Amateur Radio CubeSat Masat-1 Takes First Pictures

Masat-1 image 08 taken 12:37 March 8, 2012

Masat-1 image 08 of Southern Africa taken 12:37 March 8, 2012

Masat-1, the first Hungarian Satellite made history again when it captured the first satellite space photographs on March 8, 2012. The first photo showed the southern section of the African continent. The next photos were made of Australia and Antarctica, in a quality and quantity unprecedented in the CubeSat realm.

Besides their sole beauty, these photos also demonstrate the careful planning and execution of the satellite’s operation, proving that even within the tight mass and energy constraints of Masat-1 it is possible to capture space images.

Masat-1 image 09

Masat-1 image 09 taken 12:37 March 8, 2012

Masat-1 is the first Hungarian satellite, designed and built by students and lecturers of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in cooperation with the Hungarian Space Office and various domestic companies. The satellite, measuring 10x10x10 cm and weighting 1 kg, was launched by the Vega launch vehicle of the European Space Agency (ESA) from the spaceport at Kourou in the Caribbean. Masat-1 along with seven other student built amateur radio satellites were deployed into a 1441 by 310 km orbit.

The satellite has been operating flawlessly since the launch of February 13, 2012, steadily transmitting data to the primary ground control station (Budapest University of Technology) and the secondary ground control station (Érd, Hungary). In addition to these domestic control stations, more than 120 radio amateurs have received the satellite worldwide. Their total contribution to the success of the mission exceeds 200 000 data packets.

Masat-1 image 19 taken 05:53 March 12, 2012

The on-board camera of Masat-1 has a mass of about two Euro coins. The maximal resolution is 640×480 pixels. A width of 1 pixel corresponds to a distance of 1 to 10 kilometres on the photos recorded.

The call sign of Masat-1 is HA5MASAT and the telemetry transmission frequency is  437.345 MHz +/- Doppler shift, which at worst case could be +/- 10 kHz.

The Masat-1 Ground Station Client Software was prepared to process the GFSK 625/1250 bps transmission received from the satellite Masat-1. The software provides the following functions:

– Audio demodulation
– Packet decoding
– Packet data visualization
– Frequency waterfall plot to aid radio tuning

Download the software and a test WAV file from http://cubesat.bme.hu/en/foldi-allomas/kliens-szoftver/

Further pictures can be seen at http://cubesat.bme.hu/en/2012/03/14/a-masat-1-elkeszitette-az-elsu-urfelveteleket/

English language press release http://cubesat.bme.hu/data/sajtokozlemeny/masat-1_sajtokozlemeny_20120314_en.pdf

Masat-1 designated MagyarSat-OSCAR-72 (MO-72) http://www.uk.amsat.org/4928