LinkSat Satellite

Name LinkSat (BRIAN)
Form factor CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status not launched, expected in 2024
Launcher Falcon 9, (ELaNa 37)
Organization University at Buffalo (UB)
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Headquarters US
Partners NASA

Measure the orbital radio frequency noise environment across commonly used nano-satellite frequency bands.


Measure the orbital radio frequency noise environment across commonly used nano-satellite frequency bands. It aims to create a numerical model of the noise environment capturing geographic variation, time-of-day variation, and statistical properties that will be used to predict the performance of small satellite communication systems. The amount of RF noise in space has dramatically increased. The new noise levels can have a negative impact on satellite communication systems. By carefully measuring what the noise levels are, we can understand how to build more efficient communications systems which can deal with the new noise environment.

It was developed and is managed primarily by a team of undergraduate student volunteers. It has introduced students to spacecraft design and space communication systems, and will build a foundation for future student run satellite projects at this institution. In addition to its educational role in satellite development, its primary missions will be fulfilling two objectives in support of the amateur community.

The first objective is a spectrum monitoring operation that will measure the RF noise on frequencies of interest to the amateur satellite community. As the proliferation of wireless devices continues, the on-orbit noise environment will continue to evolve and so such measurements will be critical to developing future amateur satellite communication systems.

The second objective is a repeater demonstrating the use of Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology, allowing amateurs the ability to interact directly with the satellite. Proposing a UHF telemetry downlink using 10 kbps GFSK default and a variable rate of up to 50 kbps, along with a VHF repeater downlink using FM voice, SSTV, or a linear transponder using a 2.4 GHz uplink. While the ITU provides radio noise estimates for terrestrial operation, we are unaware of any such public documentation of the conditions in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

LinkSat carries a spectrum monitoring payload that will observe the radio noise environment in LEO and report that data to the broader amatuer community. As our payload is a software defined radio, LinkSat will further demonstrate the power and flexibility of this technology by operating an amatuer repeater capable of carrying FM voice, SSTV, and a variety of digital modes. Amateurs around the globe will be able to participate by receiving noise information for their area directly from the satellite, accessing the published data collected over the entire orbit, and operating using the onboard repeater. 

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Photo sources [1]

Last modified: 2024-05-29

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