MESSAGE FORMATTING

Ground station networks exist that invite registered satellite clients to utilize their provided fee based download and upload services. Example: One University Ground station in USA offers pre setup message capture and delivery services to clients for the 15 minute pass overhead window at their location, using a good size dish that has to track (using latest Keplerian elements) the satellite passing overhead. Ground station services costs can be reduced by maximizing automation, so that perhaps each ground reception transaction, can be done with a minimum of ground station staff time. I think a fee to cover their communications infrastructure, for the say 15 minute pass is, maybe ~$300 USD.

Is there an existing /Should there be a standardized message format that most or all the ground stations can count on to easily capture a download message and send to their client?

Something like:
TIME DATE SAT ID MESSAGE NUMBER TITLE STATUS REPORT SENSOR 1 SENSOR 2 SENSOR 3, etc etc... And, how to do that, if messages are encrypted? How to set up modulation schemes, error detection codes, etc. Can a ground station/ are there any that exist that have a web interface for a client to set up a coming overhead pass?

  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't aware such a thing existed at all. Could you provide links to companies that do this? Might be useful to contact them directly and ask? $\endgroup$
    – user7073
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


The relevant standards body is CCSDS (the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems). They publish a set of "Blue Books" containing recommended interfaces and protocols for telemetry formatting, data compression, encryption, and so forth.

  • $\begingroup$ Hey Thanks a lot Jim! I was aware of the CCSDS but have not read all of their huge collection of references. Nice to know about the Blue Books. I will check them out. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 12:35

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