Radio amateurs asked to help receive CUSat

CUSat Team Spring 2013

CUSat Team Spring 2013

Alexandra Abad, who is studying Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, has asked for the help of radio amateurs around the world to try and detect signals on 437.405 MHz from the student built satellite CUSat which was launched on September 29, 2013 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

CUSat - Image credit Cornell University

CUSat – Image credit Cornell University

She writes:

I’m a current member of CUSat at Cornell University. As you may know, we are a student-run team, winner of the University Nanosat-4 competition  and recently launched with Falcon 9 in September. We have currently been having issues hearing CUSat and would appreciate any help!

Below is some tracking information:
• Beacon Downlink Frequency: 437.405 MHz (+/- 10 kHz Doppler Shift) FM AX.25 packet radio
• Beaconed Callsign: BOTTOM
• FCC Callsign: WG2XTI
• Data Rate: 1200 baud
• Modulation: AFSK
• Transmit Interval: Every 1 minute
• RF Power Output: 2.2 W
• Antenna Polarization: Linear
• Real-Time satellite track

If get any results or have any questions at all please email us at

Visit if you would like to learn more about our program.


Alexandra Abad
Cornell University ’14
Mechanical Engineering

CUSat Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’

Real-time tracking  information for CUSat is at

CUSAT Pulse Plasma Thruster Satellites

CUSat - Image credit Cornell University

CUSat – Image credit Cornell University

CUSAT is planning a SpaceX launch along with Cassiope and Dande, from Vandenberg into a 1500 by 325 km 80 degree inclination orbit. The satellite has a 2 watt packet radio transmitter and carries Pulse Plasma Thrusters (PPT) which can raise or lower the orbit.

Built by students at Cornell University CUSat-1/2 is a 45 kg space vehicle consisting of two functionally identical satellites that will launch together and separate in orbit. Image and positioning data will be downlinked using AX25 packet radio on 437 MHz. Cross linking between the two parts will also take place on 437 MHz.

Using centimeter accuracy carrier-phase differential GPS, the two satellites will perform autonomous relative navigation. One satellite will capture imagery of the other satellite and send these images to a ground station on Earth for the reconstruction of a 3-D model of the partner satellite.

Watch CUSat Spacecraft Mission

After launch and Launch Vehicle separation, the satellite will enter its initialization state. During initialize, the satellite will begin a self-check process to detect any malfunctioning systems. The satellite will then use Carrier-phase Differential GPS data to converge on an attitude estimate. CDGPS is a new technique for performing centimeter-level accurate position determination.

Once the attitude estimate for the satellite is determined, the satellite will use its on-board cameras to take images of the Earth, Moon, bright stars, and the ISON comet (C/2012 S1) which will be reaching perihelion in November 2013. If the team are able to take pictures bright stars, then they should be able to determine the attitude of the satellite to help verify the CDGPS estimate of the attitude. The satellite will then telemeter down mission data to the Ground Segment. This data consists of images, GPS data, Telemetry, and Command and Data Handling logs. The satellite maneuvers so that the antenna is always pointed towards the Ground Segment during data transfer.

After all the necessary pictures are taken, the CUSat team will perform test maneuvers using the pulse plasma thrusters. First, they will tilt the spin angular momentum. They do not want to change the magnitude, only the direction of this vector. Secondly, they will raise and lower our orbit of the satellite. In order to raise or lower the orbit, CUSat needs to fire its PPT thrusters in the direction, or against the direction of its velocity, respectively.

The frequencies are:
• CUSat-1   437.405 MHz
• CUSat-2   437.485 MHz
• Cross link 437.305 MHz

For more details see


IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Status

KickSat to Deploy 200 Sprite Satellites



KickSat is an amateur radio CubeSat technology demonstration mission designed to demonstrate the deployment and operation of prototype Sprite “ChipSats” (femtosatellites) developed at Cornell University by Zac Manchester KD2BHC.

It plans to launch on ELaNa-5 / CRS-3 from Cape Canaveral in July 2013 into a 325 x 315km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. Kicksat-1 will operate on 2401.2-2436.2 MHz and when deployed all the 200 Sprites will operate on a single frequency 437.240 MHz and use CDMA. It is believed this will be the largest ever deployment of satellites.

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NASA Announces Third Round Of CubeSat Space Mission Candidates

Roland Coelho WH7BE Research Associate at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a CubeSat - Image Credit NASA

Roland Coelho WH7BE Research Associate at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a CubeSat - Image Credit NASA

NASA has selected 33 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2013 and 2014. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, NASA field centers and Department of Defense organizations.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately 10 cm long, have a volume of about one litre and weigh less than 1.3 kg.

The selections are from the third round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected spacecraft are eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available. The satellites come from the following organizations:

— Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
— Air Force Research Lab, Wright-Patterson AFB
— California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
— Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
— Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
— Montana State University, Bozeman
— Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. (2 CubeSats)
— NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
— NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
— NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in partnership with the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (2 CubeSats)
— NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, Silver Spring, Md.
— Saint Louis University, St. Louis
— Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.
— Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala. (2 CubeSats)
— Taylor University, Upland, Ind.
— University of Alabama, Huntsville
— University of California, Berkeley
— University of Colorado, Boulder (2 CubeSats)
— University of Hawaii, Manoa (3 CubeSats)
— University of Illinois, Urbana (2 CubeSats)
— University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
— University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
— University of Texas, Austin
— US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
— Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg

Thirty-two CubeSat missions have been selected for launch in the previous two rounds of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Eight CubeSat missions have been launched (including five selected via the CubeSat Launch Initiative) to date via the agency’s Launch Services Program Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, program.

For additional information on NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

Source NASA

AMSAT Fox-1 Amateur Radio CubeSat selected for NASA ELaNa launch collaboration

KickSat – Zac Manchester KD2BHC Interview

Zac Manchester KD2BHC is an engineer at Cornell University in the Space Systems Design Studio who has created the Sprite – a “cracker-sized” satellite that changes the dynamics of the economics and thus the accessibility of spacecraft by several orders of magnitude.

Watch a recording of a live interview and Q&A session Jan 10, 2012.

KickSat – a personal spacecraft of your own in space

London Hackspace hope to have a sprite, HackSat1, deployed by KickSat, see

London Hackspace Project: Hoxton Space Centre

Would you like to have your own spacecraft in space?


Would you like to have your own spacecraft in space?

I’m Zac Manchester KD2BHC, a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. Over the last several years a few collaborators and I have designed, built, and tested a very tiny and inexpensive spacecraft called Sprite that can be built and launched into low Earth orbit for just a few hundred dollars each!

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