Backyard AstroScience has been given the challenge of creating a CubeSat Tracking Network in Australia.
CubeSats are small satellites (10cm cubed) that are launched along with commercial satellites, or from the International Space Station.
They are often built by schools, or colleges as technology projects, but are now gaining ground in the commercial world as the capabilities of CubeSats improve.
One common challenge for CubeSat project teams is the ability to contact their spacecraft and receive transmissions from it (Downlink).
The goal of our project is to construct a low cost, high performance, automated Ground Station that can be built and managed by schools across Australia. We aim to keep the equipment costs below $500 Australian Dollars (Around $350 USD) and provide kits of parts with detailed build and test instructions.
Now that the prototype design is in place, Swinburne University are helping us with customised 3D printed parts and their Astrophysics group is providing a series of Project Guides to help students make full use of the equipment.