ARISSat-1 may de-orbit in April 2012

According to predictions from Mineo Wakita, JE9PEL, the ARISSat-1satellite is due to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in early April 2012.

Launched from the International Space Station on August 8, the satellite is traveling in a low orbit and is steadily losing altitude. The rate of orbital decay may be accelerated by increasing atmospheric density caused by increased solar activity. With that factor in mind, some ARISSat-1 decay predictions suggest re-entry as early as February 1.

ARISSat-1 remains quite active, sending voice messages, digital telemetry and Slow Scan TV images.

Amateurs have also been able to enjoy contacts through ARISSat-1’s linear transponder despite the fact that the UHF antenna was apparently damaged prior to (or during) deployment.

Last month, AMSAT-NA announced a competition to see who can record the last bits of telemetry as ARISSat-1 makes its final plunge.

To decode the CW or BPSK telemetry you must use the ARISSATTLM software for Windows or Mac OS. The CW signal is transmitted at 145,919 MHz and the BPSK signal appears at 145,920 MHz, plus or minus Doppler.