Effective design for today's spacecraft|
ATI's Satellite RF Communications
and Onboard Processing course
Successful systems engineering requires a broad
understanding of the important principles of
modern satellite communications and onboard data
processing. This course covers both theory and
practice, with emphasis on the important system
engineering principles, tradeoffs, and rules of
thumb. The latest technologies are covered,
including those needed for constellations of
This course is recommended for engineers and
scientists interested in acquiring an understanding
of satellite communications, command and
telemetry, onboard computing, and tracking. Each
participant will receive a complete set of notes.
View Course Sampler
Eric Hoffman has degrees in electrical
engineering and over 40 years of spacecraft
experience. He has designed spaceborne
communications and navigation
equipment and performed systems
engineering on many APL
satellites and communications
systems. He has authored over 60
papers and holds 8 patents in these
fields. Mr. Hoffman recently
retired after 19 years as APL
Space Dept Chief Engineer.
Robert C. Moore worked in the Electronic Systems Group at the APL Space Department from 1965 until his retirement in 2007. He designed embedded microprocessor systems for space applications. Mr. Moore holds four U.S. patents. He teaches the command-telemetry-data processing segment of "Space Systems" at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering.
Contact these instructors (please mention course name in the subject line)
What You Will Learn:
- RF Signal Transmission. Propagation of radio waves, antenna properties and
types, one-way radar range equation. Peculiarities of the space channel. Special
communications orbits. Modulation of RF carriers.
- Noise and Link Budgets. Sources of noise, effects of noise on communications,
system noise temperature. Signal-to-noise ratio, bit error rate, link margin.
Communications link design example.
- Special Topics. Optical communications, error correcting codes, encryption and
authentication. Low-probability-of-intercept communications. Spread-spectrum
and anti-jam techniques.
- Command Systems. Command receivers, decoders, and processors.
Synchronization words, error detection and correction. Command types,
command validation and authentication, delayed commands. Uploading
- Telemetry Systems. Sensors and signal conditioning, signal selection and data
sampling, analog-to-digital conversion. Frame formatting, commutation, data
storage, data compression. Packetizing. Implementing spacecraft autonomy.
- Data Processor Systems. Central processing units, memory types, mass storage,
input/output techniques. Fault tolerance and redundancy, radiation hardness,
single event upsets, CMOS latch-up. Memory error detection and correction.
Reliability and cross-strapping. Very large scale integration. Choosing between
RISC and CISC.
- Reliable Software Design. Specifying the requirements. Levels of criticality.
Design reviews and code walkthroughs. Fault protection and autonomy. Testing
and IV&V. When is testing finished? Configuration management,
documentation. Rules of thumb for schedule and manpower.
- Spacecraft Tracking. Orbital elements. Tracking by ranging, laser tracking.
Tracking by range rate, tracking by line-of-site observation. Autonomous
- Typical Ground Network Operations. Central and remote tracking sites,
equipment complements, command data flow, telemetry data flow. NASA Deep
Space Network, NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), and
- Constellations of Satellites. Optical and RF crosslinks. Command and control
issues. Timing and tracking. Iridium as a system example.
Tuition for this three-day course is $1740 per person at one of our scheduled public courses. Onsite pricing is available. Please call us at 410-956-8805 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.