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Wednesday, February 3 • 10:15 - 10:35
Development of Nanosatellite Communications System with Software Defined Radios

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Communications systems designed with Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology suffer from one very significant disadvantage - the integrated circuits do not possess the ability of programmability. However, Software Defined Radio’s (SDR’s) integrated with Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) allow updates to the communication system on nanosatellites, which are physically difficult to access, due to their capability of performing signal processing in software. SDR signal processing is performed in software on reprogrammable elements such as FPGA’s. Utilizing FPGA technology on nanosatellite communications systems will optimize the operations of the hardware by allowing changes, and increase the flexibility of the system with the reprogrammable hardware.

The focus of the research examined the feasibility of utilizing software defined radio design for nanosatellite communications system as a cost effective and flexible alternative. For the aforementioned goal, the research will specifically focus on designing a software implementation for the SDR based nanosatellite communications system which will be able to perform signal processing. The frequency bands targeted for nanosatellite communication systems are UHF-VHF and the S-Bands. The software implementations should include modulation/demodulation, encoder/decoder, frequency translation and protocols. The design is required to be implemented on a hardware development platform which is commercial off the shelf, meets the nanosatellite budget constraints and can be enhanced for nanosatellites. The software transceiver algorithm is an incremental contribution towards the development of SDR for nanosatellite communication system using open source hardware and software. Oliveri(2011) developed an agile SDR hardware platform which fits on a 1U CubeSat. The target of the research is to take a step further on the software development aspect.

As outlined in the objectives, a software algorithm targeting the UHF frequency band has been developed, which uses a singular modulation scheme Binary Frequency Shift Keying (BFSK) and is developed using Simulink, which is an effective tool for development of SDR systems. It was implemented in simulation with USRP N210, which can be enhanced to fit on nanosatellite systems as done by Oliveri(2011). The initial results verified the transmission and reception of error free data in simulation and minimal errors with the hardware. The next step includes the encoding/decoding along with the protocols. A separate modulation scheme is also proposed for S-Band frequency. The implementation will result in a software transceiver algorithm for an S-band receiver/transmitter.

avatar for Carlos Lange

Carlos Lange

Associate Professor, University of Alberta
Computational Fluid Dynamics, Planetary Atmospheres, CubeSats

avatar for Natasha Gadkari

Natasha Gadkari

Student, Research Associate, York University
I am interested in Nanosatellite technologies with primary focus on communications. I am also interested in Ground systems and ACS.

Wednesday February 3, 2016 10:15 - 10:35
Provence Room 45 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1W2

Attendees (7)