F-1 CubeSat on its way to International Space Station

FSpace team members Phạm Quang Hưng, Đinh Quốc Trí, Khánh Has, Thu Trong Vu XV9AA, Hong Thai Pham and Dao Thang – picture taken by Nguyễn Trần Hoàng

The amateur radio F-1 CubeSat, built by the FSpace team of young engineers and students at the FPT University, is on its journey to the International Space Station (ISS). It is the first satellite to be built in Vietnam and the project has attracted much TV news coverage.

FSpace F-1 Amateur Radio CubeSat

F-1 carries a low-resolution C328 camera for an earth observation mission. The camera is capable of a maximum resolution of 640 by 480 pixels with 8 bit color. Images will be downloaded when commanded by the FSpace ground station.

There is a 3-axis magnetometer (developed by Angstrom Space Technology Center, Uppsala University, Sweden) and several temperature sensors.

The satellite’s callsign is XV1VN and the communications subsystem is built around two Yaesu VX-3R amateur radio handheld transceivers. One will operate on UHF the other on VHF.

Yaesu VX-3R1 transmits on 437.485 MHz FM, it has no battery so will operate on solar power only. As a result it will only be active when the satellite is in sunlight and when active the output power will vary between 0.1 and 0.3 watts depending on the amount of illumination. The antenna is a half-wave dipole. The FM beacon will send Morse code at 10 words per minute every 30 seconds (configurable). A sample of the beacon can be heard here.

VX-3R2 operates on 145.980 MHz FM and is connected to Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) batteries so will operate in both dark and sunlight. The power output is 1 watt into a half-wave dipole antenna. Using a TinyTrak4 packet radio modem it will send an AFSK 1200 bps AX.25 packet every 60 seconds (configurable).

F-1 was launched along with four other CubeSats in the HTV-3 cargo vessel on an H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, on July 21 at 02:06 UT and will arrive at the ISS on July 27.

F-1 in the JEM-Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD)

It will remain on the ISS until September when it will be deployed by Japanese astronaut and radio amateur Akihiko Hoshide KE5DNI using the ISS Kibo robot arm.

F-1 is mounted in a JEM-Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) with the amateur radio TechEdSat and FITSat-1 CubeSats. In a second deployment pod are WeWish and a scientific 2U CubeSat Raiko. The CubeSats will be deployed into a 400 km orbit and should have a lifetime of 3 or 4 months before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and burning up.

In this video the team from FPT University sing the song “Vietnam’s orbit”. Artist/singer Trương Quý Hải has supported the F-1 CubeSat project from the beginning and composed the song just a few weeks before the launch. The accompanying music clip was completed just hours before the launch of F1. The team very much appreciated this.

Watch Quỹ đạo Việt Nam – Trương Quý Hải – “Vietnam’s Orbit” by Trương Quý Hải

A video depicting the planned deployment of the F-1 CubeSat, callsign XV1VN, from the ISS can be seen at http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=8446

FSpace information for radio amateurs http://fspace.edu.vn/?page_id=27

Bentre News report http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gmffi2rQPQ

VN Express report http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah8w1my41VE

VTV1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiEeaGN5Y6E

The five CubeSats on the HTV-3 launch are:

+ F-1
On-board camera for earth observation mission
Yaesu VX-3R 1, 437.485 MHz FM downlink:
o Solar cell power only, operates in sunlight only
o Output power: between 0.1W and 0.3W depending on illumination, half-wave dipole antenna
o Morse code beacon (10 chars) using FM CW every 30 seconds, listen here

Yaesu VX-3R 2, 145.980 MHz FM downlink:
o Rechargeable battery, operates in dark and sunlight
o Output power: max 1.0W, half-wave dipole antenna
o AFSK 1200bps, half duplex, one AX.25 packet every 60 seconds

+ We Wish
Infrared camera for environmental studies
Downlink on 437.505 MHz

+ FITSat 1
High-speed data test, high power LED visual tracking
CW Beacon 437.250 MHz,
FM Data   437.445 MHz,
High speed data 5840.00 MHz.

+ TechEdSat
Downlink on 437.465 MHz

+ Raiko – the only non-amateur radio CubeSat
http://tinyurl.com/RAIKO-CubeSat (Google English)
2U CubeSat, photography, Ku-band beacon