P19151: Satellite Tracking System

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Our vision for the Problem Definition Phase is to accurately identify all areas of concern and establish necessary background information that will be needed for the phases that follow. We plan to formulate use cases in the form of flow charts that will help to develop requirements and set bounds on specifications. A customer interview will be conducted to ensure that we are completely understanding the needs and wants of the customer and to help develop a customer requirements list, and from these requirements we will generate associated Engineering Requirements. We will identify all constraints associated with the project and ensure that our solution falls within those constraint boundaries. We will discuss design trade offs that may arise and collectively determine how to proceed. We will keep the EDGE page as up to date as possible and aim to have it completely and fully filled out by the end of the Problem Definition Phase. All associated documents will be uploaded to the EDGE page.

Project Summary

A satellite tracking system may be used to follow satellite paths and obtain an optimal signal along all corresponding points by maneuvering the direction of the system’s antenna. Currently, the antenna must be manually held and aimed at the moving satellite. The satellite position must be approximated and the signal recorded with a connected laptop. The signal may not always be available or the satellite flyover may occur during times of extreme weather, each of which make positioning the antenna difficult.

The desired outcome of this project is to create an electro-mechanical assembly that can track the path of a satellite and receive the strongest available signal along its entire path across the visible sky by altering the antenna direction based on the current location of the satellite. The antenna assembly must be somewhat lightweight, function throughout variable weather conditions, have an onboard networked system that allows remote access and function without being directly connected to an external power source.

The expected deliverables for this project will thus include the antenna assembly, a system for controlling the assembly, and a service/operational manual.


Name Position
Dr. Miguel Bazdresch Customer
Dr. David Orlicki Faculty Guide
Martin Pepe Faculty Guide
Bill Nowak Project Guide
RIT College of Applied Science and Technology Sponsor
RIT Faculty & Students Future Users
RIT Staff Facilities Management Services

Use Cases

When a path is requested of the Satellite Tracker, it will gather and store data from the expected satellite as shown below.

Use Case Scenario 1

Use Case Scenario 1

The Satellite Tracker may need to follow a new path defined by the user, as shown below.

Use Case Scenario 2

Use Case Scenario 2

At times, the Satellite Tracker, like any machine, will break down or wear out and a maintenance man will follow the steps above to remedy the situation, as shown below.

Use Case Scenario 3

Use Case Scenario 3

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Minimum requirements:

Additional required deliverables:

Customer Requirements (Needs)

  1. Shall aim an antenna along a path defined by the user.
  2. Shall be ruggedized against any weather condition regularly seen by Rochester.
  3. The antenna shall be able to point to any coordinate within the observable hemisphere of its installation point.
  4. The system shall remotely store recorded sensor data, such that it can accessed and processed at the convenience of the user, independent of when it's recorded.
  5. Satellite paths shall be defined to the system through a user interface.
  6. There shall be no wired external connections from the assembly (i.e. for power or internet).
  7. Shall be light enough to be carried by 2 average adults.
  8. Shall fit through a standard doorway or break down into subassemblies that fit through a doorway.
  9. Shall be easy to maintain.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)


House of Quality

Customer Requirement / Engineering Requirement Matrix

Customer Requirement / Engineering Requirement Matrix


Benchmarking Table

Benchmarking Table

Design Review Materials

The Design review presentation can be found here.

Plans for next phase

Home | Planning & Execution | Imagine RIT

Problem Definition | Systems Design | Preliminary Detailed Design | Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep | Subsystem Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test | Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation