The inaugural launch of the ESA Vega rocket will carry the amateur radio microsatellite ALMASat-1 and at least six CubeSats.
The satellites will be launched from the ESA spaceport at Kourou in the Caribbean into an elliptical orbit of 1450 by 354 km at an inclination of 71 degrees. They are expected to have a lifetime before re-entry of 4 years.
ESA say the six CubeSats to be launched on Vega in late January 2012 comprise:
– Xatcobeo (a collaboration of the University of Vigo and INTA, Spain): a mission to demonstrate software-defined radio and solar panel deployment;
– Robusta (University of Montpellier 2, France): a mission to test and evaluate radiation effects (low dose rate) on bipolar transistor electronic components;
– e-st@r (Politecnico di Torino, Italy): demonstration of an active 3-axis Attitude Determination and Control system including an inertial measurement unit;
– Goliat (University of Bucharest, Romania): imaging of the Earth surface using a digital camera and in-situ measurement of radiation dose and micrometeoroid flux;
– PW-Sat (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland): a mission to test a deployable atmospheric drag augmentation device for de-orbiting CubeSats;
– MaSat-1 (Budapest University of Technology and Economics): a mission to demonstrate various spacecraft avionics, including a power conditioning system, transceiver and on-board data handling.
ESA indicate that a 7th CubeSat may be delivered in time to be flown.
PW-Sat carries an FM to DSB amateur radio transponder with an FM input on 435.020 MHz and DSB output on 145.900 MHz.
The primary payload on the launch, LARES, will be deployed into an orbit of 1200 km × 1200 km with an inclination of 71 degrees.
Frequencies and links for the CubeSats can be found at http://www.ne.jp/asahi/hamradio/je9pel/esa9cubf.htm
ESA CubeSats delivered for first Vega flight http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Education/SEM3L0WWVUG_0.html
ESA Education – CubeSats http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Education/SEM3N03MDAF_0.html
The IARU amateur satellite frequency coordination pages hosted by AMAT-UK list the frequencies of the amateur radio satellites http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/