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The 5G Space Communications Lab (5G-SpaceLab) is a joint project of the CDF, CubeSatLab, LunaLab and SatComLab of SnT to create a unique integrated and interdisciplinary space communications and control emulation platform for the next-generation of space applications. The 5G-SpaceLab will allow to test, validate and demonstrate space operations for many different scenarios that includes Earth-orbiting satellite communications, Earth-Moon communications among many. The main goal of 5G-SpaceLab testbed and to present its initial capacities by introducing current 3GPP standards such as 5G and Beyond into the space applications. The mentioned capacities include the evaluation of different small satellite formation control and cooperation configurations for non-terrestrial 5G networks or the realistic emulation of a space mission control room for communications and remote control of lunar rovers, and assets.


5G SpaceLab: Unleash the Potential of Future Space Communication: OpenAirInterface Summer 2021 Virtual Workshop

Testbed Architecture#

The hardware testbed architecture is composed by different elements which are based on FPGAs and software-defined radios. This includes the ground nodes, mobile-terminals, and satellite payloads. The ground nodes (base station or mobile-terminals) are implemented using OpenAirInterface 4G/5G and srsRAN stack running on top of intel-based processors and coupled with USRPs for the RF signal generation and acquisition part.

The satellite channel emulator which is a backbone of the 5GSpacelab testbed is implemented on top of a customised FPGA boards from Vadatech company. The Channel emulator is able to reproduce the effects of the NTN channel such as geometry, link budget, delay and Doppler in the signals travelling from, to or between the satellites. We have as well software-defined satellite payload from GomSpace which are acting as 5G relays (transparent payload) that are monitored and controlled using GNURadio.

5GSpaceLab Testbed setup

5G-Spacelab Testbed: GEO, and LEO NTN development: Recorded during Oltjon Kodheli PhD Thesis.

In this section, we show the 5G-Spacelab capabilities, by focussing on the telecommunication infrastructure and the NTN features within the testbed.

5G-Spacelab Testbed: GEO, and LEO NTN development.
Developed by: Abdelrahman Astro, Oltjon Kodheli, and Mohammad Gholamian
Voice: Oltjon Kodheli

References and resources for more information:1, 2, 3, 4.

  1. Kodheli, Oltjon, Abdelrahman Astro, Jorge Querol, Mohammad Gholamian, Sumit Kumar, Nicola Maturo, and Symeon Chatzinotas. “Random Access Procedure over Non-Terrestrial Networks: From Theory to Practice.” IEEE Access 9 (2021): 109130–43. .
  2. Kodheli, Oltjon, Jorge Querol, Abdelrahman Astro, Sofia Coloma, Loveneesh Rana, Zhanna Bokal, Sumit Kumar, et al. “5G Space Communications Lab: Reaching New Heights.” 2022 18th International Conference on Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems (DCOSS), 2022.
  3. Kumar, Sumit, Ashish Kumar Meshram, Abdelrahman Astro, Jorge Querol, Symeon Chatzinotas, Thomas Schlichter, Guido Casati, et al. “OpenAirInterface as a platform for 5G-NTN Research and Experimentation.” FNWF 2022, IEEE Future Networks World Forum (2022):