tech track papers

Categories: 2018, Technology Test Updates

Optimized Ground Solutions to Support Unique Small Satellite Communication Requirements

Many considerations go into providing reliable communications to small satellites. This paper will explore how SSC is optimizing its existing global ground station network to support the unique requirements of small satellites, including the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) constellation of 8 microsatellites. SSC has provided the ground network for CYGNSS TT&C operations since the launch of the spacecraft late 2016. SSC and its customers focus on four key areas to provide superior service: availability, redundancy, performance and scheduling.

1) Availability – Strategically placed ground stations decreases the delivery time to receive critical data

2) Redundancy – Multiple antennas allow for flexibility and ensure availability of service in the case of rescheduled or late scheduled passes based on new data requirements.

3) Performance – SSC has developed in-house software to implement a dynamic uplink that adjusts the power level for the duration of a pass in order to adapt to a small satellite’s communications radio.

4) Scheduling – Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the operator of the constellation, has incorporated SSC’s scheduling data into its systems which reduces scheduling time as passes are scheduled based on availability. SSC is in the process of further automating its systems to enable its customers to schedule passes through a secure web based portal.

SSC can easily replicate the above model for the full range of small satellite communication requirements. Each spacecraft platform may have its own unique characteristics that require updates to SSC’s service provisioning. Small satellite missions can leverage SSC’s in-house expertise and existing global infrastructure in order to maximize their mission performance.


Author: Jennifer Blasko
Topic: Technology Test Updates

  • Paper: Optimized Ground Solutions to Support Unique Small Satellite Communication Requirements

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