Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Po-Hao Adam Huang

Committee Member

Jensen, David

Second Committee Member

Chevrier, Vincent


Satellite, Spectroscopy, Telescope, Tracking


Spectroscopy is the practice of determining the chemical composition of a gas through analyzing the light that is filtered by the gas. Spectroscopy is commonly used by astronomers to deduce the atmospheric composition of planets. This process is done by initially measuring the spectrum of light from the star that the planet orbits, and then measuring it again once the planet is in between the observer and the star. The spectrum light that is filtered out is dependent on the chemical composition of the gas, and so this information can be used to determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere in question. This thesis focuses on an alternate method for spectroscopy involving a satellite equipped with a bright light that is orbiting the target planet. A telescope on the surface of the planet follows the movement of the satellite and captures its light, analyzing it with a spectrometer. The goal of this research is to develop, build, and program a prototype spectroscopic telescope that is able to follow the movements of a satellite orbiting Earth and to spectroscopically analyze the light reflected off of it. Over the course of this project, a prototype tracking telescope was successfully built and programmed. Spectrographic data was taken with it, and information was gathered about the program and modifications that need to be made for future iterations.