For the third year in a row, Libre Space Foundation is selected as a mentoring organisation for the Google Summer of Code program. The application period has now closed and the results are in! The three projects that will be participating in this iteration of the Google Summer of Code via Libre Space Foundation are the following. Let us check them out:
Expanding events detection in Poliastro
Poliastro is an open-source, python library for interactive astrodynamics and orbital mechanics. This project will work on expanding the event-detection capabilities of Poliastro. It plans on achieving that by adding several event-detection algorithms and methods to it. These detectors will allow Poliastro to calculate eclipses, collisions, line-of-sight, sunlight exposure, altitude thresholds, longitude/latitude crossing, visibility of orbiting objects from a location on earth, and sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times also from a location on earth.
Rich analysis reports for Polaris
Polaris is an open-source tool that applies machine learning to satellite telemetry. This year’s project will create a visual module for Polaris. This will use the results of its anomaly detector to generate web-based interactive graphs, visualising anomalies and their points of occurrence. At the same time, it will allow pdf generation and command-line tools for these.
Improving the transmission capabilities of gr-satnogs
Gr-satnogs is the GNU-Radio, Out-of-tree module used by the SatNOGS open-source satellite ground-station network. The scope of this project is to expand the current transmission capabilities of gr-satnogs. This has already been tested on UPSat while in orbit and on Qubik 1 and Qubik-2 in the lab. To achieve that the project aims to improve the gr-satnogs transmission framing API and add new encoders to the already existing AX.25 and IEEE 802.15.4 such as the Nanocom AX.100, various AMSAT-related encoders and more.
Google Summer of Code is an annual program offering university students the opportunity to work on open-source projects during their summer break while earning a stipend! Libre Space Foundation is devoted to working on open-source space technologies and you can find out more about our Principles regarding open-source and space in our Manifesto.
This year’s Google Summer of Code application received 6991 applications submitted by 4975 students from 103 countries. These applications were reviewed by 199 mentoring organizations. Eventually, 1292 students from 69 countries were selected.
We are thrilled to be part of this grand initiative. But we are also excited and looking forward to working with our students over the next few months. Congratulations to everyone and welcome aboard!
Today, however, we will be focusing on the hard work Adithya Venkateswaran has put in as a valuable member of the Polaris project team. Adithya maintains a personal blog walking the readers through his work and the final post on his GSoC contribution was the inspiration for this post.
Polaris: a quick technical overview.
Before delving into Adithya’s work, allow us to provide some background information, helpful context on what Polaris is about.
Polaris is a command-line based, satellite-telemetry analysis tool using machine learning. Space operators usually have to deal with a lot of telemetry parameters from their satellites, and it is often hard to understand how they impact each other on a global picture. Polaris makes use of the XGBoost algorithm for eXtreme gradient boosting to predict every telemetry in the satellite and provide their inter-importances (like a dependency without the causality). The importance of links between telemetry parameters is represented as a graph in a web-based 3D interface. 3d-force-graph is the graph component used for the output.
Practically Polaris consists of four distinct parts:
polaris fetch: It fetches data from various sources, such as telemetry from the SatNOGS Network and Space Weather from SWPC (NOAA).
polaris learn: A machine learning (XGBoost) based module that analyses the relationship of all the data “fetched” and provides a JSON graph file as an output.
polaris viz: A 3d graph-based visualisation module, which offers an intuitive graph representation of data.
polaris anomaly (WIP): An autoencoder-based tool (betsi) that detects anomalies in telemetry data and warns satellite operators. In other words, deep learning for space operations.
Adithya worked on several parts of the project and added useful functionality. His main contributions to Polaris were two new modules “Vinvelivaanilai” & “Betsi”.
Vinvelivaanilai is the word for space weather in Tamil. Vinvelivaanilai is a Python module which uses File Transfer Protocol services to fetch space weather data from SWPC/NOAA’s servers and stores it locally or in InfluxDB-based docker-containers.
It also contains functions to parse TLEs and OMMs (any GP data) and propagate the orbit to find the position and velocity of the satellite at any time. The red coloured nodes in the following graph are derived from Vinvelivaanilai.
Betsi is shorthand for “Behaviour Extraction for Time-Series Investigation”. It makes use of deep-learning techniques to detect anomalies in the telemetry data. The spectrum of an anomaly is broad and it ranges from a simple orientation change to a mega-scale explosion. An explosion capable enough to wipe out all of humanity according to Adithya’s post. But of course, we wouldn’t like the latter to occur.
As the Betsi development team states
If it happened, betsi detected it*.
* You can always change the sensitivity though 😛
In the following graph, the black dotted lines are the breakpoints. Keep in mind though, that at the moment, we are working on finding a better way to represent 200 parameters used for anomaly detection. If you believe you can contribute to the project with ideas, your expertise and knowledge, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team by joining their matrix/element chatroom
As Adithya stated in his blog post, participation in the Polaris project was a more diverse learning experience than what he had expected initially. To this, we believe, that the catalytic factor was the Libre Space community and its continuous effort to share knowledge. Adithya has been an invaluable and active member of this community from the very start. And we could not be more thrilled to see him contribute and participate with such a zest and devotion.
Adithya learned to read, comprehend in-depth and implement research papers contributing to Betsi’s creation.
He learned to interface to FTP over Python and learned to create a stable API to fetch space weather data.
Tested several DBMS to find the best pick for space weather data which will also be future proof.
He familiarised himself with the Polaris API in-depth to be able to add weather data. Enabling, thus, Polaris to provide better results.
While also contributing to improving the web graph user experience.
Currently, Adithya is working on analysing a way to skip the normalisation steps (which converts data to SI units), which will allow Libre Space Foundation to support all satellites whose telemetry can be decoded. At the same time, he is collaborating closely with a satellite team to perform further tests.
As an active member of our community, Adithya has helped greatly guiding new users interested in Polaris to set it up.
In the future, Adithya and the rest of the Polaris team will be working on integrating Betsi into Polaris and create a way to represent Betsi’s data in a meaningful and useful manner. They will also focus on improving the experience of the visualisation module and adding more input from SatNOGS in Polaris as soon as all the afore-mentioned changes and improvements are implemented.
All of this was possible because of your support. You not only helped me in my work but also helped me grow as an individual. I learnt so much more than just programming. I learnt to respect and enjoy the open-source culture, make my own decisions, put my point across and defend it. I learnt to be self-sufficient but also approach you when I need it (you were always there to guide me). If any of you are reading this, please know that you have helped me realize the potential I carry in me and I will forever be indebted to you for that!
We wholeheartedly believe that both on an individual and on a community level, our contributors deeply desire to empower their fellow community members and work hard towards achieving that. They do so with as much devotion as we have for the open-source technologies and methodologies. It is the inspiring combination of our community (and its members) and the Open methodologies we follow that empower everyone to continuously dream, contribute and innovate. We truly believe Adithya is one such valuable member of our community, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for him and see him thrive.
These efforts are part of the “Space Library,” a
new multicomponent initiative at Wolbach that is working to fuel new
research by improving access to scientific research artifacts and
supporting their reuse. The funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation will support two specific Space Library projects: MetaSat and
the Library Space Technology Network (LSTN).
The Space Library’s first project, MetaSat, will develop and
prototype an open metadata schema. This schema will provide both a
comprehensive structure and uniform standards for describing research
objects produced by small satellite missions so they can be more easily
found and used by others. Example schema components include standard
ways to document dates, locations, people, datasets, and software.
This schema will subsequently be piloted on SatNOGS,
the Libre Space Foundation’s open source network of satellite ground
stations (on-ground technology that communicates with satellites).
Wolbach Library also plans to install five ground stations at public
libraries around the world. These five libraries will be the first
participants in LSTN, a public-facing program that will provide
opportunities for new communities to engage with and support real space
missions. LSTN participants will give feedback on the MetaSat schema and
the newly installed ground stations to ensure that even satellite
novices are able to use these tools. If the pilot is successful, Wolbach
hopes to expand LSTN and develop educational materials to support
“I’m elated about this opportunity. We have a unique chance here to
partner with people developing bleeding edge technologies while
addressing questions that I think are foundationally important to the
future of scientific research,” said Daina Bouquin, Head Librarian and
PI of the Space Library. “Questions like, how do we link hardware,
software, and data so people can fully share their knowledge and
experience? Can we develop tools for scientists that are approachable to
the public? These questions aren’t specific to space-based science, and
I think librarians are strategically situated to help, so I’m thrilled
to move forward.”
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
The Center for Astrophysics is a research institute which carries out a
broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, earth and space
sciences, and science education. The CfA’s mission is to advance our
knowledge and understanding of the universe through research and
education in astronomy and astrophysics. The CfA was founded in 1973 as a
joint venture between the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard
University. The CfA’s main facility is located in Cambridge
Massachusetts, with several other facilities around the globe.
John G. Wolbach Library
The John G. Wolbach Library combines the collections of the Harvard
College Observatory (HCO) and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
(SAO), forming one of the world’s preeminent astronomical collections.
Libre Space is a non-profit organization and its mission is to
promote, advance, and develop libre (free and open source) technologies
and knowledge for space exploration. To do so the Libre Space Foundation
designs, develops, and delivers space related projects ranging from
ground station equipment to global monitoring networks and satellite
missions. The Libre Space Foundation is based in Athens, Greece,
collaborating with organizations and individuals globally.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Founded in 1934 by industrialist Alfred P. Sloan Jr., the Foundation is a
not-for-profit grantmaking institution that supports high quality,
impartial scientific research; fosters a robust, diverse scientific
workforce; strengthens public understanding and engagement with science;
and promotes the health of the institutions of scientific endeavor.
In order to facilitate this open metadata project the Alfred P.
Sloan Foundation has provided Wolbach Library at the Center for
Astrophysics and the Libre Space Foundation a grant of USD $390,634.00
with Daina Bouquin serving as project PI.
For two days, the European Space Operation Center opened its doors to our community building open-source space technologies. We had the chance to watch, participate and get inspired by talks, pitches, and workshops that took place during OSCW.
We want to thank our hosts, the awesome people of ESOC, its director that keynoted the event, the Cybernetics team, and numerous ESA volunteers that took time off their schedules to join us. would also like to thank the OSCW17 sponsors that placed their trust on open-source. And most importantly we must thank the awesome international community of researchers, industry representatives and individuals that joined us working together and collaborating on open-source space technologies.
The ESOC media team made all video recordings available to share. We aren’t going single out a few talks, pitches or workshops, Feel free watch all the talks (abstracts and slides linked in the video descriptions) in the following YouTube playlist, and don’t hesitate to join our continuous work on open-source space technologies in our community discussion forum and chat room.
UPSat, the first open source hardware and software satellite, was released in orbit by NanoRacks deployer from the International Space Station at 08:24 UTC 2017-05-18. After 30 minutes, UPSat subsystems commenced normal operations in orbit. The SatNOGS open ground station network started receiving telemetry signals from UPSat in several ground-stations deployed globally shortly after its deployment. All subsystems are reporting nominal operations and the UPSat team is proceeding with LEOP phase in preparation for the science phase of the mission.
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This successful deployment of UPSat in orbit, marks an important milestone for open source software and hardware in space, making space technologies more accessible and open for all.
A few days ago Libre Space Foundation got access to the “libre.space” domain due to a generous contribution of the original owner of the domain and member of the SatNOGS community Matt Carberry.
We are looking forward to use this domain not only for Libre Space Foundation initiatives, such us SatNOGS and UPSat, but want to also provide a platform to share knowledge, discuss and co-operate on any open source hardware & software related to space.
For those reasons, we decided on expanding the SatNOGS community forum based originally at community.satnogs.org to community.libre.space. As an early example, Gpredict community (headed by A.Csete) has started utilizing our forum for their coordination needs and aims on utilizing the transmitter data provided by the SatNOGS DB
On April 19th 2017 Libre Space Foundation launched 5 High Power Rockets for 2017 CANSAT Greece student contest.
The weeks prior the contest day, Libre Space Foundation electronics lab and workshop where open for the student teams who needed equipment not readily available intheir school.
Aiming to provide a scaled down satellite delivery and launch experience for students, Libre Space Foundation orchestrated payload certification, delivery as well as a detailed launch operation scenario for the rocket launches.
Students experienced the technical challenges regarding satellite certification, the silent moment during the countdown for lift off, the thrill of watching their payload soar into the sky and the excitment following parachute deployment, a sign that their mission is one step closer to success.
The UPSat team of engineers is proud to announce the delivery of the first completely open source software and hardware satellite!
A major step towards UPSat’s launch has being completed. Its successful delivery to Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISpace) took place on August 18th in Delft, Netherlands. UPSat is the first complete delivery to ISISpace as part of the QB50 project. Engineers from the University of Patras and Libre Space Foundation, the makers of UPSat, in cooperation with Von Karman Institute and ISISpace engineers have successfully concluded all checkout tests anddelivery procedures, to enable UPSat’s integration to the NanoRacks launch system.
UPSat will be delivered to Orbital ATK, and then launched to the International Space Station via a Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft scheduled for 30th of December 2016. After successful docking to ISS, UPSat will be launch by the NanoRacks deployment pod aboard ISS.
This delivery marks a major milestone towards the realization of Libre Space Foundation vision foran open source ecosystem in space, while also being the first satellite designed and manufactured in Greece.
We are excited to see SatNOGS, the open source hardware and free software satellite ground station network, winning the recognition of the Hackaday Prize judges, the Hackaday staff and last but not least it’s awesome community. We believe that the Hackaday Prize contest is a great showcase of open source hardware and software projects.
The core development team of SatNOGS decided to use the monetary prize won in the Hackaday Prize to fund the establishement of the. Libre Space Foundation, in order to support, develop and advance open source technologies in space. Our vision is not only create an open source groundstation network but an ecosystem of open source technologies in both software and hardware in space and cooperate with other opensource communities to make it so.