BUILDING SATELLITE GROUND STATION: A PIONEERING PROJECT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENTS AT VGU
Recently, the satellite ground station project has attracted many interest and participation from both the bachelor program and master’s program students in Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Mechatronics and Sensor Systems Technology (MSST) department. The team member includes Võ Thành Đạt, Trần Anh Khoa, Nguyễn Minh Dũng, Lê Tự Quốc Nghi, Trần Lê Hoàng (all from ME bachelor program), with Nguyễn Văn Hóa Vũ (a student from the MSST master’s program) as a leader. This project, under the guidance and supervision of professor Võ Bích Hiển, professor Liu, and Mr. Đỗ Hữu Minh Hiếu, the lab engineer, has fulfilled the proposed criteria and has become the first milestone in astronomy study at Vietnamese-German University.
1. Know-how about satellite ground station with Mechanical Engineering students
To understand better about this breakthrough project, the team members have provided us with some of the necessary information about satellite and astronomy science. These are not entirely taught in detail at a bachelor program or master’s program, but require a lot more in-depth learning and research on their own.
a) Satellite and ground station
In general, with a leap and bound advancement in science and technology today, more and more satellites, serving a variety of purposes, are launched into space. Therefore, a system capable of capturing the data sent from the satellites entirely with high precision in real-time is required.
The ground station has the capability of receiving, deciphering, decoding the data sent from the satellites traveling in multiple orbits. These satellites are in charge of collecting data for weather forecasting, environmental monitoring, remote sensing, measuring, etc. Retrieved data in their raw form is encrypted and encoded, with the corresponding decoder, the information such as picture, sound, data will be filtered. Serving as the medium, the ground station will transfer these encrypted data packs to the desire customers and users.
b) Designing the ground station
In order to capture these valuable data from the satellite in their fullest in real-time, information of satellites’ orbit will be updated continuously through appropriate propagation algorithms. Upon satellite position update, the mechanical system, specially designed to rotate about two axes: elevation and azimuth axis, will operate to rotate the attached antenna to always following and pointing to the designated satellite position automatically. By installing the Software-defined radio frequency kit, the ground station can operate with multiple different frequency bands.
c) Functioning the ground station
With a visualized control interface, simple operations, the ground station is quite user-friendly, especially to an individual with limited knowledge about space and astronomy. With the direct and simplistic user interface, the station can be used as a teaching instrument in the field of communication, automation, design, mechanical manufacturing, etc.
2. Creating ground station from the Mechanical Engineering’s approach
According to the team member, due to technology independence, the manufacturing and operating cost are much smaller than the commercial versions of the ground station. The team has conducted many field trials, and the results are very positive, stable with high reliability. Currently, the system still has a lot of room for improvement, such as optimizing tracking algorithms, improving control systems, upgrading the mechanical system for more satellite compatibility, etc. Therefore, the team will continue searching for investors, cooperators with interest in this field of research. With this project’s success, the team would like to express that: Big journeys start with small steps! Mr. Vũ, the team leader from the MSST master’s program, hopes that their work would become an inspiration and motivation for the students from all other bachelor programs and master’s programs to pursue their dream projects.
For more details on the project, please follow the project journal page: https://sites.google.com/view/satgndstat
Contact person: Nguyễn Văn Hóa Vũ
Phone number: 0932 932 121
The bachelor program of Mechanical Engineering at VGU is a six-semester study program combining basic engineering sciences with fundamental natural sciences and mathematics. The program provides students with expert skills and knowledge needed for a career in the industry as well as a broad and solid academic foundation for the continuation of their studies in a master’s program.
The master’s program of Mechatronics and Sensor Systems Technology at VGU is composed of five main topics: sensor fundamentals, signal processing, control engineering & automation, industry 4.0, and sensor applications in the various field contain the fundamental knowledge of this program.