Mobility

Exploiting Commercial Cellular Networks for Nano-Satellite Communications

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Executive Summary

Nano-satellites are compact, low power, inexpensive, low earth orbit satellites intended for earth sensing research. Ground control and communication with the satellites is key to mission success; however, current ground monitoring infrastructure is ill-suited to nano-satellite implementations. In this paper, the authors consider the feasibility of exploiting commercial cellular communications networks to operate the ground communications segment. This offers several advantages in availability, signal bandwidth, and inexpensive hardware. Issues affecting the practicality of the approach are propagation distances, the space propagation environment, and the signal processing required to compensate for the attenuation, delay, and interference of the radio signals. Solutions in antenna design, signal processing and control are proposed to address the limitations.

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