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How to create a satellite?

Posted by: jubjub2398 - Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:23 pm
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How to create a satellite? 
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Post How to create a satellite?   Posted on: Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:23 pm
Just to preface, I have done extensive research on Google and have found nothing that satisfies me. I'm also relatively new to space exploration.

My question is, "How would one create and control a satellite in orbit?"

I understand the basic answer is most likely radio to control the satellite, but how specifically would one do this? What parts would be needed? Where can I buy them? How would the control actually be communicated? Do I need to code them and then transform them into radio to be re-translated back into code at the satellite? I am just curios about components for it. Any answer would be appreciated and any help gladly accepted. Thank you.


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Post Re: How to create a satellite?   Posted on: Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:57 pm
Okay, assuming you wanted to do a small private spacecraft... The first thing you'll need to do is paperwork. Lots of paperwork. You will need to clear with your government an orbital slot, or at least inform them that you intend to launch a low orbit (~200km), short-life (~2 weeks or so) object. Then you need to apply for a piece of the radio spectrum and license to operate a space based radio transmitter. Then you need to apply for a radio operators license and (usually HAM) frequency and call sign. Any of the above can be disapproved by a multitude of gatekeepers who have no motivation in allowing you use "their" space and airwaves.


Once you've done all that, building your spacecraft radio and ground station is very simple and cheap. The quickest, simpliest, and probably cheapest is to think of it and build it as a long-ranged (and thus pretty slow) wireless LAN. Your ground station can simply be a high gain HAM radio connected via a "modem" to a computer. The satellite will have its own radio transceiver also connected to a "modem" or interpreter to its own flight computer. They talk to each other via regular TCP/IP exchanging data and commands. There are more efficient means, but that requires specialized equipment and programming, and is much more expensive.

Hope that helps some without being to big a splash of cold reality.


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Post Re: How to create a satellite?   Posted on: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:55 am
To begin with, you must determine how you are going to accelerate your satellite to orbital velocity, which is somewhere around 7 kilometers per second. Once you have chosen a launch vehicle, you need to find a place to launch it. Somewhere close to the equator is good, as it adds a few hundred kph to your launch vehicle. The higher in altitude you can get, the easier it is to launch, because your vehicle has less atmosphere to fight through. Picking an orbit is important, because some already have a lot of stuff in them. Also, the higher the orbit, the more change in velocity (delta v, in technish) you have to achieve, which means a bigger launch vehicle.

Communicating with your satellite is difficult, because, unless you know exactly where it is, you will waste a lot of power spraying your signal all over the place trying to reach it. And, you have to have ground stations all around the world, tied together by wire, or fiber, to ensure your satellite will always be in communication. Your satellite will probably not carry a very powerful radio, so you will need a pretty good sized dish antenna to collect as much signal as possible, and the dish must be able to follow the satellite as it crosses the sky.

Commands to the satellite can be in the form of tones, binary code, or pulses, but the satellite must know when to listen to commands, and be synchronized with the ground station so as to be able to interpret the commands properly. Establishing the chain of ground stations has proven to be much more challenging than getting the satellite into orbit for just about everyone who has tried it.

Oh, and you might want to find an island you can buy to establish your own nation so that you can ignore all the international treaties regarding launching rockets, putting things in orbit, and avoiding other nations stuff in orbit. But check with the Chinese, they might be willing to put your bird up for cheap.

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Post Re: How to create a satellite?   Posted on: Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:55 pm
halman wrote:

Communicating with your satellite is difficult, because, unless you know exactly where it is...


Not really. Who ever launches his satellite will (should) know the end orbit it was placed in. If he launched his own sat. then... he should know where he put it (its in the maths).

So that's a start. If the sat made it to orbit and is functional it will be producing a beacon signal that you can listen for in the vicinity of the appropriate declination. That will pin down an accurate orbit and period. Then you can just wait for it to come around each time and you can talk with it from horizon to horizon.

A global network of ground stations is nice to have (and very expensive), but not really necessary. If you've just HAVE to have constant contact with it, it would be easier and cheaper to either put an Iridium sat-phone on it and try to make some very expensive calls, or cheaper yet, hook into the world HAM radio operator network and see if they will listen and relay your data for you.

Where their is a will there is a hack. :wink:


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