A Handheld Satellite Ground Station for Receiving Wi-Fi Signals from Space

Qorvo and Crowd Supply recently teamed up to create the Qorvo RF Accelerator – a novel approach that uses the campaign model from the crowd-funding phenomenon combined with mentorship and open hardware to create a design and funding incubator. As part of this program, the Portland State Aerospace Society at Portland State University is building a 2U CubeSat named "OreSat"

Being the first satellite of the US State of Oregon, (thus OreSat - Oregon Small Satellite Project), the cubesat was selected as part of the 2017 NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). It’s a completely open source CubeSat with two primary missions: create a "video from space" via amateur, radio-based STEM outreach to Oregon high schools, and develop a multi-camera system for investigating the global distribution of high altitude Cirrus clouds.

How Does OreSat Work?

The OreSat will use a UHF (436 MHz) transmitter (downlink) and an L band (1.2 GHz) receiver (uplink) radio system. The UHF downlink is in a well used amateur radio band and, like most amateur radio satellites, will beacon every few minutes using Morse Code (CW) and digital transmissions (G3RUH, which is AX.25 over 9600 bps GFSK). The OreSat team expects amateur radio operators around the world to receive and decode these CW transmissions. They also expect that dozens of amateur radio operators all around the world will receive the digital transmissions using the Satellite Open Network Ground Station project (SatNOGS).

Downloading Live Video from Space

OreSat’s primary mission is to phone home and let the operators know it is alive and well in space. After launch – probably from the International Space Station (ISS) – OreSat will deploy its 436.5 MHz Low Gain Radio antenna and then start beaconing to the world that it’s alive. Amateurs around the world will be able to listen in and receive OreSat’s internal status, like battery levels, temperatures, solar array output, etc. OreSat will also listen for commands comming from various SatNOGS ground stations, letting it know that the operators are tracking it and ready for the next mission stage. Using a bunch of hardware, including magnetorquers and a software-defined radio GPS receiver, OreSat will be able to transmit Wi-Fi down to us from 4000 km up in space.

Building Your Own Handheld Ground Station

The OreSat team wants everyone in Oregon to get involved in the OreSat program. According to them, the first step is to assemble and test your ground station kit. Next will be the requirement to submit your location with the team, who then will set you up with an OreSat Pass. When OreSat passes over your exact location, the OreSat team will transmit live video down to you! Using your ground station and a cell phone you can receive live video of your location in Oregon - from space. You'll also get 'access' to OreSat for 10 minutes; like you have your very own satellite!

CubeSats - Small Educational Satellites

Small educational satellites called cubesats have been launched by dozens of universities and countries around the world. As of January 2019 there have been 900 successfully deployed in orbit! But so far Oregon has yet to join the elite club of states that have flown a home-grown cubesat in space.

Click here to learn more about how OreSat uses the LimeSDR technology. OreSat is part of the Qorvo RF Accelerator.

Qorvo RF Accelerator Program

Designers enrolled in the Qorvo RF Accelerator can create and market new products with Qorvo chips – from gathering funding, to manufacturing and shipping a product to real, paying customers – all managed through the Crowd Supply platform. The Qorvo RF Accelerator will continue throughout 2019 and accept 10 projects in total.

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  • Country: United States
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