A CubeSat Communication System Development for GTO Mission

Ashiqur Rahman, University of Texas at El Paso


Tracking, telemetry and command (TT&C) systems on traditional small satellites have advanced significantly in last few decades. The capabilities, requirements and expectations of the communication system have been increased significantly for the smaller satellites. Small satellites are now performing the tasks near to the bigger satellites which increases the dependency on the communication system in terms of reliability and data management. This thesis paper will focus on development of the communication system of a 1U cube Satellite named Orbital Factory II (OFII). The satellite will be launched into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) onboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. OFII was awarded this launch opportunity for winning first place in ULA's CubeCorps CubeSat design competition. OFII will study additive manufacturing in microgravity. This will be performed by using a small printer which will create a conductive trace between two electrical terminals onboard. OFII's secondary experiment is the Electron-Emitting Film (ELF) and Surface Charge Monitoring (SCM). This experiment will study the feasibility of using ELFs to manage vehicle charge. OFII's last experiment is an experimental S-band patch antenna provided by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. This antenna will go through qualification testing at UTEP before being tested in GTO. Due to the extreme radiation occurred in the Van Allen belts, OFII will test a method of radiation mitigation using a thick-walled Titanium chassis. The nominal mission duration is five days, which will allow for OFII to complete its experiments and downlink data before it succumbs to radiation damage. Data will be downlinked to a network of ground stations via UHF and S-band, with UHF serving as the primary frequency. The telemetry, tracking, and control (TT&C) subsystem of a satellite provides a connection between the satellite itself and the facilities on the ground. The purpose of the TT&C function is to ensure the satellite performs correctly. As part of the spacecraft bus, the TT&C subsystem is required for all satellites regardless of the application. Tracking, telemetry and command system of a nanosatellite which has been designed for GTO mission is a challenging and critical issue. GTO is a Geostationary transfer orbit which is a highly elliptical orbit with an apogee of almost 40000 kilometers from the sea level. The thesis mainly focuses on the analysis that allow us to select the proper transceiver and antenna module. The next section is the ground station proposal which includes different options and features of the ground system that will can receive the OF-II signals. The proposal includes analysis that validates the selection of the components. Finally, the thesis includes the proposed test procedures that can be followed to verify and validate the performance of OF-II communication subsystem.

Subject Area

Industrial engineering

Recommended Citation

Rahman, Ashiqur, "A CubeSat Communication System Development for GTO Mission" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10689182.