Australia’s own BLUEsat ready for launch

The BLUEsat Team - Image credit UNSW

The BLUEsat Team – Image credit UNSW

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has declared its undergraduate student amateur radio satellite project BLUEsat is complete and ready to be launched into space.

As the official final green light came it was to have a stratospheric balloon test flight near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Talks continue on a space launch date.

BLUEsat satellite - Image credit UNSW

BLUEsat satellite – Image credit UNSW

BLUEsat, a 260mm cube weighing around 13 kilograms, will carry a flight computer with transmissions to include a beacon and amateur packet radio using the AX.25 protocol in a “mode J” VHF/UHF configuration.

Magnets will passively stabilise the satellite and align it with the Earth’s magnetic field, and it will be controlled via a dedicated communications groundstation VK2UNS at UNSW is equipped with a Yaesu FT-847 satellite transceiver.

It is hoped BLUEsat will be placed in circular orbit at an altitude of around 750 km that will take it over the poles. At this altitude, the satellite will travel around the Earth at a rate of around once every 90 minutes.

Once in orbit BLUEsat will be a digital amateur radio satellite, which means that voice and data files can be uploaded to it by any amateur radio operator in the world over which the satellite passes.

Students from UNSW will continue to be the primary operators of the satellite while it is in orbit and continue the educational focus throughout the full satellite lifecycle.

Through sponsors helping to pay the bills the student-led project has given a space experience that includes VK2UNS the ground control station.


Basic Low Earth Orbit UNSW Experimental Satellite (BLUEsat) project

January 2012 – Australian BLUEsat LEO undergoes tests