Help me understand the process to receive data from a satellite

Hi all,
I’m on a team working to launch a 1U satellite sometime in the upcoming year. We’re planning on using SatNOGS for our communications, and we’re working on setting up our ground station in the upcoming months.
I’ve read through the wiki, and I can’t seem to complete my understanding on the communications process. Assuming our satellite is in the DB, here’s my understanding of the process:

  1. Schedule an observation through SatNOGS Network
  2. Satellite transmits data packets/frames down to ground station encoded in some way, over some protocol
  3. Ground Station receives data packets/frames. Somehow it knows the procotol & encoding the satellite is using, and therefore it can read the packet/frame.
  4. Decoder tells Ground Station how to interpret the raw data of the packet/frame.
  5. Ground Station uploads frame to SatNOGS DB, and the data fields (interpreted through the decoder) to the influxDB
  6. Data is available for use in SatNOGS DB or display in SatNOGS Dashboard.

Am I missing anything here? How does the ground station know the comms protocol/decoder to use?

Any help, guidance, or referral to sources is greatly appreciated!


That sounds about right to me, but I’ll defer to the admins. These are the main wiki pages at the moment:

So you add your satellite by opening a ticket here:

The admins then take that info and add it to the SatNOGS DB.

There’s some docs on how the admins do that in this wiki page:

In sum, the ground station knows the comms protocol/decoder to use because the satellite owner (or someone else that gets the info from a public website) opens a ticket and adds the info in a GitLab issue. The admins then add that to SatNOGS DB. The SatNOGS client gets it from the SatNOGS Network, which I presume pulls it from the SatNOGS DB. This is my noob understanding of the process, hope it helps. :slight_smile: