At 1504 UT on Wednesday, May 20 the first of The Planetary Society’s two LightSail spacecraft blasted off into space aboard an Atlas V rocket with the X-37B space shuttle. Deployment of LightSail took place at 17:05:40.620 UT. The mission is a shakedown cruise designed to test out the CubeSat’s critical systems.
There were ten CubeSats including LightSail-1 in the UltraSat Deployer onboard the Atlas V. Information on these satellites is at http://www.spaceflight101.com/afspc-05-secondary-payloads.html
The Psat and BRICSat-P CubeSats carry amateur radio PSK31 transponders for multi-user PSK31 text messaging. Psat A/B also has APRS.
LightSail-1 has a 9600 bps FSK AX.25 Packet Radio downlink on 437.435 MHz. The Planetary Society’s Jason Davis asks radio amateurs to help by emailing him any data you collect from LightSail, including screenshots of the radio signal if you have them. He’ll pass the information on to the engineering team, and your contribution will be recognized on the blog. The contact address is at http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/jason-davis.html
Jason provides a timeline of the launch events at http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2015/20150518-lightsail-first-day-space.html For the latest updates follow him on Twitter @jasonrdavis
In 2016, the second LightSail spacecraft will piggyback into orbit aboard the first operational flight of SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket for a full-fledged solar sailing demonstration.
This video about the project features Bill Nye (the Science Guy on PBS TV) as well as Justin Foley KI6EPH, Alex Diaz KJ6KSF and Stephanie Wong.
Watch LightSail – Flight by Light (full version)
Gunter’s Space Page reports these spacecraft were onboard the Atlas V:
• X-37B OTV-4 (USA 261)
• GEARRSAT 2 (GEARRS 2)
• LightSail A
• OptiCube 1 (O/C 1)
• OptiCube 2 (O/C 2)
• OptiCube 3 (O/C 3)
• USS Langley
• AeroCube 8A (IMPACT A)
• AeroCube 8B (IMPACT B)
• PSat A (ParkinsonSat A)
Frequencies courtesy JE9PEL Satellite Uplink Downlink LightSail-A . 437.435 9600bps FSK KK6HIT-1 PSat-A/B 28.120 PSK31 435.350 FM PSK31 145.825 1200bps AFSK PSAT-1 USS Langley 145.825 437.475 9600bps FSK BRICsat 28.120 PSK31 435.350 FM PSK31 437.975 9600bps FSK
Further information on the CubeSats can be seen at http://www.spaceflight101.com/afspc-05-secondary-payloads.html
BRICsat and PSAT http://www.urel.feec.vutbr.cz/esl/
PSK31 and APRS CubeSats
LightSail – First Day in Space http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2015/20150518-lightsail-first-day-space.html
LightSail Mission Control Center http://sail.planetary.org/missioncontrol
LightSail – Flight by Light http://sail.planetary.org/
Links for satellite tracking software and Keps https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/
Keps for the CubeSats but which object corresponds to which satellite ?