Feasibility study of a CubeSat mission for advanced telemetry, communications and signal monitoring

Short Description

Since the first launch in 2003 Pico- and Nanosatellites have matured from pure educational projects to valuable, low-cost and fast-track in-orbit demonstrators of new technology. Industry, space agencies and research institutions are embracing now this technology. In November 2013 alone more than 50 CubeSats were launched within a few days.

For professional operational missions advanced miniaturized telecommunications subsystems serving as TT&C modules on the bus and/or bent-pipe or regenerative transponders are urgently needed.

Radio signal monitoring from space has gained considerable importance. This allows identifying, analysing, and localisingto identify, analyse and localize wanted or unwanted signals from ground and space. An important application is the localisation and detection of interference which has become a severe problem in several frequency bands, impairing both space and terrestrial services.


The goal by TU Graz and Siemens Convergence Creators is the joint development of concepts and designs for innovative, low cost and low mass subsystems based on Software Defined Radio (SDR) platforms. In a follow-up activity, a CubeSat demonstrator shall be used for in-orbit validation of the payloads (bent pipe or regenerative transponder, radio signal monitor) and of the satellite bus TT&C subsystem.

Once the systems have been operationally validated, they shall be commercialized for other Cube- or small satellite missions. Applications of the transponders are in the area of low-cost provision of telecommunication services in regions with inadequate infrastructure as well as small Earth observation missions. The approach is to perform literature search, conduct analyses, define architectures and preliminary high-level designs and assess the commercial and technical viability.

Expected Results

Expected results are high-level designs for telecom transponders for S-, X-, or Ka-band, radio signal monitor platforms, TT&C subsystems and a first assessment of the configuration of a CubeSat/nanosat.

The results of this study shall be used in a potential follow-up Phase A/BC/D activity for an in-orbit demonstration mission. The decade-long expertise of Siemens CVC in commercial space products and of TU Graz in nanosatellites and advanced telecom systems shall be combined.

The proposed activity shall help Siemens CVC and TU Graz to improve their economic and competitive position by developing innovative technologies and products and bring them in a leading position in the fast growing small satellite market.

In a second step, this innovative technology for "SW Defined Transponders" shall help Siemens to enter also the market of TT&C subsystems (Bus) and transponders (Payloads) for standard Telecom and Earth Observation satellites.

Project Partners


Technische Universität Graz

Project partner

Atos Convergence Creators GmbH

Contact Address

TU Graz
Graz University of Technology
Rechbauerstraße 12
A-8010 GRAZ
Web: www.tugraz.at