Tag: gsoc

GSoC Project: Expanding events detection in Poliastro-Yash Gondhalekar

Supporting knowledge and scientific research are among our main goals at Libre Space Foundation. This is why we have been participating in the Google Summer of Code for the third year in a row, mentoring three amazing projects. The first project is about Improving the transmission capabilities of gr-satnogs developed by Michalis Raptakis. We presented this project in more detail last week. This week, we are delving into Poliastro.

Poliastro and GSoC

In 2021 Poliastro is participating in the Google Summer of Code programme via Libre Space Foundation. Yash Gondhalekar, a Computer Science student at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani, India, is spending the summer working on the project. Tinkering with the code to achieve a streamlined execution of algorithms, adding event detection capabilities and improving the tool.

Poliastro: An Introduction

Poliastro is a pure Python library that provides an API tackling issues of astrodynamics and orbital mechanics. Its goal is to benefit users by providing valuable scientific information. This information will contribute towards creating more effective space strategies, improved orbital designs and more efficient maintenance policies.

The software for this tool is under constant improvement and development. Thus updates are to be released regularly.

Poliastro: A closer look

Events detection is a challenging process. Upon embarking on the GSoC experience, the Poliastro team began focusing on the eclipse detector, which appeared to be a more challenging task to tackle. After brainstorming over the most suitable method to handle this, the team decided to opt for SciPy’s event support.

Though SciPy did offer a solution to approach the issues, the team “.. still needed to come up with a time-varying and continuous “shadow” function without having to solve analytical equations manually .”

For this to be achieved, an equation had to be formulated.

After a series of geometric manipulation tests, an equation was created comprised of classical orbital elements. But the team did not stop working on the solution. As Yash points out, ” We were still questioning the performance and complexity of the method since by enacting it, we could lose the accuracy of entry and exit times of the event. In any case, the other (methods) didn’t seem to work just yet, so we decided to go with this approach since it looked feasible.”

At the same time, the team also worked on the altitude and latitude crossing detectors. However, soon enough, they realised that there are far more intricacies in the longitude detector. This required more thinking and more exploration to find the right approach and method to deal with the issue. ” All the events are supposed to work for any attractor, thus aligning with one of (the )Poliastro’s aims of having capabilities not restricted to (the )Earth.”

By leveraging some of the in-built functionalities of solve-ivp, users can stop the integration when an event is detected or control the direction of triggering an event. With the development of validation cases for the Orekit software, the team enhanced the possibility of further implementation; the tool was optimised even more by adding tests, fixing bugs and improving computation.

You can read how the team went about approaching all the issues arising in Yash’s detailed article.

Want to join the team?

As is the case with all the project communities at Libre Space Foundation, the Poliastro team is an open and inclusive community welcoming members from all over the world. In his first article about the GSoC experience with Poliastro, Yash states, “Needless to say, this is a place where I would get to interact with an engaging community and learn several things”.

If this sounds like an interesting project to you and you want to be part of this team, you can join the dedicated Poliastro channel on element/matrix and contribute to the discussions there.

The next steps

Yash and the team are working hard on further optimising Poliastro, and in the weeks to come, more event detectors will be included!

*You can follow the updates of the Poliastro project here.

Google Summer of Code 2021: Announcing the three projects that will participate in the program with Libre Space Foundation

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!

Call for students: Join us in building open-source space technologies through Google Summer of Code 2021

Google announced today that Libre Space Foundation is among the mentoring organizations of Google’s Summer of Code 2021.

This selection provides opportunities for students that would like to work on open-source space technologies during their summer break and start participating in the Libre Space community.

If you are an eligible student and 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.

To get a taste (and inspiration) of the work of last year’s mentees check the reports of their contributions to Deep Learning and Space Weather for satellite data and a python library to detect RF collisions in SatNOGS.

Deep Learning and Space Weather in GSoC’s 2020 Libre Space Foundation contributions

In May 2020, we announced that Libre Space Foundation would be mentoring two projects for the Google Summer of Code 2020. As the students are about to submit their final work, we would like to share with you an overview of their achievements/progress this summer. One of the GSoC proposals is to create a Python module to assist SatNOGS operators in tackling RF collisions. More details on the progress of this project and an update about it will be given to you on the SatNOGS blog within the next weeks.

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.

Polaris output of CubeBel-1

Practically Polaris consists of four distinct parts:

  1. polaris fetch: It fetches data from various sources, such as telemetry from the SatNOGS Network and Space Weather from SWPC (NOAA).
  2. 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.
  3. polaris viz: A 3d graph-based visualisation module, which offers an intuitive graph representation of data.
  4. 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.
Polaris architecture

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.

Red coloured nodes 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

anomaly detection graph

Student Takeaways

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.
  • Learned to work on CSS and JavaScript to create a blog documenting his work and so inspiring us to write this post.
  • 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.

Future work

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.

Community takeaways

Adithya’s final GSoC blog post carries a very moving message for his mentors.

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.

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.

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.