Category: Updates

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 https://upsat.gr and on latest observations by SatNOGS Network https://network.satnogs.org

Libre Space Foundation has a new home – libre.space

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

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.

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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.