2016.B.4.2. CubeSat C-band transmitter for interplanetary missions


Jaanus Kalde (1)

  1. Crystalspace, Estonia




communication, c-band, transmitter


One of the biggest challanges in interplanetary CubeSat travel is communication. Available communication systems designed for low Earth orbit have too low output power for interplanetary use. Communication between ground station and satellite during interplanetary missions requires more transmitting power than currently available nanosatellite systems have. In the same time communication system has to be powwer effective to fit into limited nanosatellite power budget. NASA has test missions like MarCO, but there is no systems available on the market that could provide such performance.

To enable future moon and interplanetary missions Tartu Observatory has been developing a low power C band transmitter. Our solution should provide downlink bitrate 22 kb/s from the Moon to a 32 m parabolic antenna with 7 W of power consumption. Proposed communication system uses narrow band phase shift keying modulation for noise immunity. It is made out of commercial off the shelf components and is optimized for efficiency. This communication system is mainly developed for next ESTCube missions that are planned to go further than low Earth orbit.

We will present system overview and tests carried out on the prototypes.


  • Download slides in PDF format here (1MB)

%d bloggers like this: