First picture taken by ESTCube-1 CubeSat amateur radio callsign ES5E


The first picture taken by the amateur radio CubeSat ESTCube-1 in space has been released. ESTCube-1 was launched from Kourou in the Caribbean on May 7 at 0206 UT on an ESA Vega rocket into a 704 km orbit.

ESTCube-1 camera on left of board

ESTCube-1 camera on left of board

The hard work of the first two weeks has paid off and the CAM team, leaded by the University of Tartu Computer Technology graduate student Henri Kuuste has this to say: The camera works perfectly and so do all the other subsystems, needed for taking the photo. The first image was captured on May 15 over the Mediterranean Sea, showing the sea, Sahara desert, and Tunisia.

On Monday, May 13 the whole ESTCube-1 team was invited to the reception of the rector of University of Tartu to celebrate the success of the satellite. Watch the video (in English) at

ESTCube-1 at press conference in Tallinn before shipping January 21, 2013 - Image credit University of Tartu

ESTCube-1 at press conference in Tallinn before shipping January 21, 2013 – Image credit University of Tartu

ESTCube-1 was built by students at the University of Tartu. The main mission of the satellite is to test electric solar wind sail technology, a novel space propulsion technology that could revolutionize transportation within the solar system. It will deploy a 10 meter conductive electrodynamic tether and the force interacting with the tether will be measured.

The technology is based on the electrostatic interaction between the electric field generated by the satellite and the high-speed particles being ejected from the Sun. A spacecraft utilizing this method would first deploy a set of electrically charged wires, which allow to generate an electric field over a large area. This area effectively forms a “sail” that can be pushed by the charged particles being diverted by it and therefore transferring momentum to the craft.

ESTCube-1 uses these frequencies:
437.252 MHz – CW beacon, callsign ES5E/S
437.505 MHz – 9600 bps AX.25 telemetry, callsign ES5E-11

Watch ESTCube-1 mission

Electric solar wind sail

EstCube on Facebook

EstCube website

Wiki EstCube-1

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for CubeSats are at

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