Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Afghah, Fatemeh

Abstract

The increased usage of CubeSats recently has changed the communication philosophy from long-range point-to-point propagations to a multi-hop network of small orbiting nodes. Separating system tasks into many dispersed satellites can increase system survivability, versatility, configurability, adaptability, and autonomy. Inter-satellite links (ISL) enable the satellites to exchange information and share resources while reducing the traffic load to the ground. Establishment and stability of the ISL are impacted by factors such as the satellite orbit and attitude, antenna configuration, constellation topology, mobility, and link range. Software Defined Radio (SDR) is beginning to be heavily used in small satellite communications for applications such as base stations. A software-defined radio is a software program that does the functionality of a hardware system. The digital signal processing blocks are incorporated into the software giving it more flexibility and modulation. With this, the idea of a remote upgrade from the ground as well as the potential to accommodate new applications and future services without hardware changes is very promising. Realizing this, my idea is to create an inter-satellite link using software defined radio. The advantages of this are higher data rates, modification of operating frequencies, possibility of reaching higher frequency bands for higher throughputs, flexible modulation, demodulation and encoding schemes, and ground modifications. However, there are several challenges in utilizing the software-defined radio to create an inter-satellite link communication for small satellites. In this paper, we designed and implemented a multi-user inter-satellite communication network using SDRs, where Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technique is utilized to manage the multiple accesses to shared communication channel among the satellites. This model can be easily reconfigured to support any encoding/decoding, modulation, and other signal processing schemes.

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