Noob question on cubesat comms

Hi everyone, apologies if this post is in the wrong category.
I am part of a group of amateur astronomers and (very) amateur satellite enthusiasts located in Port Macquarie, Australia.
We want to build our own Cubesat to house a telescope. The plan is to utilise the satellite for star gazing when local conditions prevent us using our telescope.
What I am hoping for is someone to point me in the right direction for advice on communication systems. We’ll need TTC and data at a rate decent enough for reasonable quality images. Then of course we need to receive the data, regardless of where the satellite is and display it at our observatory.
There is so much information out there that I’m finding it a challenge to determine what is relevant and what is not. My background is in pre-hospital emergency care, so this is all very new ground for me. Any assistance will be enormously helpful to us.
Thanks in advance,


Hi Derek,

my recommendation is to first define what quality (image data size) and image capture rate you are looking for. Usually a well defined mission helps a lot to make such choices.

For TTC VHF and UHF are most common but both wont offer you the data rate for a telescope. So a common choice (without knowing anything about your constraints) would be to use an additional S-Band Downlink for the images. Take a look at SatNOGS COMMS for example. A teleskop and S-Band transmitter are uncommon for anything below 2 or 3U because of power/space constraints.

If you give us a little more information we can help you better.



Hi Milenko,
thanks for your reply. I apologise for taking my time in getting back to you - we had a long weekend here.
We are very much at the concept formulating stage at present, however I can tell you that we plan a 3U cubesat in order to accommodate the telescope, comms, gimble, etc.
Our desire is for reasonably high quality images so your suggestion of an S-Band transmitter sounds feasible. As for the data rate, we still have no idea of the resolution our images will use. Sorry for the lack of info, but we’re just looking to be pointed in a positive direction at present. You’ve already helped enormously with the point about the S-Band transmitter.


No worries when something new comes up feel free to ask, always happy to help :artificial_satellite: