Position and Identification Data in the Form of Short Messages via VHF

Developed through C3S’s ARTES open competition tender, OWL is a VHF transmitter designed for the “Tuna Can” segment specified by the CubeSat Design Specification. The sensor measurement frequency and beacon message frequency are configurable. It is easy to integrate and operates autonomously, with features like a built-in battery and a self-deploying VHF antenna. Mechanical integration is achieved with 4 screws. To ensure independent operation from the host satellite, deployment detection from the POD can be achieved through either a satellite-OWL electrical interface or mechanical actuation of the integrated switch in OWL by the POD. Power and signal interfaces between the satellite and OWL module are isolated for error prevention.

Technical Parameters

Technical Parameters

  • Mass less than 150 g
  • Dimensions 59x64x36 mm
  • It comes with an integrated GNSS module, battery, and an optional dosimeter 
  • Based on the RILDOS standard
  • It can independently measure TID and per-axis angular velocity

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More Details

OWL’s core functions are managed by four main blocks:


OWL-EPS handles the power supply, supervising the module’s built-in battery, providing approximately 1 day of operation. It interfaces with the host satellite for external power input and offers a wide voltage range (3-16.8V) for easy connection. The EPS also distributes energy to OWL’s subsystems through current-limited switches, ensuring current limitations even in case of OWL failures.


OWL-COM manages RF communication with Earth, transmitting beacon frames. It comprises a self-unfolding V-dipole antenna made from steel strips, an RF power amplifier, and a communication chip. It uses LoRa modulation, which is compatible with various customer-side devices, and enables reception even for ground stations with low transmitter power and lacking rotating antennas. The system is designed to function with low-gain ground station antennas sensitive to the entire sky.


OWL-OBC manages the following tasks through a single microcontroller:

  • Gathering up-to-date data from the GNSS module, Total Ionizing Dosimeter (TID), and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).
  • Assembling beacon frames for transmission by the COM.
  • Initiating antenna deployment after successful space deployment.


OWL-WDT, the watchdog module, serves two critical functions:

  • Preventing the embedded system from becoming unresponsive due to software failures.
  • Safeguarding against non-destructive failures in OWL-EPS, like latch-ups, that could otherwise cause OBC shutdown.