Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical & Computer Engineering

Committee Director

Dimitre C. Popescu

Committee Member

Lee A. Belfore

Committee Member

Robert Ash


Nano satellites are becoming more and more popular space platforms due to their relatively low cost. Constellations of many of these small satellites are being launched for scientific and research purposes. This thesis has examined implementing a communications system for small satellites that can be used to maintain constant contact with satellites as they orbit the Earth. It analyzes the various components of a small satellite and how they integrate. It then discusses the different abstraction layers that will be required in order to support the same software architecture across various types of hardware. An orbital analysis was performed to define the requirements for acquisition and loss of signal. Due to the ever increasing threat from space debris, a simulation using a high performance computing system to determine satellite threats was conducted. The thesis concludes with a communications analysis followed by a case study.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).