The U.S. Air Force, security firm Red Balloon Security, and the Defense Digital Service technology team established the NyanSat project to build an open source satellite communication tool from inexpensive hardware.
The design uses an affordable inertial measurement unit (IMU) — a device used in satellites, drones, and elsewhere for navigation and orientation — to direct ground-station antennae to points in the sky without costly motors and controls. A NyanSat ground station knows its location via IMU orientation and a global-positioning system, while an application programming interface eases trajectory programming.
Red Balloon's Antenny motherboard is available in a $1 kit and as open source schematics.
The goal is to build an army of users to set up NyanSat basestations to communicate with known satellites, or investigate stealthier or undocumented objects in orbit.
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