larger (1.5U, 2U, usually up to 6U) frame as needed. Because CubeSats are cheaper to develop and deploy in orbit than larger satellites, they have become increasingly common for academic, amateur, commercial, and scientific applications over the past five to ten years. There is potential that CubeSats will be deployed in swarms and clusters in the near future to perform more complex missions. With this potential, there is a need for communication between satellites in these missions.

The purpose of this project is to design and demonstrate a proof-of-concept for a Software Defined Radio (SDR) for communication between CubeSats. The first phase design has focused on two main components: electrical and software design of the radio, and the mechanical packaging that will encase the radio chip-set and mount within the satellite. The electrical and software design completed this year resulted in the development of HDL code for phase recovery, timing recovery, and error correction. The mechanical design completed this year produced a prototype packaging for the future SDR chipset and custom PCB board. The design process and results of this project are detailed in this report.

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