Satellites communicate with Earth through ground stations. For a ground station to receive data from a satellite, the satellite must be overhead. For this reason, to maximize the amount of time satellites can send data back to Earth, it makes sense to use a network of ground stations set up in many different locations across the globe. As a civilization, we are at a precipice where space technology is at risk of being increasingly closed off as corporations begin selling access to space through their proprietary tools. Conversely, SatNOGS is building an open community dedicated to developing a network of connected ground stations that uses only open technologies and open source software.
The Wolbach Library and the Libre Space Foundation (LSF) are currently working with four public libraries from around the world to pilot the LSTN kit, a SatNOGS-powered ground station built from off-the-shelf parts. The LSTN ground stations receive satellite communications in the 70cm band, which is a common frequency range for small satellite missions. We are in the process of developing materials so that library communities can understand the technologies involved, and take part in both building and operating their LSTN ground station. These materials will be available from the