Testing and validation of an X-band receiving station for satellite tracking

Space Situational Awareness (SSA) is an activity ensuring the monitoring of space activities in order to have a common operational picture of space. One of the tools for this are ground stations with antennas able to track the changes in frequency of the satellite radio emissions. While the satellite orbits in the sky, the signals goes through a Doppler shift and can be monitored. Thanks to this trace, the orbital parameters of the satellites can be determined. Depending on the frequency on which the satellites emit their signals, different ground antennas have to be used.


With the ongoing development of a highly accurate X-Y Antenna Pointing Mechanism (APM) at the EPFL, it is of interest to implement state-of-the-art tracking algorithms for LEO satellites operating in X-band. This includes to:
• Study the state-of-the-art as well as making a trade-off
analysis for a receiving front-end (X-band)
• Test and validate the hardware
• Develop a «locking» control algorithm to follow the position of satellite from highest SNR of received signal (i.e not only based on prior TLE data)

Required skills

For the good realization of the project, it is recommended that the student have:
• Understanding in RF and signal processing
• Programming skills in Java or python
• General understanding of the orbital dynamics
• Ability to appraise and adapt the project to fulfill the needs of the Space Domain
• A sense of responsibility to provide the work quality to be used for everyday applications

Place of work

The student will have the opportunity to work in a stimulating environment with other students in different locations (Lausanne, Bern, Zurich) in Switzerland depending on the needs of the projects.