Description of project

The satellite project Astrocast is a mixed mission of scientific and ham radio payloads. Several  Swiss universities are involved.
Students from the electrical engineering and from the computer science department from the HSLU built the hardware and the software for the scientific payload board in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who specified the scientific experiments using GNSS receivers for precise orbit determination. Additional contributions are:

  • The VHF/UHF communication board is developed in the project Cubesatcom.
  • The primary ground station is built, maintained and operated by the Amateurfunkverein der Hochschule Luzern. This is the universities ham radio club. Members are exclusively students, alumni, alumnae and current or former faculty members.
  • The Hochschule Luzern – Technik & Architektur engages in “Tec-Days” at primary and secondary schools and in ARISS contacts.
  • Student involvement continues over the full lifecycle of the project with communications operations and with research using the experimental data received.

Goals of ham radio functions

  • Determination of Kepler data (TLE) from range measurements.
  • PRBS-Ranging measures the receiving time of a regular (once a second TBC) Pseudo Random Binary Sequence (PRBS) transmitted. Multiple RX stations deliver their measurements into a central database. From the RX location and measured distance to the satellite TLE’s can be calculated.
  • Beacon with Telemetry data (satellite housekeeping, satellite GNSS data)
  • Dashboard for date reception and presentation (Windows 10, iOS, more to follow)
  • Data relay (phase II)
  • Download of star tracker pictures (phase II)


Astrocast satellite