ESA announce six CubeSats chosen for Phase 1

AAUSAT 4 CubeSat

AAUSAT 4 CubeSat

Six student teams and their supervisors have gathered at ESA’s ESTEC centre in The Netherlands for the kick-off of the new Fly Your Satellite! Programme under the ESA Education Office.

On June 26-28, ESA experts will introduce the objectives and present the activities to be performed during the first phase of the programme.

In January, ESA’s Education Office announced the ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ initiative. This is aimed at offering student teams the opportunity to become familiar with good engineering practice to build and perform satellite testing in order to increase the chances of a successful mission. The 2013 edition of the programme is however only focussing on testing selected university-built satellites that are already at an advanced stage of development.

Launch of Vega VV01

Launch of Vega VV01

‘Fly Your Satellite!’ builds on the success of the ‘CubeSats for the Vega Maiden Flight’ pilot programme. This culminated in 2012 with the launch of seven student-built CubeSats on the first flight of the new ESA Vega launcher.

The focus of the kick-off meeting will consist of coordinating the activity to be performed during the first phase of Fly Your Satellite! enabling the teams to complete the construction of their satellite. This will include extensive satellite testing in ambient conditions under the supervision of ESA specialists who will decide which satellites should participate in the next phase of the programme.

The second phase will see the satellites tested in the simulated conditions of outer space and in those the satellites will experience at launch. These will include vibration and thermal-vacuum tests.

ConSat-1 engineering model

ConSat-1 engineering model

The six CubeSats chosen for Phase 1 are:

Robusta-1B from France will validate a radiation test methodology for specific transistor components.

Oufti-1 from Belgium will demonstrate the D-STAR digital communication protocol and validate high-efficiency solar cells.

ConSat-1 from Canada will analyse radiation characteristics in the South-Atlantic Anomaly, and test technology payloads.

e-st@r-II from Italy will test an Active-Attitude Determination Control System.

AAUSAT4 from Denmark will test an improved version of student built AIS (Automated Identification System) receivers.

Politech.1 from Spain will carry a student built C-band communication system, a “GEODEYE” Earth Observation camera for academic purposes, and solar wind experiments.

Read the full ESA article at http://www.esa.int/Education/ESA_and_student_teams_kick-off_Fly_Your_Satellite

Fly Your Satellite! initiative http://www.esa.int/Education/Students_are_you_ready_to_fly_your_satellites_in_space

ESTCube-1 – Estonia’s First CubeSat

Vega VV02 lift-off from Kourou on May 7, 2013 at 02:06 UT

Vega VV02 lift-off from Kourou on May 7, 2013 at 02:06 UT

Estonia’s first CubeSat ESTCube-1, amateur radio callsign ES5E, was launched from Kourou in the Caribbean on May 7 at 0206 UT on an ESA Vega rocket into a 704 km orbit. Also on the same launch were Vietnam’s VNREDSat-1A and ESA’s Proba‑V satellites.

ESTCube-1 - Image credit University of Tartu

ESTCube-1 – Image credit University of Tartu

This Vega mission required five upper-stage boosts and lasted about twice as long as its first launch, in February 2012.

The three solid-propellant stages performed flawlessly and, after two burns of the liquid-propellant upper stage, Proba‑V was released into a circular orbit at an altitude of 820 km, over the western coast of Australia, some 55 minutes into flight.

After releasing Proba-V, the upper stage performed a third burn and the top half of the egg-shaped Vega Secondary Payload Adapter was ejected. After a fourth burn to circularize the orbit at an altitude of 704 km, VNREDSat-1A was released 1 hour 57 minutes into flight. ESTCube‑1 was ejected from its dispenser three minutes later.

ESTCube-1 was built by students at the University of Tartu. The main mission of the satellite is to test electric solar wind sail technology, a novel space propulsion technology that could revolutionize transportation within the solar system. It will deploy a 10 meter conductive electrodynamic tether and the force interacting with the tether will be measured.

ESTCube-1 at press conference in Tallinn before shipping January 21, 2013 - Image credit University of Tartu

ESTCube-1 at press conference in Tallinn before shipping January 21, 2013 – Image credit University of Tartu

The technology is based on the electrostatic interaction between the electric field generated by the satellite and the high-speed particles being ejected from the Sun. A spacecraft utilizing this method would first deploy a set of electrically charged wires, which allow to generate an electric field over a large area. This area effectively forms a “sail” that can be pushed by the charged particles by being diverted by it and therefore transferring momentum to the craft.

The team also aim to capture images of Estonia for outreach purposes.

The IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel have published these frequencies for ESTCube-1
437.250 MHz – CW beacon, callsign ES5E/S
437.505 MHz – 9600 bps AX.25 telemetry, callsign ES5E-11

The CW beacon has been received slightly high of the published frequency on 437.2515 MHz (+/- Doppler shift). Among those reporting the signal have been Nader Omer ST2NH in Sudan, Mike Rupprecht DK3WN in Germany, and Hector Martinez CO6CBF in Cuba who was using an AMSAT-UK FUNcube Dongle SDR.

Watch Estonian’s ESTCube-1

Watch Exploded view of ESTCube-1

Electric solar wind sail http://www.electric-sailing.fi/

EstCube on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/estcube/

EstCube website http://www.estcube.eu/en/home

Wiki EstCube-1 http://tinyurl.com/WikiESTCube-1

ESA report on launch and deployment
http://www.esa.int/For_Media/Press_Releases/ESA_s_Vega_launcher_scores_new_success_with_Proba-V

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days
http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for CubeSats are at
http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/cubesat.txt

Free satellite tracking software:
• SimpleSat Look Down http://www.tomdoyle.org/SimpleSatLookDown/
• Gpredict http://gpredict.oz9aec.net/
• Orbitron http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=9051

ESTCube Ground Station Antennas

ESTCube Ground Station Antennas

Vega’s three-satellite payload is integrated and ready for launch

Vega April 2013ESA report the payload “stack” for Vega’s second mission from  has been completed and is ready for the planned launch from Kourou on May 2.

After its deployment by Vega on the upcoming flight, Proba-V will begin the satellite’s mission of mapping land cover and vegetation growth across the Earth every two days. The miniaturized ESA satellite is to provide data for the instrument’s worldwide scientific user community and service providers once its in-orbit commissioning is completed.

Proba-V was produced by prime contractor QinetiQ Space Belgium and carries a new, advanced version of the Vegetation instrument – the latest in a series already deployed on France’s full-sized Spot-4 and Spot-5 satellites, which have been observing the planet since 1998 after their launches by Arianespace.

The Astrium-built VNREDSat-1 will support the Vietnamese government’s initiative to create an infrastructure enabling better studies of climate change effects, improving predictions for natural disasters and optimizing the country’s natural resource management.  It was built on behalf of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

ESTCube-1 is to test electric solar wind sail technologies and help establish an Estonian infrastructure for future space projects. This satellite was produced in a collaboration of students from Tartu University, Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Life Sciences – and developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR).

Once in orbit, ESTCube-1 will deploy a small conductive tether which is to be electrically charged to 500 Volts using electron guns contained within the 10 x 10 x 10-cm. cubesat.

ESTCube-1 frequencies:
437.250 MHz – CW beacon, callsign ES5E/S
437.505 MHz – 9600 bps AX.25 telemetry, callsign ES5E-11

Read the full ESA story at http://www.arianespace.com/news-mission-update/2013/1031.asp

ESTCube-1 Tether Satellite hopes for Spring launch

Artists impression of ESTCube-1 in space - Image credit University of Tartu

Artists impression of ESTCube-1 in space – Image credit University of Tartu

Estonia’s first CubeSat ESTCube-1, amateur radio callsign ES5E/S, is planning to launch from Kourou in the Caribbean in the Spring on an ESA VEGA rocket.

Built by students at the University of Tartu ESTCube-1 the main mission of the satellite is to test electric solar wind sail technology, a novel space propulsion technology that could revolutionalize transportation within the solar system. It will deploy a 10 meter conductive electrodynamic tether and the force interacting with the tether will be measured.

The technology is based on the electrostatic interaction between the electric field generated by the satellite and the high-speed particles being ejected from the Sun.  A spacecraft utilizing this method would first deploy a set of electrically charged wires, which allow to generate an electric field over a large area. This area effectively forms a “sail” that can be pushed by the charged particles by being diverted by it and therefore transferring momentum to the craft.

The team also aim to capture images of Estonia for outreach purposes.

Continue reading

ESA Call for Proposals: FLY YOUR SATELLITE!

Artists impression of Vega launch

Artists impression of Vega launch

’Fly Your Satellite!’ is an exciting new initiative from the European Space Agency (ESA) Education and Knowledge Management Office. It is focused on CubeSat projects run by university students and builds on the successful ‘CubeSats for the Vega Maiden Flight’ pilot programme, which culminated in 2012 with the launch of seven university student-built CubeSats on board the Vega Maiden Flight.

In the future, this new initiative is intended to cover the complete development process of a satellite from concept to launch. However, the 2013 edition will be dedicated to teams whose satellite is already at an advanced stage of development and able to complete the Flight Model assembly by June 2013. One, two or three-unit CubeSats are eligible.

Fly Your Satellite (FYS) – Call for Proposals – Iss.1

FYS – instructions guidelines – Iss.1

The opportunity will be open to European university teams from ESA Member States or Cooperating States:
• ESA Member States – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
• ESA cooperating States – Canada, Estonia, Hungary, and Slovenia.

Further information on the ESA website at http://www.esa.int/Education/Call_for_Proposals_Fly_Your_Satellite

ESA – Towards a new educational CubeSat initiative

Vega Amateur Radio CubeSats PW-Sat, Masat-1 and Robusta

ESA’s Education Office is inviting the CubeSat community to send their notifications of interest for a new initiative involving the development of educational picosatellites and the provision of deployers and launch services. The call closes on 7 September 2012.

Continue reading

ESA – CubeSats satellite operations update

Members of XaTcobeo team at ground station

Members of the XaTcobeo CubeSat team at the ground station

ESA have issued an update on the amateur radio CubeSats that were launched on February 13.

Since the launch ESA’s Education Office has maintained frequent contacts with the student teams to follow the progress of their satellite operations.

For each team, this is the first hands-on experience of operating an orbiting satellite, and some of them have had to deal with some challenging difficulties.

Read the ESA report at http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Education/SEM2KRGY50H_0.html

Spring OSCAR News

The Spring edition of the AMSAT-UK colour A4 newsletter OSCAR News is being posted to members this week.

In this issue
– Dick Daniels W4PUJ SK
– VEGA Maiden Flight Report
– My way to solve the TLE lottery by Mike DK3WN
– Your Spacecraft recording wanted, urgently
– Getting back on the Satellites by Andrew Sellers G8TZJ
– Sumbandilasat
– FUNcube satellite project update
– The Clive Wallis G3CWV Column
– A Swiss satellite to tackle space debris
– ARISSat-1/KEDR goes silent
– FUNcube satellite models part 2
– KickSat – your personal spacecraft in space!
– Shorts

You can get OSCAR News by joining AMSAT-UK online at http://tinyurl.com/JoinAMSAT-UK

AMSAT-UK is a voluntary organisation that supports the design and building of equipment for amateur sadio satellites. Its members are currently building the satellite FUNcube-1.

ESA to start mini space mission series

BBC Science correspondent Jonathan Amos reports that the European Space Agency is starting what it expects to become a regular series of small science missions.

The first winning “S-Class” idea will receive 50 million euros (£42m) and will be readied for launch in 2017.

Prof Mark McCaughrean, head of ESA’s Research and Scientific Support Department is reported as saying:

“We want to hear from innovative people who’ve got a clever idea that doesn’t need a billion or half a billion euros, but can be done with a much smaller amount.”

Read the full BBC News story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17335339

Call for a Small mission opportunity in ESA’s Science Programme for a launch in 2017 http://sci.esa.int/2012-S-Call

E-St@r TV Interview

Sabrina Corpino, Team Leader of the E-St@r CubeSat project, is interviewed by ASI TV about the CubeSat that was launched on February 13.

Watch E-St@r – L’intervista

E-ST@R http://areeweb.polito.it/ricerca/E-STAR/

Vega Launch Success – Satellite Signals Heard http://www.uk.amsat.org/4657