Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Raines, PhD


This thesis designs, develops, and uses software Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to analyze the communications capabilities of Radio Frequency (RF) Inter-Satellite Links (ISLs). The GUIs are geared towards analyzing the proposed ISLs of the Discoverer II program, but are general enough to permit analysis of any free-space RF ISLs. Discoverer II is a demonstration program of low-earth orbiting satellites and is primarily focused on satellite-based sensor technology. This thesis shows RF ISLs can meet the program requirement to broadcast the sensor data back to CONUS in near-real-time. The GUIs operate in real-time and explore trade-offs in the communications capability by varying the requirements, parameters, and components of the system design. Three GUIs are developed. The first GUl uses parameters from an assumed satellite constellation geometry to calculate the operating range of the ISLs. The second GUl solves for an unknown parameter of the communications system when all other parameters are given. The third GUl extends the analysis capability by plotting the trade-off between two parameters over a specified range of data. The analysis of the Discoverer II ISLs indicates that antenna radius is a very significant factor in the trade-off analysis, as well as being an important satellite design parameter.

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