• Design and construction of a low earth orbit satellite ground station

      Darnel, Eric (2000-12)
      This thesis describes the design and construction of a satellite ground station constructed in support of the Citizen Explorer Program. The University of Alaska Fairbanks was chosen to participate in this program due to its latitude that gives it excellent access to polar-orbiting satellites. The advantage that higher latitudes have in accessing low earth orbiting satellites is examined. It is demonstrated that Fairbanks, Alaska, has roughly twice the access to polar orbiting satellites than the mid-latitudes of the contiguous US. Link budgets for the communication system were developed, which led to the construction of helical antennas to communicate with the satellite. Data are presented that demonstrate the antennas, as well as the rest of the satellite tracking system, functioned acceptably. The satellite ground station will provide internet access to the spacecraft. The procedure used to test this approach and its results are given, as well as recommendations for future work.