Calling Radio Amateurs: Help Find OPS-SAT!

Decoding OPS-SAT's beacon

Decoding OPS-SAT’s beacon

ESA is challenging anyone with amateur radio equipment to catch the first signals from OPS-SAT, ESA’s brand new space software laboratory.

On December 17, the 3U CubeSat OPS-SAT will be launched into low-Earth orbit on a Soyuz rocket from Kourou in South America, together with ESA’s Cheops exoplanet-tracker.

Lift-off is scheduled for 08:54:20 GMT on Tuesday, December 17. Deployment will begin 15044.6 seconds later (T+15044.6 seconds), expected to be at 13:05:04 GMT.

15 minutes after satellite deployment, when the UHF antenna and solar array deployment have been confirmed, OPS-SAT will begin transmitting 9600 bps GMSK on 437.200 MHz. The first two passes over Europe are expected on the same evening.

The OPS-SAT flight control team has developed open source software which allows anyone to receive the 437.200 MHz beacon of OPS-SAT and decode it.

Full details in the ESA article at

OPS-SAT UHF Specification