Category: Updates

LSF Project onboarding and the Libre Space Manifesto

Libre Space Foundation is an organization dedicated to creating open-source, space technologies. Often we come across a project that wishes to join us, or we are approached by exciting initiatives to assist them in their endeavors. However, joining LSF as a project is a process that must meet specific criteria and particular requirements. In this article, we wish to clarify a project’s eligibility to join LSF while at the same time, we elaborate on the pillars of the Libre Space Manifesto and the philosophy governing Libre Space Foundation. This article is not about the management, the organization or the development process alone. It is about the principles fueling our approach. It is about how and why we do things differently.

Repeating the title

Joining the Libre Space Foundation

For us, the Manifesto is found at the core of our operations and processes. Thus, all projects and all project decisions must adhere to the Libre Space Manifesto. The projects must abide by the Manifesto principles starting with the primary principle that Space should be open and available to all humanity. All the projects that join us are devoted to Space being available to all and open for everyone to explore. All projects we onboard work towards creating opportunities for learning, exploring innovative ideas and bringing Space closer to the public (such as LSTN offering public library communities the chance to build and engage with space technology).

For the principles of the Libre Space Manifesto to materialize, there are four pillars to which all our practices adhere.

  • Open-source, copyleft license.

Based on the Libre Space Manifesto, the projects joining LSF must have an open-source, copyleft license for anything developed and released within the project. For those not familiar with the term, a copyleft licensing scheme is a process that allows people to freely distribute copies of a certain work or even modified versions of it. Provided that the same rights will be preserved in derivative works created later down the line.

It should be noted that we strive to use open-source tools and applications, and it is imperative for the projects onboarded to adhere to the open-source methodology at every step of the workflow. In practice, we develop and use open-source tools and software, we modify them, explore their potential, and then we give back to the open-source community by distributing our work under an open-source, copyleft license.

The significance of this approach is that new types of software, features, projects and initiatives are created under an open-source license which enables their use by everyone who needs them. This approach delivers free solutions and tools and it guarantees that new ideas can continue to explore new potentials, fuel solutions and features for other individuals to enjoy.

  • Open Data (available to everyone in the community or to anyone who is interested).

According to the Libre Space Manifesto, all findings, all data should be available to everyone. Open data has always been in the core of our operations. The SatNOGS network, our global network of satellite ground stations, is a collaborative, world-wide community which receives satellite data. The observations made are stored online in the SatNOGS Database and are available for everyone to see and use. SatNOGS Database is a machine-readable data resource. The Open data approach we have at LSF has helped many projects, teams, universities to study Space and satellites in much detail. It has facilitated and helped other projects too. Polaris, par example, uses telemetry data that is received by the SatNOGS network of satellite ground stations.

  • Following Open Development processes.

At LSF, true to our beliefs, we use open development processes for our projects. We use Gitlab for organizing, managing, developing our projects and for the teams and team members to communicate efficiently. Since our collaborators, contributors and team members come from all over the world, Open Development processes are the best way to include everyone in the development process. This way we achieve a natural flow of conversations and contributions as the team members work towards accomplishing a common goal (or towards working on completing a project).

Every contribution, every idea and every discussion benefits not only an individual but the whole team, the whole project and often the contributions made are beneficial for other projects too. This, of course, is one of the advantages of open-source and open development.

Sequentially, under an open development process, documentation of the code is open for the public to view and detailed to allow for a better understanding of how a project works. New members can be introduced to the complexities of a project faster, and a greater audience of collaborators can contribute more easily. Code is tested in a collaborative way focusing on high-quality but often achieving fast progress, too. The team members can review the code, offering feedback, flagging problems early on, suggesting solutions and resolving issues. Quite often, this discursive approach to a project and the exchanging of ideas leads to the emergence of new and innovative projects and useful tools.

Open development processes is a common practice for us; an approach taking place on all channels of communication: on Gitlab, on the LSF Riot Channels and our Community Forums too. Consequently, this takes us to the next significant pillar of the Libre Space Manifesto.

  • Open Governance (with transparency and direct communication) for all projects.

As mentioned above, we try to use tools in our projects which are open-source. We use Matrix/Riot for all communications concerning the projects. We have a buzzing, collaborative and constructive community where individuals contribute. They share their worries, their problems, their achievements and their ideas. As project discussions and interactions are held in public, they become accessible to everyone, and everyone can join. This, in fact, has a catalytic impact on the way the community manages itself while working as a whole. The projects govern themselves, delegating responsibilities and asking for assistance or advice always having the project’s best interest at heart. Though different projects have different maturity levels and thus different governance paradigms, yet they too follow the general open governance principles. These include unrestricted participation, open and clear communications and decision making processes, and accountability for project roles.

Being part of the Libre Space Foundation

Once a project is given the green light to join LSF, then it receives the support and the tools necessary for project development, operations, legal guidance and even marketing, branding and communications. LSF guides the project through to success and completion. If your project meets all the necessary requirements and provided it adheres to the Libre Space Manifesto principles, LSF will give you all the assistance, guidance and tools to see it through.

If the way we do things sounds fascinating to you and you wish to join us, feel free to check out the Libre Space Manifesto! Don’t hesitate to show your support by signing up and sharing it with your friends and network!

Google Summer of Code 2020: Announcing the two projects we will be mentoring

For the second year in a row, Libre Space Foundation was selected as a mentor organisation for the Google Summer of Code initiative. The application period has closed and the results are in, and so it is with great excitement that we announce the two projects we will be mentoring over the next few months.

The Projects

The first project titled “Deep learning for Cubesat Behavior Segmentation with Collection of Contextual Information” will be working on the Polaris codebase. The project aims at supporting spacecraft operators by predicting the behaviour of their satellites and linking it to various data sources. There is a data challenge in collecting and sometimes in converting into time series. This data collection phase will allow for better information when understanding and estimating the behaviour of a spacecraft. External sources of data, namely, orbit propagation, solar and magnetic events, and various elements of space weather, will be some of the external sources providing the data needed. The machine learning approach employed for Polaris will transform these data sources into learning features so that a spacecraft’s behaviour is not only predicted but also explained by the “machine”. Deep learning means that the project is exploring the usage of different neural network architectures of several layers. The project is undertaken in close collaboration with the amazing team of the Polaris project.

The second project that Libre Space Foundation will be mentoring is a “Python Module for RF Collisions”. This project’s goal is to tackle an issue that troubles satellite observers quite frequently. With the number of deployed satellites in constant increase, it is often that satellites transmit with the same or near frequencies. This overlapping of frequencies interferes with the results of the observations and affects their accuracy. Thus, the project we will be mentoring aims at dealing with this exact issue. By building a Python module that will allow the ground station operators to specify the time and the location this interference occurs. This project is closely related and linked to SatNOGS and it will be used by the SatNOGS network as an internal or an external tool to let the observers know which other satellites are expected to be found in the results of their observations.

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 period has been indeed a groundbreaking one as the initiative received 8,902 applications submitted by 6,626 students from 121 countries. These applications were reviewed by 199 mentoring organizations. Eventually, 1,199 students from 66 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!

The QUBIK Project: The progress so far

Libre Space Foundation is devoted to the vision of open-source technologies in space, and for this, we often join forces with researchers, individuals, and teams who share this vision with us. One exciting project we have taken up is the QUBIK Project.

QUBIK-1 Flight-ready
QUBIK-1 flight-ready

A few words about the Project

Our love for space has brought us in collaboration with Firefly Aerospace and the DREAM payloads program. This is a global competition to host academic and educational payloads as rideshare participants on the inaugural flight of the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle. For this project, we have been working together with FOSSA Systems and AMSAT EA. We have developed two PocketQube satellites, QUBIK-1 and QUBIK-2, and PICOBUS, a PocketQube deployer.

From top left clock-wise: GENESIS N, FOSSASAT-1B, GENESIS L, QUBIK-2, QUBIK-1, FOSSASAT-2
PICOBUS deployer with satellites integrated
PICOBUS deployer with satellites integrated

The satellites are expected to have a short lifespan of up to 3 weeks of orbit. Regardless of how short-lived they will be, though, they are built to perform Amateur radio experimentation. While those amateur radio experimentations will be taking place, the SatNOGS network of ground stations will be receiving signals from these satellites. By exploiting Doppler Variations, the network of ground stations will perform orbit determination and satellite identification as early as possible. This will utilize the benefits and the capabilities of the SatNOGS network to the fullest and demonstrate the Space Situational Awareness aspect of it.

How the Project has been progressing for the last few months

On the 12th of December 2019, the thermal vacuum test for the PICOBUS took place at Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial, and on the 16th of the same month, the vibration test was conducted at the NanoSat Lab of the Polytechnic University of Catalunya. A few months later, on the 8th of February 2020, our team working at completed the assembly of the PICOBUS and QUBIK-1 and QUBIK-2. The next day marked the bake out day for the project at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser. Lastly, on the 12th of February 2020, at the NanoSat Lab, the vibration acceptance campaign took place for PICOBUS, and so did the Protoflight campaign for QUBIK-1 and QUBIK-2. At this point in the process, the software is being developed so that the project will be able to facilitate all the amateur radio experiments that need to be carried out.

Qualification model of PICOBUS deployer getting ready for Thermal-Vacuum testing
Qualification model of PICOBUS deployer getting ready for Thermal-Vacuum testing
Qualification model of PICOBUS deployer just out of the Thermal-Vacuum chamber
Qualification model of PICOBUS deployer just out of the Thermal-Vacuum chamber
Flight model of PICOBUS deployer during vibration testing
Flight model of PICOBUS deployer during vibration testing
Deployment test of dummy mass satellites from PICOBUS deployer

QUBIK-1, QUBIK-2, and the PICOBUS deployer form an exciting project for which we have worked hard, and we have collaborated with inspiring teams. As the development draws to completion we are excited to see what this project will achieve.

If you find this project exciting too and you wish to find out more about Qubik you can follow the open-source repositories of the project.

Space Situational Awareness – The story so far and an open way forward

An essay on the necessity of an open data approach for space.

With tens of thousands of objects being already in orbit and hundreds of thousands coming up in the near future, it is no secret that keeping track and predicting orbital attitude and position for those objects will become imperative for viable and sustainable space operations and explorations. Space Situational Awareness (or SSA for short) is a multi-million dollar effort undertaken by various agencies, governments, and organizations around the world many times combined with Space Weather and Near-Earth Objects tracking. Most (if not all) of those efforts are deeply rooted in their defense-related past. The military branches of their countries directly oversee many of them. For example, in the US, SSA services are operated by the 18th Space Control Squadron, a unit of the US Air Force, while in Russia, the 821st Main Centre for Reconnaissance of Situation in Space is operated under the Russian Space Forces. Inherently, running such services under a military branch imposes heavy restrictions with regards to data openness and transparency to operational capabilities of the Networks of radio and optical tracking equipment used by them.

Let’s have a more in-depth look into the current known efforts and their shortcomings when it comes to data openness.

The European Space Agency Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) segment

The European Space Agency has been investing tens of millions of Euros since 2009 to develop a program around artificial objects tracking and orbit analysis. Unfortunately, between non-functional websites and awareness newsletter-style reports we have seen little of its actual technical data, let alone any open orbital data coming from it. Statistics do get shared from DISCOS (Database and Information System Characterizing Objects in Space) but the access to data is gated (restricted and request-only for certain entities). We should expect better from a publicly funded non-military organization.

Concept for ESA’s future space debris surveillance system employing ground-based optical, radar and laser technology as well as in-orbit survey instruments. – ESA/Alan Baker, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Russian Military Space Surveillance Network (SKKP)

The SKKP is part of the Russian Space Forces (Космические войска России). The Network of multiple radars and ground stations across Russia was initially part of the missile early warning system of the Soviet Union and gradually gained its independence and specialization to detect satellites, identify them, and to discern their orbits. It maintains the Russian catalog of space objects, and provides data that could be used to support space launches, feed an anti-satellite program, and provides intelligence on hostile military satellites. It is the Russian equivalent of the United States Space Surveillance Network. No public data is available from SKKP.

The United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN)

The US SSN detects, tracks, catalogs, and identifies artificial objects orbiting Earth. The system is the responsibility of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, part of the United States Space Command. Its facilities include dedicated and collateral sites around the world, consisting of tracking radars, detection radar, optical telescopes and imaging radars with systems like Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) and Space Surveillance Telescope (SST). The data from SSN are analyzed by the Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC), which also is part of the US Space Command. Besides its primary military function, CSpOC and the 18th Space Control Squadron are responsible for maintaining their space catalog of objects and running the SSA sharing program targeted to the US, foreign government, and commercial entities. This sharing and dissemination platform ( has been the primary source of SSA data for most users worldwide. It has been fueling further dissemination platforms like Celestrak (with the additional analysis done by AGI). Although the nature of the data seems to be open and accessible with modern APIs and convenient formats, their license is highly restrictive. The license is restricted to personal use, banning further sharing of data or derivative data, to the point that most current usages of data can most certainly be marked as illegal. That continuing legal threat, combined with the filtering of the data available concerning military payloads from the US and its allies, allow no doubts for the restrictive non-open data nature of

The Space Surveillance Network – Public Domain

Space Data Association (SDA)

SDA is an international organization of satellite operators working to, in part, enhance the “accuracy and timeliness of collision warning notifications.” The Association is driven by the member’s needs for in-time SSA information, with the members being mostly GEO satellite operators (EUTELSAT, INMARSAT, and others). The data shared amongst its members are not made public, and their source is the satellite operators themselves.

International Scientific Optical Network (ISON)

ISON is an international project, currently consisting of about 30 telescopes at about 20 observatories in about ten countries. ISON, as a civilian global space surveillance system, covers the whole GEO and is capable of searching and tracking objects both on GEO and various classes of HEO orbits (GTO, Molniya, etc.). From the published papers and reports coming from the network, it is clear that the tracking capabilities of ISON are quite capable. Unfortunately, there is limited dissemination of their data, gated, and only valid for the analysis of past observations, not for future permissions. Participation in the Network seems to be gated too since there is no clear path of joining or an established process to contribute.

ISON locations around the world – Copyright ISON

The amateur satellite tracking community – SeeSat-L mailing list

A network of amateur satellite trackers provides positional measurements as well as orbital elements for a subset of objects, both in LEO, GEO, and HEO. This subset consists primarily of military payloads from the US and its allies (e.g., France, Germany, Israel, Japan) for which the 18th Space Control Squadron does not release orbital elements. This network originated from satellite trackers initially involved in Operation Moonwatch, the citizen scientist program, to track artificial satellites since the launch of Sputnik. Observers in this network are increasingly using more sophisticated sensors and software, increasing the accuracy of the orbital elements, as well as the number of objects that are tracked. Dissemination of data is open and readily available to the public, although confined mostly around the subset of objects that represent the group’s interest.

Various militaries

Various militaries around the world maintain a particular SSA capability, and in some cases, we do have public data around their existence. For example, the French military operates the GRAVES radar to track objects in predominantly LEO, while Germany operates GESTRA under GSSAC with multiple locations. Eight EU Member States (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and UK), with representatives from National Designated Entities and Ministries of Defence and EU SatCen participate in the EUSST Cooperation, joining SST efforts. No data or orbital elements are made public.

The GRAVES system

Private companies

Commercialization of SSA services has been an approach that some private for-profit companies are exploring. Most notably, LeoLABS is providing paid SSA services for LEO objects, using data from their radar facilities. No data or orbital elements are made public.

The need for open data in SSA

We in Libre Space Foundation believe that all people shall have access to outer space, space technologies, and space data. Space Situational Awareness data are critical for our understanding, peaceful coexistence, and exploration of space. We believe that to achieve that, all SSA data should be gathered, processed, licensed, and disseminated as Open Data.
The benefits that Open Data can bring to SSA:

  • Transparency. Open Data supports public and comprehensive oversight of governmental and agency activities. For instance, Open Data makes it easier to monitor all space activities regardless of their classified or not status. It also encourages greater citizen participation in space affairs and supports verifiability, collaboration, and cross-checking of analysis.
  • Service Improvement. Open Data gives citizens and organizations the raw materials they need to engage in the space sector and contribute to the improvement of public SSA services. For instance, anyone can use Open Data to perform their orbital determination analysis and engage with existing services for improvement suggestions.
  • Efficiency. Open Data makes it easier and less costly for governments and agencies to discover and access their data or data from other organizations, which reduces acquisition costs, redundancy, and overhead. Open Data can also empower anyone with the ability to alert for gaps in public datasets and to provide more accurate information.
  • Innovation and Economic Value. Public data, and their re-use, are critical resources for social innovation and economic growth. Open Data provides new opportunities for governments and agencies to collaborate with anyone by giving open access to data about those services. Businesses and entities are using Open Data to understand potential markets better and build new data-driven products.

The open way forward

As Libre Space Foundation, we are committed to establish and act upon an open way forward around SSA. We will be guided by our principles, express them in our manifesto, examine the technical possibilities, and craft a development and implementation way ahead.


The following principles should guide space Situational Awareness:

Open Data
Unconstrained access to all data related to SSA, licensed appropriately, and treated as a public resource.

Modern technology stack
The technical implementation should be based on a modern technology stack, modular, expandable, and open source.

Due to the fundamental nature of the SSA data, we believe that verifiability should be an essential aspect of our data and processes, achieved through the openness of our technology stack, allowing for auditing by anyone.

Openness in participation
SSA data generation, processing, and consumption should be open for participation to all who wish to contribute without gated access.

Technical Possibilities

Sources of SSA data can be categorized in the following groups:

Active RF tracking
Essentially Radar systems emitting RF signals that then can be received and analyzed in a closed-loop order. This methodology is a high-cost, high-quality approach undertaken by most of the active SSA players currently (mostly governments through their military branches).

BMEWS solid-state phased-array radar at RAF Fylingdales CC BY-SA 3.0 Lukasz Lukomski

Passive RF tracking
Opportunistic RF tracking is an SSA surveying method utilizing pre-existing RF signal sources beyond someone’s control (radars or other transmissions), tracking the reflections on space objects from those sources. Given its nature, it can yield valuable results but, at the same time, is at risk of intermittent operations since one cannot have control over the origin of the RF source.

ISS reflection of GRAVES signal – by PE1ITR

Signals (TM/TC&C)
Tracking signals (Telemetry or Telecommand and Control) from active space objects and specifically their doppler shift properties can yield substantial data that can be translated to quality SSA measurements. Although such an approach is limited to active space objects, it requires minimal development costs since it can utilize the existence of a global RF ground station network (like SatNOGS) without any additional changes needed to the space missions.

Optical tracking of visible light reflected upon space objects provides one of the best SSA data-producing methods. Readily available sensors, lenses, and mounts can be used to capture optical observations of space objects, yielding high-accuracy results. Its shortcomings are its dependence on sky and timing conditions and for some orbits its need for high-end costly optical systems (e.g., fast telescopes with sensitive sensors)

3-minute exposure of central Aquarius capturing 11 geosynchronous satellites – by Bob King

ID-tags and experiments in LEOP
A relatively modern and innovative approach would be to equip space objects with active or passive ID tags emitting identification codes passively or when probed, allowing for early identification and continuous tracking of those objects. Since this method requires additional development and cost for missions, it is imperative to standardize it and for a low-cost open-source implementation to be delivered, readily available for integration on future missions. Such an approach draws many parallels to existing models of tracking and monitoring on other domains (e.g., AIS for marine objects and ADSB for airborne objects) and also requires a legislative mandate to be effective, which in turn involves policy changes on a universal scale.

SatNOGS DB as a hub of information

SatNOGS DB has established itself as a hub on RF related information for hundreds of space missions so far. Given then the source of information is crowd-sourced and continues to expand, we believe that SatNOGS DB can be furtherly expanded to include SSA information and act as a hub for multiple sources of SSA data and their derivatives (orbital elements, conjunction reports, etc.) Since LSF develops SatNOGS DB as a modular project allowing for multiple sources and data consumers, we could envision an ecosystem where the processing of this data (automatic or manual) can also happen outside the SatNOGS DB instance and re-submitted for sharing through it. Collaboration with existing established hubs or information (like Celestrak/AGI) and up and coming open data approaches on specific subsets of SSA data (like TruSat) will be vital for establishing a collaborative and sustainable ecosystem around open SSA data. To that end, we will like to invite all possible collaborators to engage in our efforts and the public discourse around them.


Obtaining open SSA data – Developments for Libre Space Foundation projects

The SatNOGS project provides natural extensions that will allow the Libre Space Foundation to provide open SSA data:

LEOP identification work

The SatNOGS network of ground stations observes satellites transmitting in the amateur VHF and UHF radio bands to demodulate and decode satellite telemetry. Telemetry is stored publicly in the SatNOGS database (SatNOGS DB). The observations rely on orbital elements provided by 18SPCS/CSpOC, redistributed by, CalPoly, or AMSAT, which are used to perform Doppler correction and antenna pointing. The combination of SatNOGS Network and SatNOGS DB allows LSF to provide independent data on the identification of satellites. Satellites with active transmitters can be identified through either a priori known transmitter frequencies, modulation schemes, and demodulated telemetry containing satellite call-signs. The orbital elements used for Doppler correction and antenna pointing allow LSF to determine which orbital elements match the observed frequencies of an identified satellite, hence linking a satellite to CSpOC orbital elements. LSF is currently already sharing this SSA data publicly with TS Kelso (Celestrak/AGI), as well as individual satellite operators. This functionality could be expanded to frequencies outside of the amateur VHF and UHF bands (i.e., 401MHz, 466MHz, S-band).

More information about this effort can be found in our satnogs-ops repository.

Tracking RF transmissions

LSF is currently developing functionality to extract Doppler curves from observations obtained through the SatNOGS network of ground stations. Observations are presently Doppler corrected using orbital elements by 18SPCS/CSpOC. Still, deviations of the observed frequencies, either from recorded spectrograms (waterfalls) or demodulated telemetry, can be used to obtain Doppler curves. These Doppler curves can be used to constrain orbital elements. They may allow LSF to generate a catalog of orbital elements to track satellites that are observed through the SatNOGS Network. This functionality would be available for actively transmitting satellites, and likely limited by the time accuracy and frequency stability of SatNOGS stations, as well as the frequency stability of the transmitter onboard the satellites.

Development of satnogs-network and satnogs-client are heavily influenced by this approach and you can track the progress on their respective repositories.

Doppler curve tracking and identification of signals through SatNOGS Network

Passive RF tracking

Currently not under development, but SatNOGS client/Network/DB could be expanded to include the estimation of orbital elements from active radar reflections, possibly using a set of dedicated stations spread over a region (e.g., Europe). Such an approach would generate Doppler curves and orbital elements for any object bright enough to be picked up, though only feasible if radars are active (outside of LSF control). We should explore the legal aspect of such an endeavor since there are unanswered questions around it in various jurisdictions.

Plot of RF reflections tracking using open source strf package

Network of Optical Ground Stations

Building on the experience of designing the SatNOGS open-source framework for demodulating and decoding satellite telemetry using cheap off-the-shelf hardware, LSF is investigating developing a similar open-source framework for video and photo-based satellite tracking ground stations. Using recent CMOS technology as well as software development, automated detection, identification, and position determination of LEO satellites in video observations is feasible. This approach would generate positional measurements that serve as input to the determination of orbital elements of satellites, as well as to characterize the optical behavior of satellites.

Optical observation and measurements of space object 39075 using a CMOS camera and open source stvid by C.Bassa

LEOP and ID-tag experiments

Through the development of its next space missions QUBIK-1 and QUBIK-2, Libre Space Foundation is testing In-Orbit a set of technologies to allow for the earliest identification possible of a space object, based on its unique RF transmissions, using the global aspect of the SatNOGS Network.

QUBIK-1 & QUBIK-2 satellites assembled

Join us on this open way forward for Space Situational Awareness data. Contribute to the repositories, and join the discussion in our forums.

Per liberum, ad astra.

Call for students: join us building open space technologies through Google Summer of Code 2020

Google announced today that Libre Space Foundation is among the mentoring organizations of Google’s Summer of Code 2020. This selection provides opportunities for students that would like to work full-time on open space technologies during their summer break and start participating in the Libre Space community.

Google Summer of Code is an annual program providing university students the chance to work on open -source projects during their summer break while earning a stipend!

If you are interested in working with open-source space technologies this summer, don’t hesitate to study the student guide thoroughly, and check our detailed instructions, with suggested ideas, or introduce your ideas for consideration.

Feel free to check the following video for a quick review of Google Summer of Code.

LSF head back to Orbit with the Qubik Mission

Libre Space Foundation is proud to announce that it is currently developing and integrating 2 pocketqube satellites (QUBIK-1 & QUBIK-2) and supplying a pocketqube deployer (PICOBUS) to be flown as part of the DREAM payloads program on the inaugural Firefly Alpha launch from Firefly Aerospace. 

An exploded view of the QUBIK satellites

Scheduled for launch around the end of the first quarter 2020 we are delighted to be taking part in this exciting mission. 

QUBIK mockup inside the clean box

The LSF contributors have been busy developing both the pocketqubes from scratch as well as the innovative deployment system that features a constant force spring design and, of course, all developments are being carried out using open source methodologies and licenses.

The satellites are expected to be short-lived with only ~3 weeks of predicted orbit lifespan. This short timeframe will be enough though for the communications experiment they are tasked to perform. Specifically, the satellites will be conducting a series of telecommunication related experiments, while at the same time, ground station analysis of the received signals will try to exploit doppler variations in order to perform orbit determination and satellite identification from radio amateur stations around the world. The telecommunication experiments will use several different modulation, coding and framing schemes, with the intention to provide insights about their performance at nano-pico-satellite missions. In addition, the frame itself will be organized in such a way so spacecraft identification can be performed as early as possible from the physical layer.

The brains of the QUBIK satellites will be the open source pocketqube format Communications board designed by LSF

You can follow along with the progress of our development in the relevant repositories or subscribe to Libre Space Foundation channels (LSF Forum Twitter Facebook ) for updates!

QUBIK spinning on Earth before it gets to spin in orbit!

It’s a tight timeframe of only 4 months from inception to delivery and the team is working incredibly hard to design, build and test all the parts for this mission while being on track to deliver the satellites and deployer on time for integration and ready for launch, helping us further our mission to claim space the libre way.

Per Liberum, Ad Astra!

QUBIK Engineering model inside LSF cleanbox

Work Begins on Space Library Projects.

Last week in Libre Space Foundation HQ in Athens LSF hosted the kick-off meeting of the Space Library project. Papadeas Pierros (Director of Operations, LSF) and Daina Bouquin (Head Librarian at Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) headed the meeting which was joined by many members of Libre Space Foundation. The Space Library is an initiative led by the staff team at Wolbach Librar in collaboration with the Libre Space Foundation and received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The goal is to help new communities participate in satellite missions, engender public engagement in space science, and to fuel new research by improving access to scientific research artifacts and supporting their reuse. To achieve this our team is developing open metadata standards and enabling public engagement with space technology in public libraries.  For example the MetaSat project is a project to develop and prototype an open metadata schema to link data, software, and hardware from small satellite missions. The schema will be designed and piloted using SatNOGS and it’s success will be assessed by seeking feedback from the various users, teams and contributors involved in SatNOGS. It was a pleasure to welcome Daina and we look forward to this exciting work developing.

Libre Space Foundation partners with Harvard’s Wolbach Library to launch Space Library funded by Sloan Foundation

The Wolbach Library at the Center for Astrophysics and the Libre Space Foundation recently received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to create new infrastructure to support small satellite missions and enable public engagement with space technology.

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 participating communities.

“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 Foundation

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.

OSCW19, Call for Participation now open.

The call for participation for the third Open Source Cubesat Workshop is now open. This year the OSCW will be held over 3 days in the beautiful Athens Conservatoire between the 14th and 16th October.

The call for abstracts reads as follows;

CubeSats have proven to be an ideal tool for exploring news ways of doing space missions: therefore let’s remove the barrier of confidentiality and secrecy, and start to freely share knowledge and information about how to build and operate CubeSats. This workshop provides a forum for CubeSat developers and CubeSat mission operators to meet and join forces on open source projects to benefit from transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration and community. The focus of this year’s workshop is to develop and apply open source technologies for all aspects of a space mission. The target audience of this workshop is academia, research institutes, companies, and individuals.

Previous OSCW events have been extremely well received and always include a large cross section of those working on space missions, cubesats and more using open source methodologies. The OSCW team are keen to receive your abstracts and the community look forward to seeing you there.

Submit your abstracts via the OSCW website.

Libre Space Activity Update 2019-05-01

Open Source Cubesat Workshop 2019 Announced

This years Open Source Cubesat Workshop (OSCW) dates have been announced and we are excited to host the event in Athens from the 14th to the 16th October 2019. Previous years have seen an amazing attendance from a really diverse range of backgrounds spanning makerspaces, academia and industry and everything in between to create this unique event. We at Libre Space hope to see you there.

Libre Space Foundation at Software Freedom Kosovo Conference

Libre Space were delighted to be asked to speak at Software Freedom Kosovo 2019 . Jo attended and gave a talk about all LSF projects undertaken to date, including SatNOGS, UPsat, SDRmakerspace, Pocketqubes HPR rocketry and more. The talk was well received and there was a lot of interest. Its fabulous to note that since this conference the first SatNOGS station in Kosovo has appeared on the network. Many thanks for an excellent conference and warm welcome.

European Summer of Code In Space (SOCIS) open till May the 4th.

A full list of approved proposed project ideas is available on the ESA SOCIS website. It’s fantastic to see that several of these projects are mentored by active contributors on our community forums and chat-rooms. The following selection are building on existing Libre Space Foundation codebase:

Upcoming Events with Libre Space Foundation presence

We are excited to have representatives at the following events over the next few months, if you are attending any of these events do feel free to talk to us about our projects, we are happy to share our passion!

  • Hamvention 2019, May 17th-19th, Xenia, Ohio, United Stated Of America. Find us at booth 1006.
  • 7th European Ground System Architecture Workshop (ESAW). May 21st-22nd at ESA ESOC, Darmstadt Germany.
  • Cloud Expo Asia, May 22nd-23rd, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
  • 4th ESA Cubesat Industry Days, June 4th-6th, ESA ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands.
  • Barcelona Techno Week 2019, June 17th-21st, Institute of Cosmos Sciences, Barcelona University of Physics, Spain
  • Ham Radio 2019, June 21st- 23rd, Neue Messe, Friedrichschafen, Germany. Find us at stand A1-562.
  • Software Defined Radio Academy 2019, June 22nd, a satellite event to Ham Radio 2019

Libre Space Activity Update 2019-03-27

MIT, Beyond the Cradle 2019

Members of the LSF team travelled to attend and speak at the “Beyond the Cradle” event held at MIT in Boston in the US. This lively conference was focused on envisioning a new space age and as such had a plethora of speakers from a diverse range of areas of the space community.

Pierros Papadeas spoke about the broad aims of Libre Space Foundation and the milestones so far, of course focusing on UPsat and SatNOGS as well as over viewing the open source working methodologies of our global contributors.

European Space Agency Advanced Manufacturing Workshop

Members of Libre Space Foundation attended the European Space Agency Advanced Manufacturing Workshop held at the ESTEC facility in the Netherlands. A packed couple of days with overviews of current state of the art advanced manufacturing processes being presented and also working groups discussing and debating how to increase the relevance of advanced manufacturing techniques in the space sector. LSF team keenly promoted the notion of open source approaches and certainly utilising this approach for developing some responses to the problems in post/concurrent processing, metrology and quality checks that seemed prevalent barriers reducing the uptake of emergent additive manufacturing methods. Around the workshop timetable LSF team managed to network well and identified some parties interested in SatNOGS station development and also met with ESA staff to discuss potential ESA projects LSF may be interested in applying to join.

Libre Space Foundation selected as a mentor organization for Google Summer of Code

We are excited to share the news that Libre Space Foundation is selected as a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code (aka GSoC) 2019! As a result of this selection Libre Space has summer opportunities for university students who are interested in working on open-source space technologies.

Google Summer of Code is an annual program providing university students the chance to work on open -source projects during their summer break while earning a stipend!

So now, when all the papers were done with essay helper, which you can find atHome Page to complete all your study tasks, you can go on with the summer plans!

If you are interested on working with open-source space technologies this summer don’t hesitate to thoroughly study the student guide, and check our detailed instructions, with suggested ideas, or introduce your own ideas for consideration.

FOSDEM 2019 Report

The Libre Space Foundations team and contributors attended a snowy FOSDEM to promote Libre Space and to work together on the various LSF projects. Around 21 regular contributors spent a lot of time together working in the apartment the LSF team had booked and it was wonderful to see the community meeting in real life and seeing the passion they have for Libre Space Foundation.

Much of the work in the apartment was around SatNOGS however wider LSF projects, rocketry, pocketqube and PQ9ish were also being developed and discussed.

We managed both days at FOSDEM to have a small booth in the AW building and they were extremely well attended. A huge amount of people stopped to talk and to ask questions and many expressed an interest in building a SatNOGS station. The UPsat model and story continues to enthral people which is a fabulous legacy of the mission and the Pocketqube hardware again ignites interest in satellites and the miniaturisation of electronics for space.

Whilst at FOSDEM numerous talks were delivered around LSF projects, and in particular the work on SDR makerspace. Nestoras Sdoukis delivered an excellent update on GR-Soapy. Alex Csete spoke about the SDR Makerspace as a whole, including information and updates around gr-leo and investigations of the IQ database.

Libre Space contributors visited many stands/booths and talks relating to LSF activity. It was great to see SatNOGS contributors showing the Grafana people the public dashboards we are making for SatNOGS. It was obvious the Grafana team were thrilled to see their work being used for such an innovative project. LSF contributors attended KiCAD talks and liased with Gitlab and many other of the open source tools and platforms utilised in LSF work.

Finally we wanted to thank everyone who came either as an LSF contributor, team member or the many hundreds of you who stopped at the booth for a chat. Chatting to you at and since the event leaves us invigorated and inspired to be part of this global team claiming space, the Libre way.

Libre Space Activity Update 2018-12-21

Welcome New Team Members

This week Libre Space formally welcomed four new contributors to the LSF team, these are;

  • Jo Hinchliffe
  • Fabian Schmidt
  • Patrick Dohmen
  • Cees Bassa

All four of them have been contributing tirelessly to our projects, in
meaningful ways, therefore it was only right to welcome them and include them as team contributors.

Busy times in the SatNOGs community

It’s been a big week behind the scenes at SatNOGS with a migration of the database performed and a change to enable a single sign on across all SatNOGS sites. These changes went extremely well and we thank the team who worked hard to make it happen. Also this week the community have been hunting for satellites launched on the Rocketlab ELaNA launch, capturing an ARISS scheduled contact and much more! Info on these and other SatNOGS activities can be seen here on the SatNOGS page.

SDR Makerspace and Fosdem

The SDR makerspace are pleased to announce that Alexander Csete is confirmed to speak about the project at next years FOSDEM. Its great to see our SDR makerspace project develop and gain some momentum.

Open Source Cubesat Workshop ’17

A few days ago Libre Space Foundation, the Librecube Initiative and European Space Agency’s European Space Operation Center Cybernetics Team came together and co-organized Open Source Cubesat Workshop ’17 (or OSCW17 for short) at the European Space Operations Center Headquarters in Germany.

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.

Successful deployment of UPSat, the first open source satellite

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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The moment of UPSat deployment, as seen from the International Space Station. UPSat can be seen on the left picture as the black cube near the center of the picture.
The moment of UPSat deployment, as seen from the International Space Station. UPSat can be seen on the left picture as the black cube near the center of the picture.

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.

UPSat CW telemetry beacon as captured by JA0CAW (Japan)
UPSat CW telemetry beacon as captured by JA0CAW (Japan)

More info about UPSat and its current status can be found in and on latest observations by SatNOGS Network

Libre Space Foundation has a new home –

A few days ago Libre Space Foundation got access to the “” 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 to 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

We aim for more open source collaboration in space in the future, don’t hesitate to join us.

Launch services for CANSAT Greece 2017

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 in their 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 first open source hardware satellite is delivered

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.

SatNOGS core team creates Libre Space Foundation after winning the Hackaday Prize

One month ago in Berlin Hackaday announced SatNOGS as the Grand prize winner of the Hackaday Prize 2014.




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.

Groundstations are just the beginning.