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X-Band Satellite Reception System Installation, May 2005


Between May 10th and 20th we installed a new satellite receiving system on Aubert Hall, University of Maine. Two engineers from SeaSpace, the company who sold us the system, arrived from California on the first day of the installation and led us though the entire process. Week one was dedicated to unpacking, assembling and installing the satellite dish, while week two involved fine tuning the hardware and software, as well as some system training.

Aubert Hall


Roof of Aubert Hall

Prior to assembly of the satellite dish some site preparation was required, one component of which involved construction of a platform on top of Aubert Hall. The platform served as an anchor onto which the dish was eventually attached, and also raised the level of the dish above obstacles on the roof that would have impacted line-of-sight.

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

Our first task with the SeaSpace engineers was to unpack the various components of the dish and its protective radome. Assembly was done in a large barn to protect the equipment from the elements.

Radome assembly   Radome assembly.

We decided to assemble the radome on a flatbed trailer from the get-go. This set-up allowed us to move the dish around as necessary for various stages of the assembly. It also served as a means to transport the fully assembled radome to Aubert Hall.

Radome assembly.   Radome assembly.

The top hemisphere of the radome was the first major construction task. The individual fiberglass segments were aligned and bolted together in sequence.

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

The pedestal was lifted onto the base using a front-end loader, after which it was bolted in place.

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

Placing the dish on the pedestal frame was slightly tricky as the frame was now able to swing freely (its shipping braces had been removed). The bottom hemisphere of the radome was assembled in place on the base plate.

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

Lots of bolts were required to fasten the radome together!

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

After the two hemispheres of the radome were assembled, it was time to attach the top half to the bottom half. This procedure required moving the flatbed trailer and dish outside to a loading ramp, and lifting the top hemisphere into place with a front-end loader.

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

The driver was a pro, he was able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!

Radome assembly   Radome assembly

The fully assembled radome was driven back into the barn and some final touches were added.

Transporting radome   Transporting radome

On the following day, we drove the assembled X-band dish across campus to Aubert Hall and prepared for the crane to lift it 4+ stories into place.

Lifting radome   Lifting radome

Lifting of the equipment into place was the smoothest part of the whole installation!

Lifting radome   Lifting radome

 Final placement of the dish onto the raised frame.

Attaching radome   Attaching radome

Bolting the feet of the base plate onto the I-beams. The sun came out just as we finished!

Installed X-Band dish   Checking software.

The fully installed X-Band receiving system! That same day we received our first MODIS pass!