On October 4, 2012 five CubeSats were successfully deployed from the International Space Station (ISS). The first pod containing RAIKO and WE-WISH was deployed at 1437 UT while the second pod containing FITSAT-1, F-1 and TechEdSat deployed at 1544 UT. Pictures can be seen at http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=10804
October 4 was also the 55th anniversary of the launch of the first satellite Sputnik 1. Videos of Sputnik are here.
Four of the CubeSats carry Amateur Radio payloads, they are TechEdSat, F-1, FITSAT-1, and WE-WISH. As of Oct 5, 1015 UT signals had been reported from WE-WISH and FITSAT-1 as well as weak signal reports for TechEdSat.
The small satellites were transported to the ISS in the HTV-3 (Kounotori 3) cargo vessel that blasted off on an H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center on Saturday, July 21 at 0206 UT.
The cargo vessel arrived at the ISS on July 27 and the ISS Canadarm2 robotic arm was used to install the HTV-3 to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module at 1434 UT. The CubeSats were then unloaded by the Expedition 32 crew.
The CubeSats were mounted in a JEM-Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD). In one pod were TechEdSat, F-1 (NanoRacks) and FITSAT-1 while in the second pod were WE-WISH and a scientific 2U CubeSat RAIKO.
Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide KE5DNI put the J-SSOD into an airlock, which was depressurized and exposed to the vacuum of space via an automatic door. The Kibo robotic arm was then be used to grapple the J-SSOD in the airlock and move it out away from the station so the satellites could be deployed.
Previous deployments of amateur radio satellites have only been possible when astronauts have performed an Extravehicular Activity (EVA). The Kibo robot arm and the J-SSOD could enable a larger number of satellite deployments in the future.
Once deployed the CubeSats could have a life-time of up to 5 months before they burn-up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The satellites in the first pod, WE-WISH and RAIKO were deployed manually by Akihiko Hoshide KE5DNI followed about 67 minutes later by the remote deployment of the other three satellites TechEdSat, F-1 and FITSAT-1 by the JAXA ground station.
Thu Trong Vu XV9AA reports that 30 minutes after deployment from the station, F-1 will begin transmitting its beacon alternatively on its main and backup channels. Telemetry and beacon data from F-1 contain critical information about the satellite’s health (battery & solar cell voltages, temperature readings) and they are very important to the F-1 team, especially in the first week of operation. Thus, they would like to ask the amateur radio community to help in tracking and receiving data from the F-1 CubeSat.
More information and guide for the free F-1 telemetry decoder can be found at http://fspace.edu.vn/?page_id=27. Decoded data can be submitted via the telemetry decoder or by email to (firstname.lastname@example.org), audio recordings are highly appreciated.
JAXA Kibo J-SSOD page http://tinyurl.com/JAXA-Kibo-J-SSOD
JAXA Akihiko Hoshide KE5DNI page http://tinyurl.com/JAXA-Astronaut-Hoshide
Nader Omer ST2NH in Khartoum, Sudan, reports receiving a very strong and clear signal from FITSAT-1 at 1636 UT.
Watch FITsat-1 heard over Africa
Watch the deployment of TechEdSat, F-1 and FITSAT-1
Watch the deployment of WE-WISH and RAIKO
Watch a graphic showing the planned deployment of the CubeSats from the ISS
Watch ISS Update: JAXA Small Satellite Orbital Deployer
ISS CubeSat Frequency Information
FITSat 1 (Fukuoka Institute of Technology)
High-speed data test, high power LED visual tracking
CW Beacon 437.250 MHz,
FM Data 437.445 MHz,
High-speed 115.2 kbps data 2 watts on 5840.00 MHz
TechEdSat (NASA Ames Research Center and San Jose State University)
http://ncasst.org/techedsat.html Twitter http://twitter.com/TechEdSat
Telemetry downlink on 437.465 MHz.
It is also carrying SatPhone ground station hardware and had planned to transmit from space using frequencies allocated to ground stations to communicate via the Iridium and Orbcomm satellite phone networks. This would have been a first for a CubeSat, however, a statement from the team says: “We were forced to disable the Iridium modem as our FCC license did not come in time. As usual, building the satellite is the easy part.”
F-1 (FPT University) – Information for Radio Amateurs http://fspace.edu.vn/?page_id=27
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 (Meisei Amateur Radio Club)
Infrared camera for environmental studies. The 320 by 256 pixels images of the Earth’s surface will be transmitted in approx 110 secs using SSTV. The callsign is JQ1ZIJ and the 100mW downlink on 437.505 MHz can operate in CW (A1A), AX.25 1200 bps packet radio (F2D) or SSTV (F3F). Reports indicate the frequency may be 9 kHz high at 437.514 MHz.
RAIKO (Wakayama and Tohoku University) the only non-amateur radio CubeSat
http://tinyurl.com/RAIKO-CubeSat (Google English)
2U CubeSat, photography
Downlinks at 2.2GHz and 13GHz – 38.4 – 500 kbps
Tracking the CubeSats
Initially the CubeSats will be in virtually the same orbit as the International Space Station (ISS) and the latest ISS Keplerian Two Line Elements can be used to determine their position. See the ISS Fan Club real-time tracking at http://www.issfanclub.com/
Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days
Initial thoughts are
1998-067CS WE WISH
Free Satellite tracking software
• SimpleSat Look Down http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=8217
• Gpredict http://gpredict.oz9aec.net/
• Orbitron http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=9051
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