Mount controller for satellite tracking

Libre Space Foundation (LSF) has demonstrated, with the SatNOGS ground station, that lowering the entry barriers for third parties to participate with their own ground station increases the scale-effect and proliferation of technologies in a field, allowing network type of system architectures with distributed diverse ground segments to emerge. This sub-activity will evaluate the feasibility of developing an electronics motor controller for amateur/prosumer astronomy mounts in order to be used for satellite tracking in optical communications. The end goal is to lower the access barriers to this community in a similar way to what SatNOGS has achieved in the radio communications one. This way, the innovation of this sub-activity will be to enable low-cost mount transformation into optical communication and optical tracking capable mounts. All the deliverables will have Open Source and Copyleft licenses. These deliverables will
Reference design guide
Results reports

Aristarchos telescope upgrade activities

The Helmos Observatory belongs to the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and hosts the Aristarchos optical telescope, which was designed and manufactured by the German company Carl Zeiss GmbH. It has a 2.3 m diameter aperture and a focal length of 17.8 m. The large aperture combined with excellent atmospheric seeing conditions of the site, makes Aristarchos a valuable asset for optical communications and quantum key distribution (QKD) and especially suited for lunar, Lagrange orbit and deep space communications. Synopsis: Within the framework of this subactivity NOA assisted ESA in the installation and operation of optical communication equipment at the Aristarchos telescope. The set of equipment delivered by ESA has now been assembled at Helmos and the different components attached to the telescope. Preliminary tests have also been performed. Final Report [PDF]

COTS SiPM Detector

The main goal of this sub-activity is to assess the fitness of a Consumer/Off-The-Shelf (COTS) light detector for the application in high-speed digital optical communication, especially LEO-to-ground and ground-to-LEO. Synopsis: Onsemi silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) sensors, also known as multi-pixel photon counter (MPPC) devices, can indeed lend themselves very well as suitable choice for a low-cost consumer/off-the-shelf laser downlink receiver. They provide both the photo-sensitivity in the few-nanowatt range and the tem- poral response in the few-nanosecond range, necessary to receive currently deployed laser downlinks in the visible and near-IR spectral range from LEO at speeds of up to a 100 Mbps and possibly beyond. Final Report [PDF]

SatNOGS-Optical stations

This sub-activity has as its main objective to create a proof of concept network of optical SSA ground stations with a reference setup to evaluate the open source technology behind them based on existing and to-be developed open source projects.

Dark Sky Quality Sensor

The manufacturing of a Dark Sky Quality Sensor unit  from a blueprint design, to a working prototype and to the final production device. This covers all detailed work that has to be done from mechanical, electronic design, firmware development, testing of the device in real weather conditions for about a month and finally sourcing of required components (electronics and mechanical) to assemble the final unit(s). Last but not least, this covers the quality check (QC) of all components and the sensor calibration of each unit prior to delivery /shipping.