Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



SSC20-X-03 (20 pp.)

Conference Name

34th Annual Small Satellite Conference, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, Virtual, 2020


This paper provides a detailed technical description of a prototype ground station network, the Virginia Ground Station Network (VGSN), developed for the Virginia Cubesat Constellation (VCC) mission. Virginia Tech (VT), University of Virginia (UVA), and Old Dominion University (ODU) have each constructed ground stations to communicate with their respective VCC spacecraft. Initially, each university was responsible for commanding its own spacecraft via its own ground station. As the mission progressed, it was decided to network the ground stations and operations centers together to provide backup communications capability for the overall mission. The NASA Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) UHF smallsat ground station was also included in this network. Implementing the VGSN led to the establishment of successful communications with UVA’s Libertas spacecraft via the VT Ground Station (VTGS), demonstrating the utility of collaboration and of the VGSN. This paper provides a technical overview of the VGSN, details concerning signal processing requirements for the mission, a discussion concerning the radio regulatory process as applied to the VCC mission, and plans for future upgrades of the network to continue to support Virginia (and partner institution) small satellite missions.


© 2020 The Authors

Included with the permission of the authors.

Original Publication Citation

Leffke, Z., Black, J., Shinpaugh, K., Harnett, I., Clegg, B., Angle, N., Goyne, C., Segal, C., LaCour, W. T., McPherson, M., Popescu, D., Jensen, S., Harris, J., Sandy, M., & Miller, M. 2020. "A Prototype Virginia Ground Station Network," Proceedings of the Small Satellite Conference, Technical Session X: Ground Systems, SSC20-X-03.