Document Type thesis Author Name Olivieri, Steven J Email Address steve86 at wpi.edu URN etd-042711-091356 Title Modular FPGA-Based Software Defined Radio for CubeSats Degree MS Department Electrical & Computer Engineering Advisors Professor Alexander M. Wyglinski, Advisor Professor Fred J. Looft III, Co-Advisor Dr. R. Scott Erwin, Committee Member Keywords fpga software-defined radio cubesat sdr radio Date of Presentation/Defense 2011-04-25 Availability unrestricted
Digital communications devices designed with application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology suffer from one very significant limitationÂ—the integrated circuits are not programmable. Therefore, deploying a new algorithm or an updated standard requires new hardware. Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) solve this problem by introducing what is essentially reconfigurable hardware. Thus, digital communications devices designed on FPGAs are capable of accommodating multiple communications protocols without the need to deploy new hardware, and can support new protocols in a matter of seconds. In addition, FPGAs provide a means to update systems that are physical difficult to access. For these reasons, FPGAs provide us with an ideal platform for implementing adaptive communications algorithms.
This thesis focuses on using FPGAs to implement an adaptive digital communications system. Using the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) as a base, this thesis aims to create a highly-adaptive, plug and play software-defined radio (SDR) that fits CubeSat form-factor satellites. Such a radio platform would enable CubeSat engineers to develop new satellites faster and with lower costs. This thesis presents a new system, the COSMIAC CubeSat SDR, that adapts the USRP platform to better suit the space and power limitations of a CubeSat.
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