SOCIS2019 ideas for + KSat-Stuttgart e.V. + IFP University of Stuttgart + ep2lab of Carlos III University of Madrid

ESA Summer of Code in Space 2019 with , KSat-Stuttgart eV, the Institute of Photogrammetry (IFP, University of Stuttgart) and ep2lab of Carlos III University of Madrid

This is’s common ideas page for ESA Summer of Code in Space 2019. Read everything, have fun, make space possible! You want to find here …

  1. General information
  2. Our Coding Ideas List for you
  3. Coding Ideas Full Description
  4. Infos for Students
  5. What else do we offer?
  6. Contacts

1. General information:

Constellation brings space to people by means of citizen science. We believe there is an open space for everybody …

„Space, is big, really big, you just do not believe how much, hugely, mind-bogglingly, big it is, I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemists, but that’s just peanuts to space “ – Douglas Adams

We really enjoyed mentoring creative students during ESA SOCIS 2013 to 2017 and Google Summer of Code (GSOC) 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018. We’ve learned a lot, so we want to share this experience again and support you! We collaborated with the Cosmic Dust Group and the KSat-Stuttgart Team of the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart. With them, we have launched two new apps, we even supported the European Space Agency (ESA) and their Interplanetary meteoroid environment for exploration (IMEX) project, we released several papers, simulated comets worth 10000 hours of computing power and discussing our findings with an astronaut and experts. How cool is that? And we want you to be part of this again. So we are re-applying this year and give you three chances to be part of this coding family.

– Be a GSOC student! 
– Be a GSOC Mentor! 
– Provide a GSOC Project!

We did not expect overwhelming reactions about our ideas. So we would like to expand the mentoring and projecting the process. There is space for everyone!

2. Coding Ideas List

Okay, ready for lift-off, we are approaching our coding ideas for GSOC 2018. 
The following is our list of current tasks we offer you. Feel free to select one or more for your application. If you can not find one you like, we have always attached it to you. The Cometary Dust simulation for ESA in the next video what so proposed by a student.

And we have lift-off with headlines (full description below) … and IFP

  • [socis19-a-lp1] Lone Pseudoranger: Orbit determination by doppler shift tracking cubesats
  • [socis19-a-dd1] DirectDemod: Decoding of PSK, BPSK, QPSK of Meteor M2 satellites (Improvement)
  • [socis19-a-dd3] DirectDemod: Improving the Decoding of Automatic Picture Transmission (NOAA)
  • [socis19-a-dd4] DirectDemod: Automatic Picture Transmission (NOAA) – BigImage and Globe Projection: Add merger of overlapping noaa records from different stations

More ideas by KSat-Stuttgart eV and ep2lab @ UC3M

  • You can find more projects on the current GSOC ideas page, you can tackle during the ESA SOCIS 2019 campaign under the SOCIS conditions.


3. Coding Ideas Full Description and IFP

[socis19-a-lp1] Lone Pseudoranger: Orbit determination by doppler shift tracking cubesats

Tracking CubeSats by its frequency’s doppler shift shall bring another feature to our DGSN system. Depending on each ground station’s location, the same signal will be received with another dopplershift pattern of the satellite’s RF-signal. This task is connected to the [gsoc19-a-sd1] task, from where the set of doppler shift patterns will come from.

Expected Outcome: Your task is to determine the position of the satellite by its doppler shift pattern. For this, you will create the mathematics basis for the algorithm, you will describe/explain the mathmatics in a suitable form to the community (wiki, github page), write a simulator on the basis on satellite positions by the TLE and then setting up a measurement campaign with the community to provide you real RF-data from several ground stations so that you can validate the simulated positions with those of the calculated one.

Mentor: A. Hornig, Kai Wilke

Code Difficulty: Python-high


[socis19-a-dd1] DirectDemod: Decoding of PSK, BPSK, QPSK

And for those of you who the previous ideas were boring, cubesats also use phase shift keying. For that, the FM demodulator needs to receive some tweaks and therefore the decoding algorithms needs to reflect it. In the future, with more and more CubeSats going to Sband (2.2GHz) and even Xband (8GHz), PSK is the standard to be. We want to be prepared for this and have this „child’s discipline“ amoung our ideas.

meteor m2
meteor m2: rough demo decoding by DirectDemod from GSOC2018 student Vinay

Expected Outcome: On „our demonstration day“, we want to make contact with the Flying Laptop of the University of Stuttgart. That would be our high hanging fruit, but for the low hanging fruits, so there are cubesats with lower datarates to start with. At the end of the QPSK signal we recorded as an RF file.

Mentor: A. Hornig, Vinay Chandrasekhar

Code Difficulty: Python-high


[socis19-a-dd3] DirectDemod: Improving the Decoding of Automatic Picture Transmission (NOAA)

One of the cool things about space is peacefully working together and using space. The NOAA Weather satellites are good examples here, even though they were financed by the US, they offer all their home harbor. These maps allow ships to recognize dangerous storms on their routes so they can ship around it.

map overlay example
map overlay example of NOAA decoder in DirectDemod you shall improve

The NOAA satellites are like lines scanners constantly scanning the Earth below them and directly sending each line down to Earth. This is done with the APT method, the automatic picture transmission, that some people also call „weather fax“ because of the noise pattern that you can. Like the mentioned software before, there is no software yet. RF data in high sampling rate and IQ-mode and output the final data (in this case the weather map). For DGSN and so everyone else, we would like you to develope open source tool.

Expected Outcome: At „our demonstration day“. The RF data will be grabbed from the RTL-SDR receiver in IQ mode and you will use your software to generate the maps as seen in the above video. But now with only one tool, directly and by keeping the 2MHz original signal usefull for DGSN and our tracking algorithm.

Mentor: A. Hornig, Vinay Chandrasekhar

Code Difficulty: Python-high


[gsoc19-a-dd4] DirectDemod: Automatic Picture Transmission (NOAA) – BigImage and Globe Projection: Add merger of overlapping noaa records from different stations

You can tackle an open issue here and add a new feature. What shall we do with all the many single „weather maps“? Of course, let’s stitch them together to cover the globe. We will receive many maps by our DGSN stations and also many more people can receive NOAA weather maps at any given orbit they NOAA-satellites do. We could all work together and form a spatial and time map of everything we as a community receive, and make it accessable to everyone.

Expected Outcome: create a „big map“ of single weather maps received by NOAA satellites. There are two ways how to do. 1. stitch them together like a panorama photo. Or in a better way, 2. map each pixel of the weather map to the geo location and project it on a virtual globe. And in the very end, make it possible to scroll through time and project the pixels according to the timestamp. This shall be possible be a single person on a single PC loading in a set of NOAA data he/she owns himself. Or as the last step, online.

Mentor: A. Hornig, Vinay Chandrasekhar

Code Difficulty: Python-high



[socis19XX] Propose YOUR idea!

This is up to you! Propose your idea what you think we need and miss. Please contact us to discuss it beforehand. Also provide your expected results. Having working code would be beneficial!

[XXXX19xX] Previously unused ideas of other coding campaigns

Click the link above to find previous ideas of previous coding campaigns. Please refer to their ideas code (in []).

4. Info for Students:

Being accepted as a SOCIS 2019 student is quite competitive. Accepted students typically have thoroughly researched the technologies of their proposed project and have been in frequent contact with potential mentors. Simply copying and pasting an idea here will not work. On the other hand, creating a completely new idea without first consulting potential mentors is unlikely to work out. But we encourage you to also submit and post your own ideas. Prepared and working code works best for our well-acceptance.

As a result of our last two participations in Google and ESA summer of code campaigns, we adapted our selection process. We now have a transparent application scheme where you see for what you get points. And you get points for what we expect of you. We tried to find a good compromise between the fundamental skills we want to see, and also give newcomers and space students a fair chance. And as you can see, there is also a way to surprise us with your creativity. We like to be convinced with working prototypes and good community interaction. Overall, we BELIEVE everyone can do that and we mentors will help you help yourself.

When you will ask us afterwards, we will also take time to discuss with you how you ranked. This could help you improve for next year’s SOCIS and GSOC.

Transparent Application Rating (New since 2016)

Please read the baseline and the optional parts of the pointing schemes. We are listing those points to help you successfully apply and not missing an obvious point. You can always do more, but please check those points. We will be fair, we promise. You can always ask us and we will help you.


  • 5pts Communicated with us org mentors (via their emails below)?
  • 5pts Communicated with the community (via email list)?
  • 5pts Does your application contain a motivation letter? Tell us why you like us and our projects! And prove that you know who we are and what we do!  (1 page is okay)
  • 5pts Do you reference projects you coded WITH links to repos or provided code?
  • 5pts Do you provide all demanded ways of contact (email, skype, mobile/phone, and twitter, chat and/or tumblr if available)
  • 3pts Do you add a preliminary project plan (before, during, after GSOC)?
  • 3pts Do you state which project you are applying for and why you think you can do that?
  • 3pts Do you have time for GSOC? This is a paid job! State that you have time in your motivation letter, and list other commitments!
  • 1pts Only applied via the SOCIS 2019 page (please don’t send it directly to us!)
  • 1pts Added a link to ALL your application files to a cloud hoster like github or dropbox? (easy points!  )
  • 0pts Be honest! Only universal Karma points. 
  • 5pts Did you do push code to the existing code? Or did a bugfix?


  • 10pts Do you have an aerospace background and did you reference it in your application?
  • 15pts Wild space. Be creative, impress us! 
  • 5pts completed CV (1-2 pages optimal!)
  • 2pts If you select hardware related projects, do you have (access to) it?

Again, please try to get the maximum number of points! 

5. What else do we offer?

  • Awesome space projects
  • long term involvement
  • scientific papers with you as Co-Author for international conferences (video below)
  • letter of recommendation

6. #contact