Session

Poster Session 2

Abstract

Precise orbit knowledge is crucial for many satellites and their missions. While GPS is capable of providing the accuracy required by nearly all small satellite missions, many CubeSats forgo the use of GPS modules due to various constraints. Because of this, CubeSats often make use of Two Line Elements sets (TLEs) provided by the Joint Space Operations Center. However due to the potential for infrequent updates, and the possibility of “cross-tagging”, the use of TLEs presents issues for many CubeSat missions. A low cost (<$50) method of obtaining range measurements using a satellite’s communications radio is presented. The ranging precision is found to be 0.1552 km under strong signal conditions and .3038 km under realistic worst case conditions. These results were then incorporated into an orbital simulation to test TLE identification and orbit determination. It is demonstrated via simulation that these range estimates can be used to reliably identify the correct TLE in the case where TLEs may be mismatched or “cross-tagged” after initial deployment using only the satellite’s existing radio hardware. The proposed communications radio and ping measurement design are open source, and the complete source code , hardware design, and supporting documentation can be found at https://github.com/UBNanosatLab

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Aug 6th, 9:45 AM

An Open Source Radio for Low Cost Small Satellite Ranging

Precise orbit knowledge is crucial for many satellites and their missions. While GPS is capable of providing the accuracy required by nearly all small satellite missions, many CubeSats forgo the use of GPS modules due to various constraints. Because of this, CubeSats often make use of Two Line Elements sets (TLEs) provided by the Joint Space Operations Center. However due to the potential for infrequent updates, and the possibility of “cross-tagging”, the use of TLEs presents issues for many CubeSat missions. A low cost (<$50) method of obtaining range measurements using a satellite’s communications radio is presented. The ranging precision is found to be 0.1552 km under strong signal conditions and .3038 km under realistic worst case conditions. These results were then incorporated into an orbital simulation to test TLE identification and orbit determination. It is demonstrated via simulation that these range estimates can be used to reliably identify the correct TLE in the case where TLEs may be mismatched or “cross-tagged” after initial deployment using only the satellite’s existing radio hardware. The proposed communications radio and ping measurement design are open source, and the complete source code , hardware design, and supporting documentation can be found at https://github.com/UBNanosatLab