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Friday, January 6, 2012

Hackerspace Global Grid [shackspace wiki]

Hackerspace Global Grid

Hello fellow traveler of the interwebs.
If you've ended up here because of the articles posted at BBC, msnbc, or all the other news media fronts, you've arrived at the right place. Here is where it's actually happening.
You might want to consider a quick stop-over at the Frequently Asked Questions page before diving into the details of the project itself.

As proposed on CCCamp11 we need our own infrastructure and space program. HGG's aim is to develop a modular antenna grid for satellite communication.
Vision: The hacker community needs a fallback infrastructure in case of natural and economic disaster to stay connected.
Long term goal: Design and build a modular terrestrial base-station for satellite communication. Based on open-source hard- and software as well as open standards.
Short term goal: Gain insight into the nature, protocols and security features of satellite <> earth communication. Build a working prototype of a modular receiver station with networking capabilities. Provide interfaces to existing high performance computing platforms (GPU-based and similar systems).


Frequently Asked Questions

We're maintaining a list of frequently asked questions / FAQs.


NEXT MEETING: 2012-01-06 19:00

up: Project HGG

Project HGG: FAQ


What is HGG / Hackerspace Global Grid?

Hackerspace Global Grid (HGG in short) is our answer to Nick Farr's (et al.) call at Chaos Communication Camp August 2011 for a „Hacker Space Program“.
The „Hacker Space Program“ has the ambitious goal of putting a hacker on the moon 23 years from CCCamp11.
HGG's aim is to provide the core infrastructure required along the way. We want to understand, build and make available satellite based communication for the hackerspace community and all of mankind.

What is Constellation

Constellation is a platform for research projects that use Internet-connected computers to do research in various aerospace related sciences and engineering. You can participate by downloading and running a free program on your computer.
Constellation will provide computing infrastructure for processing complex data captured using Hackerspace Global Grid distributed ground stations and the global computer grid, where distributed ground station hardware can be plugged to, thus forming the needed sensor grid.

Who are you?

We're a bunch of hobbyist hackers, tinkerers and part time scientists.
At the moment the core team is based in Stuttgart, Germany and regularly meets at shackspace, the Stuttgart hackerspace.
We are not: the Chaos Computer Club (CCC).

I want to know more, who can I talk to?

You can talk to hadez. Email: hadez att shackspace dot de.

How did all this get started?

This project is a direct answer to Nick Farr, Lars Weiler, and Jens Ohlig's call for a “Hacker Space Program“ at Chaos Communication Camp August 2011. There's also a more detailed writeup on the program.
The basic idea for HGG was drafted while sitting on an express train to camp two days after the call went out and gained further momentum when we joined forces with the Constellation project itself a scientific computing platform for aerospace applications.

What's the plan?

We want to build a distributed network of ground stations to receive satellite communications. The first step is establishing a means of accurate synchronization for the distributed network. Next up are building various receiver modules (ADS-B, amateur satellites, etc) and data processing of received signals. A communication/control channel (read: sending data) is a future possibility but there are no fixed plans on how this could be implemented yet.

How can I join/participate/help?

We have a public mailing list set up for all things HGG and Constellation. Please feel free to sign up.
Stay up to date following @hxglobalgrid on twitter.
You can also get in touch via direct mail: hadez att shackspace dot de.
We would love to have more people on board bringing in knowledge covering space, satellites, radio communications, antenna design, electronic design, ground station design. Pretty much everything. If you don't know anything about this but would like to participate anyway, don't feel alarmed, we need as much help as we can get and one core objective of this whole endeavor is learning about the technologies involved :)
There is also a list of open tasks which we'll update once new ideas emerge and tasks are thought up. Feel free to add to the list and pick a task either no one is working on yet or join an existing team.

Are you a political movement?

No, we're not. Despite various media suggesting we might be anything from anarchists to subversive evil hackers we're far from all that.
What we are is a bunch of tech-savy folks who identified a problem and are eager to fix it. We're interested in the technological aspects of all things communication. So please, do not read too much into it, especially leave us alone with your futile attempts of assigning us a political label. We're a representative slice of humankind.

Do you want to replace the old short-wave communication established by radio amateurs?

In no way! We would like to add another way to communicate in case disaster strikes, but would never even think about replacing anything. If radio amateurs use our communications systems, we'd be glad if it helps them enlarging their communication infrastructure.


What is your immediate goal?

Build a distributed ground station network to act as a „sensor array“ offering 24/7 tracking and communication contact with satellites. This is of special important to low earth orbit (LEO) satellites which circle the earth in roughly 90 minutes giving a single ground station a very short window for communication.

What are your secondary goals? (SCIENCE)

To provide a basis for science. We all want to learn and to know new things. Tracking satellites and providing the data is one aspect, but also indirect aspects like atmospheric research is possible. Because during the propagation of electromagnetic waves through the atmosphere, it can have an influence on the propagation and this can be measured and detected locally for each ground station reception point.

Do you need to launch a satellite into space to make the system work?

No, we actually do not have to do that. There's already a couple of HAM radio satellites in orbit which are in active use by the HAM radio community. For more details you can check out the websites of AMSAT and FlyingLaptop amongst others.

What's the application?

A first application for the distributed ground station network would be Constellation. Constellation will use the grid to track low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, determining their position to calculate the respective Keplerian elements (trajectories). This information is already available commercially with a certain time delay from agencies like NORAD and others.

What's that thing about "uncensorable internet"

While this is an often cited application / possible use of the network once it's established our primary goal at this point in time is providing core infrastructure. We acknowledge that in all networks censorship is an important topic. But given our current project status we can not have a meaningful discussion about this topic since we're concentrating on the technical requirements of getting infrastructure in place.

You should talk to group X which is already doing Y for years!

Yes. We should. We probably didn't because we didn't know about group X yet. Please do let us know if there's already someone doing what we want to do so we can get in touch and learn from each other getting HGG to work even quicker!
TODO: Add a list of already named projects, so you get no duplicate entries. Example: Freenet which does not need a seperate hardware relay, but could use it and connect seperate subnets together using other transports.

Sending signals to X interferes with law Y

Yes. You're probably right. We're not yet at a stage where sending is on the road map. We're working on receiving data for now. Once that works we do have HAM radio operators on board who have the required knowledge and education to know what is allowed.

You're using GPS which is controlled by the US government

GPS is just one source for time and position data we're planning on using. Others will include Galileo, GLONASS, ground-based surveying and more. We're simply starting off with GPS because it's simple and ubiquitously available at reasonable prices.

You want uncensorable internet?

That's one of the possible goals on the horizon. We're not yet in a technical position to discuss details.

What if someone jams your satellite or shoots it from the sky?

It probably will not work and once it's shot down it's… well.. shot down I guess. Since we don't have actual satellites yet, this falls in the category of problems we're going to solve once they occur. We're doing this because we want to and because it's fun. We're trying to concentrate on reasons why this will work, not why it won't.

Internet connection or no Internet connection for the groundstation?

It's both, because we intent to have the groundstations to be modular systems. For using it with Constellation, and that's a BOINC project, it has to be connected to the internet to send received data to the Constellation server for further processing. But the ground station system can be used without internet, when you want to use it in „fast deployable mode“ for your own projects beside Constellation. Then you will have to deploy 4 receiver stations and connect them to your laptop(s) or collect all storage media added to them, where all received data is stored on. Then you have to manage the data handling and processing by your own.
There are also ideas of building upon already existing HAM radio packet data networks for this task.

What about bandwidth?

If you're in desperate need to communicate you do not care about watching videos on YouTube nor do you want to download the latest album of your favorite band to have the perfect soundtrack for whatever the hell you're doing. You want to get a message out and receive updates. You want to inform and stay informed yourself. A first step will be providing bare-minimum communication infrastructure for that moment of feaco-rotary intersection that will hopefully never happen. But it did happen, several times during 2011 alone in several places. It will happen again.
Think twitter updates, not video streaming.
This does not rule out high-bandwidth links and geo-stationary community controlled satellites somewhere down the road. It's merely a reality re-adjustment to the possibly most important thing: staying connected.
project/hgg/faq.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 2012/01/06 11:50 von

Go there..

Interesting Project. Will be even more interesting to see how it progresses and what challenges the meet and over come...


Hackerspace Global Grid
Hackerspace Global Grid [shackspace wiki]
Project HGG: FAQ [shackspace wiki]
AMSAT - The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation
Flying Laptop
Hacking confab conjures visions of space-borne 'SOPA Wars' | Privacy Inc. - CNET News
Hackerspace Global Grid Meetup » shackspace = der hackerspace in stuttgart
28c3: Building a Distributed Satellite Ground Station Network - A Call To Arms - YouTube
boinc - Google Search
Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flying Laptop
Flying Laptop

BOINC Projects - SETI@home - Rosetta@home - Constellation
boinc - Google Search

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