Just when you think the Raspberry Pi community has done it all, one maker boldly goes where no maker has gone before. Today we’ve got an exciting update to share: Maker and developer Saveitforparts is using his homemade Raspberry Pi Tricorder to detect Starlink satellites. If you’re wondering what a Tricorder is, these are handheld gadgets from the Star Trek universe used to scan the environment around them.
Saveitforparts does just that with his Tricorder, using a variety of sensors to scan for things like RF signals and thermal bodies. We first reported on it last year, but today we’re excited to share the project’s latest update. There’s something quite appropriate in using a DIY Tricorder to scan for low-orbit satellites. In this case, he’s looking for Starlink satellites which are run by SpaceX and used to provide internet access and intended to reach global support within the coming years.
The new upgrade is possible thanks to an LNB module taken from an old satellite dish. This module is capable of detecting KU-band radio beacons eminating from Starlink satellites. The system won’t allow the Tricorder to connect to the internet, but rather just detects the location of the satellites as they pass by, with a visual indicator of their trails displayed on the Tricorder’s LCD screen.
The hardware is housed inside a waterproof shell. It outputs visual representations of the data it collects for things like its thermal camera module, RF scanner and more. The unit is also completely portable thanks to its battery pack, so it’s possible to take it with you on the go—perfect for away missions.
You can find a more detailed breakdown of the project on the official saveitforparts blog. A recent update showcases the Starlink detecting upgrade. If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project, check out the blog post and head over to YouTube to see it in action. You will need a fair bit of hardware to build the project but it’s definitely possible to duplicate at home. This is one of many projects created by Saveitforparts, so be sure to follow him for any additional Tricorder updates as well as future projects.