Matt Bennett KF6RTB reports that the amateur radio CubeSat, Radio Auroral Explorer 2 (RAX-2), has detected the communication-disrupting anomaly in the upper atmosphere it was searching for. The team have expressed their thanks to the amateur radio community.
RAX-2 was built by students at the University of Michigan. The primary objective of the mission is to use the onboard radar receiver in conjunction with a powerful radar station in Alaska to study the formation of a plasma anomaly known for causing the scintillation of radio signals in the UHF and higher bands. This scintillation effect is known to inhibit our space radar tracking capabilities and ground-space communications. Studying this anomaly in this bi-static radar configuration (ground based transmitter, space-base receiver) will provide scientists with a better understanding of these anomalies that has not been achievable with ground radars alone.
This is unbelievable!! After more than three years of hard work and dedication by my team and professor at Michigan, our chief scientist confirmed today that the RAX-2 spacecraft we designed, built, and launched into space has detected the communication-disrupting anomaly in the upper atmosphere that we’ve been looking for!! Cheers guys, we did it!!! GO guys, we did it!!! GO BLUE!!!! [Michigan Athletics battle cry]
The RAX Team would like to acknowledge and say thank you to the amateur radio satellite community for all of their support on this mission. We’ve really enjoyed interacting with fellow operators while collecting and analyzing telemetry. We’ve also learned a great deal about satellite operations from each other.
RAX-2: 437.345 MHz, 9600 bps GMSK http://rax.engin.umich.edu/
Mission Science Operations http://rax.sri.com/
RAX on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RadioAuroraExplorer
2010 – RAX-1 CubeSat launch announcement http://www.southgatearc.org/news/november2010/rax_launch.htm
2011 – RAX-2 CubeSat Launch http://www.southgatearc.org/news/october2011/successful_amateur_cubesat_launch.htm