Sophisticated, Hands-On Construction

In Marina del Rey, SERC uses a variety of equipment to create research testbeds and hardware components for satellite and space activities.

  • A benchtop computer numerical control (CNC) mill and lathe to create nanosatellite scale structures and components.  The CNCs, operated by students, can convert Solidworks CAD files through MasterCam into G-files for execution.
  • A 3D printer large enough to build an entire Cubesat prototype structure from ABS plastic.
  • Digital electronic bench with component level microscope and soldering irons.
  • Structural integration benches for mechanical and pressurization hardware development.
  • High precision flat table that serves as an air bearing testbed and an optics table for   optics alignment.
  • 15’x15’ Class 100,000 Clean room with full HEPA filtering and electrical ground benches.
  • Full 5,000 psi compressor for high pressure filling station.
  • Digital/electronic scopes and test equipment suitable for nano-satellite integration and test.
(top) Oscilloscope and Cicuit Board (bottom) Stuent Working with Oscilloscope

Direct Satellite Monitoring

SERC maintains two ground-tracking antennas and a station for tracking satellite projects:

  • A 4.5 meter mesh parabolic dish antenna located on top of USC’s physics building (ACB)) on the main campus in downtown Los Angeles.  The antenna has a complete two-axis tracking system and a separate, climate-controlled facility that houses the operations PC equipped with satellite tracking and receiver control software, and a full RF suite of components.  The dish is good from 1-6Ghz and has the performance to track both LEO and GEO satellites to sub-degree accuracy.
  • A 3 meter solid parabolic dish located on a moveable trailer, enabling USC teams to move the dish to ground locations that support sky coverage and inclinations.  Equipped with customer feed horn assembly for various frequencies, the dish has a two-axis AlfaSPID rotor and is controlled via an onboard laptop.  Power is supplied externally or via an onboard generator.
Students in front of Huge Plate Antenna