Mission operations

Surrey Space Centre (SSC) received the ground station from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) in 2008. It was the first of the VHF/UHF reception groundstations to be developed as part of the ESA GENSO Project (Global Educational Network for Satellite Operations) under Prof. Tanya Vladimirova.

The station is now the primary VHF/UHF transmitting and receiving ground station for the STRaND Programme under Dr Chris Bridges. It is also used to support other internal and external missions.

The SSC groundstation is used for undergraduate, postgraduate, and research projects using the equipment, computers and soldering stations. We offer any amateur satellite support where possible! Our current equipment includes:

  • BA antennas - 144 and 430 medium gain circular-polarised yagis
  • BB antennas - 144 and 430 high gain circular-polarised yagi and helical antennas, used on previous SSTL missions
  • LNA - 430-440 MHz SP-7000 LNA preamp and 140 MHz SP-2000 LNA
  • HPA - Discovery-2 VHF 400-1500 W valve amplifier and Gemini-70 UHF 300 W solid-state amplifier
  • Rotator - Yaesu G-5500 controller
  • Radios - ICOM 910H
  • Terminal node controllers - Paccomm Spirit-2, Symek TNC2H & Kantronics 9612+
  • Software defined radio tools - Ettus USRP B210, Fun cube dongle (FCD), DVB dongles
  • Desktop computers - Windows (Orbitron, SDR#) and Linux (gnuradio, custom interfacing and data processing programs)

STRaND-1 Groundstation Communications: ICOM Radio & Spirit-2 TNC

Pre-launch testing with Engineering Model (EM) from Surrey Space Centre (SSC) & Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).

Receiving NASA PhoneSat with gnuradio at Surrey Space Centre

Requires Linux and gnuradio

Many thanks to the SSTL ground segment team and AMSAT-UK for equipment donations and ongoing satellite support in our missions.