Spatial Modulation Transceiver Using FPGA for CubeSAT Communications

  • Aysha Alharam

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Nowadays, many organizations and universities are involved in CubeSat development due to its low cost and short development cycle. The design of CubeSat has many challenges, such as the limited design are, low power consumption, and limited data rate of the downlink. Applying Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology in CubeSat communication increases the downlink data rate at the cost of increased power consumption. Thus, it presents a challenge to CubeSats due to the limited available power. Spatial modulation was introduced in wireless communication to overcome the traditional MIMO technique limitations. In this research, a spatial modulation digital transceiver was implemented on the Artix-7 FPGA board for CubeSat communication. Usage of spatial modulation in digital transceiver for CubeSat allows using multiple antennas while maintaining limited power consumption by using only one RF chain. The implemented design in this research is considered as the communication subsystem for an existing 3U CubeSat Project. The implemented system was compared with the existing COST transceiver regarding its system budgets, such as mass, power, link, and data budgets. The results show that spatial modulation based digital transceiver increases the data budge by 1.5 times the current one while preserving overall other subsystem budgets within the expected margin. Moreover, the result shows that the implemented design increases the data downlink by increasing the data rate without an overhead on the system performance. SM-BPSK and SMQPSK designs were compared with BPSK and QPSK in terms of their BER curve; they show similar performance. Thus, this system can be applied for CubeSat communication without exceeding any of its limitations.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageAmerican English


  • Spatial Modulation
  • MIMO
  • CubeSat
  • FPGA.

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