P19151: Satellite Tracking System


Project Summary Project Information

Students in ECTET courses relating to wireless communications have the opportunity to study communication protocols used by certain satellites, such as the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather satellites, which continuously transmit images of the Earth's surface, such that weather patterns can be observed. As part of this study, students come to understand the operation of SDRs (Software-Defined Radios). It is also necessary that an antenna be used to receive the signal from the satellite, and for best results, this antenna should be highly directional, and therefore needs to continuously have its position adjusted such that it points towards the satellite whenever the satellite is passing overhead, thereby giving the appearance that the antenna is following the satellite through the sky.

In previous semesters, students have accomplished this tracking of satellites by standing in the RIT parking lot, and estimating where to point the antenna in order to maximize the strength of the received signal, while recording the signal with a laptop. Sometimes, it is possible to configure the software being used to record the signal such that the signal strength can be viewed in real time, and used as a type of feedback as to whether the antenna is being aimed correctly. This is not always possible however, and furthermore, there are a number of other factors which can make the capturing of satellite signals a challenge, if they are dependent on a person being available to hold and aim the antenna, such as inclement weather, or the satellite pass occurring at some inconvenient time of day.

The purpose of this satellite tracker is to design and construct an electro-mechanical assembly that will hold and aim the antenna where the user tells it to. The system will have an onboard computer which is connected to RITs network, which allows it to be controlled remotely.

The PRP can be found here.

Project Image

Project Image

Project Name
Satellite Tracking Automated Receiver (STAR)
Project Number
Project Family
Start Term
End Term
Project Guide
Bill Nowak, Martin Pepe
Faculty Guide
Dr. Miguel Bazdresch, Dr. David Orlicki
Primary Customer
Dr. Miguel Bazdresch
Sponsor (financial support)
College of Applied Science and Technology - Department of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology
Supplemental funding provided by a gift from Harris Corporation

Team Members

Pictured, from left to right: Steven Latham, James Zhang, Max Proskauer, Noah Lach, Nick Blachowicz and Peter Miller

Pictured, from left to right: Steven Latham, James Zhang, Max Proskauer, Noah Lach, Nick Blachowicz and Peter Miller

Name Major Role Contact
Nick Blachowicz EET Team Leader ndb6815@rit.edu
Steven Latham EE Secretary sl4812@rit.edu
Peter Miller EE Communicator pam3815@rit.edu
Noah Lach ME Design Engineer nxl8400@rit.edu
James Zhang ME Purchasing sxz3065@rit.edu
Max Proskauer CE Lead Engineer mp1902@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Implementation Validation Presentation & Dissemination




Risk Management

Communication & Minutes

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


Mechanical Drawings

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams

Facility Layout



Test Fixtures


Test Plans

Analysis Results


Test Results

Design Review Documents

Technical Paper


Imagine RIT Exhibit