Texas Spacecraft Lab

The Satellite Program at UT Austin is housed in two primary locations: the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) on the main UT campus and the Flight Integration laboratory at the Center for Space Research (CSR). The facilities are devoted to student design, prototyping, and flight assembly work. Educational opportunities are offered to undergraduate and graduate students under faculty supervision in each of these facilities.

Texas Spacecraft Laboratory

The Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) is a meeting place for students to work collaboratively on hardware and software for student satellite projects. The TSL is located in the Aerospace Engineering building on the main UT campus, and work is performed exclusively by UT Austin undergraduate and graduate students under faculty supervision. The lab houses computer workstations for students to perform design and analysis work using software such as SolidWorks, ExpressPCB, MATLAB, and Systems Tool Kit (STK). The lab also contains ESD-safe workstations equipped with soldering irons. Additional TSL equipment includes a clean bench, a thermal vacuum chamber, an oven for PCB preparation, and various tools, equipment, and materials for mechanical and electrical spacecraft manufacturing.

Ground Station

UT Austin’s Aerospace Engineering building on the main university campus features a satellite ground station (SGS). The SGS includes a VHF/UHF Yagi antenna assembly on the roof of the building and a room on the top floor dedicated to satellite operations. Within the operations room, students use a software-defined radio transceiver to communicate with spacecraft through computer interfaces, aided by utilities such as GNU Radio, Ham Radio Control Libraries, and Gpredict.

Flight Integration Laboratory

The Flight Integration Laboratory was created to process flight hardware in a secure manner and in a secure location. (The Flight Integration Laboratory is located at UT’s Center for Space Research, off the main university campus.) This facility is equipped with multiple ESD-safe workstations; these stations have a primary area for satellite integration and three secondary work areas for subsystem integration.