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Mobile Satellite Comms. Station

Project details

  • Sponsor: Santa Clara University, NASA Ames RSL Lab
  • Year: 2014
  • Project type: Research Project & Thesis
  • Role: Researcher
  • Download Thesis

Project description

The Mobile Satellite Communications Station was the result of my year-long capstone research project which was directed by Prof. Christopher Kitts and developed alongside Paulo Borges, Andrew Clavijo, Michael Kunis, Alex Mulcahy, and Christopher Sanford.

I worked on the satellite telemetry system, which implemented a novel Software-Defined Radio Approach. Thanks to this feature the station could be repurposed for multiple missions with little to no expense in additional hardware, saving significant costs and allowing its use in both educational and commercial missions.

The 28 ft trailer (pulled by a diesel pickup truck) houses a set of control workstations, racks of communications equipment, and a number of radio antenna, including a 2.4 meter deployable parabolic dish for communicating with NASA spacecraft.  Funded by an internal SCU grant and “wrapped” with a space-themed design, the station was featured at the NASA Ames 75 year anniversary Open House (which had more than 120,000 people) as well as at SCU’s own Grand Reunion Weekend.  Fully operational, the Mobile Mission Control Lab supports NASA small satellite launches and joint educational missions with the RLS Lab.