The RF Suitcase, an integrated RF subsystem - Celestia STS

About RF Suitcase


The RF Suitcase is an integrated RF subsystem for ground station and satellite radio frequency compatibility testing (RFCT). The RF Suitcase (or RFS) integrates part of the real spacecraft RF chain into a transportable system that can generate representative Telemetry at RF level and receive Telecommands.

The system is typically built using Engineering Models (EMs) of the spacecraft Transponder, TWTAs, Diplexer, and Filters. The source of TM and sink to the TC can either be the spacecraft On-Board Computer (OBC) or a TM/TC simulator.

The purpose of the RF Suitcase is to allow a ground station or Ground Station Reference Facility (GSRF) to verify that the ground station equipment is compatible with the spacecraft and vice-versa. As such it is imperative that the RFS operator has visibility into the data to verify that the RFS is receiving and transmitting. To achieve this, C-STS utilizes a special configuration of their TMTC Front-End products to simulate, route and monitor the data that goes to and comes from the transponder. Not only does this allow positive testing to be performed whereby data integrity is demonstrated, but this also allows non-nominal situations to be tested to assess border conditions such as minimum data transition densities, etc that may not be possible it the OBC was the sole source/sink of the data.

The RFS provides a complete turnkey system including the power and control of the flight hardware, integrated RF subsystem, and an overall software control system with local GUI.

Satellite Testing Systems - RF-Suitcase
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Key Features


  • Turnkey test system
  • Integrated portable satellite RF communications system for RF Compatibility Testing
  • TM/TC Data monitoring, and generation
  • Overall system control software

Key Features


  • Turnkey test system
  • Integrated portable satellite RF communications system for RF Compatibility Testing
  • TM/TC Data monitoring, and generation
  • Overall system control software

The system configuration depends on the spacecraft requirements. Typically this is integrated into a single 19″rack. The system can be controlled / monitored using an embedded computer or remotely e.g. via a laptop in the ground station reference facility.

C-STS has delivered the RF Suitcase for many ESA missions including XMM, Integral, Rosetta, Galileo and Euclid RF Suitcase (delivered in October 2019).