Pre-DOMIQASOL - Feasibility Study for a Distributed Orbital Measurement Instrument for Quality Assurance of Scientific Operation Space Links
Satellite link quality analysis is a continuously emerging field for the optimization of the data link return from (academic) satellite missions, in particular within global ground station networks. It can provide detailed information about a satellite’s and ground station’s status and can be correlated with environmental influences in order to derive a link quality prediction model. Furthermore, it is of significance for satellite orbit determination, noise level determination, and further topics. Recent scientific investigations proved that link quality can be used for the optimization of satellite missions, but they have also discovered that the current, passive methods for measuring link quality using ground station hardware are exhausted. Although the achievable precision leads to reliable prediction models, their granularity and consequently the precision of the models is limited. In order to be able to open up new research domains and to optimize the current results, a more precise measurement process and instrument are required. The proposed approach is the development or usage of a custom radio on a CubeSat platform for performing measurements in both up- and downlink direction.
The performed feasibility study validates the possibility of performing active, high-precise measurements using a satellite based on the CubeSat platform standard being equipped with a custom UHF radio module. A possible set-up has been presented for performing active measurements with the application of global ground station networks. Furthermore, a detailed requirement and risk analysis has been performed. Several scientific and business applications for the proposed measurement instrument have been identified and described in detail.
The projected measurement instrument can be carried whether as primary or secondary payload on a CubeSat satellite. Possible European academic and industry partners have been identified for both scenarios. Together with professional satellite industry, detailed cost and time schedules have been developed, aiming at the orbit deployment of the instrument in 2011-2012.
University of Applied Sciences, Technikum Wien - Lars Mehnen