End of mission for PicSat

Artist's impression of PicSat in space

Artist’s impression of PicSat in space

PicSat, launched January 12, carried an amateur radio FM transponder. Unfortunately following a loss of communications in March the team has had to announce the end of the mission.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, March 20, 2018 PicSat suddenly fell silent, after two successful morning passes over Europe. Attempts to re-establish contact have failed, nothing has been heard from the satellite, no sign of life.

There was a short-lived hope that PicSat was heard on Friday, March 30 by radio amateurs at the Morehead State University, but the faint signal heard turned out to be another satellite TIGRISAT.

On Thursday, April 5, 2018, the team decided to call mission-closed. A “pot” (French for party / drink) was organised at noon at the Paris Observatory in Meudon. Sylvestre Lacour gave a short speech. Four radio amateurs who have been PicSat fans and great supporters joined in via a dedicated Google Hangout.

The team will continue to try to understand what went awry, while plans for new projects are being made. PicSat was operational for over 10 weeks. From a technological point of view it has been a success for the LESIA laboratory of the Paris Observatory – PSL, for whom PicSat has been the very first nano-satellite complete built and operated in-house. This experience will open doors for new nano-satellite projects in the (near) future.

Watch Bye Bye PicSat (for now)

PicSat https://picsat.obspm.fr/

Athenoxat-1 QSL Card Challenge

Athenoxat-1 CubeSat 2015


The Athenoxat-1 project team has implemented an interesting experiment (puzzle) where frames containing fragments of images of QSL cards are periodically transmitted by the satellite. Amateurs can participate in the experiment by receiving the fragments and sending KISS files via email to the Athenoxsat-1 project team. The frames will then be processed and the results will posted in their web site with acknowledgements to the participating stations.

AMSAT-BR would like to encourage amateurs to participate. Due to the satellite orbit inclination (15 degrees), only locations with latitudes below the tropics will be able to receive signals from the satellite. Signals can be demodulated using UZ7HO’s high speed soundmodem software (using the GOMX-1 4800 bps demodulator).

Original message from Yesie 9V1SQ describing the experiment follows:

Dear everyone,

Finally we’ve done with the preparation and in-orbit test of beacon puzzle round 2 (data type 3).
We can now inform you that Athenoxat-1 is beaconing data type 3 with 10 frames per burst every minute (30sec interval alternating with Morse CW).

For the stations around our control station (in Singapore), please keep tuning in as the satellite is still beaconing the data type 3 although it may seem appear busy in comm.operation.
The only apparent change is that you may not hear the Morse CW once our comm.operation starts.

We’ve updated our website here: http://www.micro-space.org/ham.html

We actually have started enabling this round 2 yesterday as part of in-orbit test to ensure the system is stable, before we can announce this officially.
At the same time, there are already kss files submissions, we’ll take them into account later.

Please let us know if you need any clarifications.
The kss files can be submitted through the usual address athenoxat@micro-space.org
Please feel free to inform others who may be interested and able to listen to Athenoxat-1.

Thank you in advance for listening.
73 de Athenoxat-1 team
Yesie 9V1SQ

HuskySat-1 145/435 MHz Linear Transponder CubeSat also has 24 GHz Downlink



A 3U Cube Satellite, dubbed the HuskySat-1, is being developed by an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington and will be launched into Low Earth Orbit to become the first amateur satellite from Washington state.

HuskySat-1 CubeSat

HuskySat-1 CubeSat

This CubeSat will demonstrate the capabilities of new technologies being developed at the University of Washington and expand the capabilities of CubeSats as a whole. In particular, a high-thrust pulsed plasma thruster (PPT), and high-gain communications system will form the core technology suite on board the satellite.

The majority of the HuskySat-1 is being developed at the University of Washington. The satellite is broken up into different subsystems. Each component is designed to be modular so that they can be most easily developed independently from each other and reused for future missions.

The Pulsed Plasma thruster will use tungsten electrodes and a sulfur propellant.

HuskySat-1 will carry a 30 kHz wide 145 to 435 MHz linear transponder for amateur radio SSB/CW communications along with 1k2 BPSK telemetry. The satellite will also transmit BPSK telemetry at 1 Mbps in the 24 GHz band.

The launch is planned for late 2018 with the ELaNA XXIV mission into a high inclination Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

HuskySat-1 https://sites.google.com/uw.edu/huskysatellitelab/huskysat-1

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination http://amsat.org.uk/iaru

HuskySat-1 Propulsion

HuskySat-1 Propulsion

FM transponder satellite AO-92 open for amateur radio use

AO-92 / Fox-1D CubeSat

AO-92 / Fox-1D CubeSat

On the 03:25 UTC pass on January 26, 2018, AMSAT Vice President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, announced that AO-92 had been commissioned and formally turned the satellite over to AMSAT Operations. AMSAT Vice President – Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, then declared that AO-92 was now open for amateur use.

Initially, the U/v FM transponder will be open continuously for a period of one week. After the first week, operations will be scheduled between the U/v FM transponder, L-Band Downshifter, Virginia Tech Camera, and the University of Iowa’s High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument (HERCI).

Schedule updates will appear in the AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins and will also be posted to the AMSAT-BB, AMSAT’s Twitter account (@AMSAT), the AMSAT North America Facebook group, and the AMSAT website at https://www.amsat.org/satellite-schedules/

AO-92 was launched on the PSLV-C40 mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India on January 12, 2018. For the past two weeks, the AMSAT Engineering and Operations teams have been testing the various modes and experiments on board. Testing has shown that both the U/v FM transponder and L-Band Downshifter work very well. The Virginia Tech camera has returned stunning photos and data from HERCI has been successfully downlinked.

AMSAT thanks the 178 stations worldwide that have used FoxTelem to collect telemetry and experiment data from AO-92 during the commissioning process. The collection of this data is crucial to the missions of AMSAT’s Fox-1 satellites. Please continue to collect data from AO-85, AO-91, and AO-92.

Radio Programming Chart – Fox-1D Doppler Shift Correction
Memory 1 (AOS) – TX 435.340 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.880 MHz
Memory 2 (Rise) – TX 435.345 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.880 MHz
Memory 3 (TCA) – TX 435.350 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.880 MHz
Memory 4 (Descend) – TX 435.355 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.880 MHz
Memory 5 (LOS) – TX 435.360 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.880 MHz

The L-band experiment will use 1267.350 MHz uplink with 145.880 MHz downlink. UHF and L-band uplink operation are set by the command stations; the operating schedule will be posted.

AMSAT Bulletin Board http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb

N2YO online real-time satellite tracking http://www.n2yo.com/

AMSAT-NA online orbital predictions http://www.amsat.org/track/

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days

Adding new satellites to SatPC32, Gpredict and Nova

PicSat Requests Ham Radio Assistance to Capture/Upload Telemetry

Artist's impression of PicSat in space

Artist’s impression of PicSat in space

The CubeSat PicSat carrying an amateur radio FM transponder was launched on the same PSLV-C40 flight from India that delivered AO-92 to orbit.

PicSat is a nano-satellite aimed at observing the transit of the young exoplanet Beta Pictoris b in front of its bright and equally young star Beta Pictoris, and at demonstrating an innovative technological concept to use optical fibres for astronomical observations from Space.

The CubeSat contains an embedded FM transponder. It will be available when possible during the mission.

Frequency information:
Uplink FM 145.910 MHz 1750 Hz tone when in amateur mode
Downlink FM 435.525 MHz 9k6 BPSK AX25 Data and FM voice when in amateur mode

A description of the telemetry and related information are available on

This week the PicSat team requested amateur radio assistance to capture and upload telemetry packets from the satellite. Beacons received from all over the world are especially useful to monitor the status of satellite along its orbit (and not just when it is above our own station). Science data are obviously useful for the science mission. And all other packets, even when they do not look like much, can be of great importance! For example, we often receive satellite acknowledgements to our commands from ground station in France or Europe which are listening at the same time as us. It may look useless, but it is not. We regularly miss those packets ourselves, so it is good to have other people receiving them and sending
them to us.

There are three ways to send your data. The options for your upload will become available on your profile tab after registration at their website: https://picsat.obspm.fr/connexion?locale=en

Full details of the packet uploading procedure are posted at:

+ Fast upload beacon: mainly intended as a way to directly upload a beacon by copy/paste when you receive, and to get an immediate overview of the satellite status. When you are a new user, this is also the only way you can upload a packet. Upload one beacon successfully, and you will have access to the other methods!

This page accepts a hexadecimal string, like “0123456789ABCDEF” in which whitespaces and upper/lower case are ignored (“01 23 45 67 89 ab cd ef”, or even something like “0 1 234 56789 aBc dEf” will be accepted). The hexadecimal string must represent the AX.25 packet (without flags), possibly KISS encapsulated (starting with “C0 00” and ending with “C0”)

+ Upload data: this can be used to upload files containing multiple packets at once. The files are stored on our servers, and processed daily.

+ SiDS requests: This will be implemented in the near future.

PicSat shares a similar orbit with AO-92 since they were both deployed at approximately the same time. PicSat has been included in the 2 line Keplerian Elements distributions. On-line orbit predications for PicSat can be found at https://picsat.obspm.fr/operations/orbital-map?locale=en

Follow PicSat at https://twitter.com/IamPicSat

Zhou Enlai student satellite launched

Some of the students from Huai'an who helped develop the Zhou Enlai CubeSat

Some of the students from Huai’an who helped develop the Zhou Enlai CubeSat

The 2U CubeSat Zhou Enlai 周恩来 developed with primary and middle school students was launched at 04:12 UT on Friday, January 19, 2018. 26 delegates from the satellite development student team in Huai’an who helped develop the CubeSat were at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center for the launch.

The satellite is named after the first Premier of the PRC, Zhou Enlai, who was born in Huai’an and held office from October 1949 until January 1976.

Zhou Enlai is listed as HA-1 on the IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination pages. It carries an FM transponder and has SSTV capability, the frequencies are at http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/iaru/finished_detail.php?serialnum=589

Also on the launch were the 6U CubeSats Xiaoxiang-2 (TY-2) and Yizhuang QuanTuTong-1 (QTT 1 / TY-6) developed by TianYi Research Institute in Changsha, Hunan Province, also known as SPACETY. TY-2 carries four experiments, testing optical fiber sensing technology, space radio software, Amateur Radio and image stabilization while TY-6 carries navigation and communication payloads (including AIS) along with the Amateur Radio payload. TY2 and TY6 both operate in the 435, 2400, 5650 and 5830 MHz amateur satellite service bands, further information at http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/iaru/finished_detail.php?serialnum=556

Nico PA0DLO reports detailed Doppler measurements show that TY-2 is object 43155, 2018-008A, downlink: 435.350 MHz and TY-6 is either object 43157, 2018-008C, or 43158, 2018-008D, downlink: 436.100 MHz.

Zhou Enlai CubeSat

Zhou Enlai CubeSat

A Xinhua Net report on the Zhou Enlai CubeSat says:

The satellite was sent from its production base in Huai’an Youth Comprehensive Development Base in east China’s Jiangsu Province to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gansu Province Monday, where a CZ-11 solid fuel rocket is scheduled to put it into orbit Friday.

Twenty teenagers who participated in the development project accompanied the transport group to the launch center and will witness the lift-off.

Zhang Xiang, chief designer of the satellite, said that the nano-satellite, weighing 2 kilograms, is set to run in sun-synchronous orbit. Equipped with a HD optical camera, it can capture space photos with the highest resolution among those shot by other Chinese satellites for scientific education purpose.

Zhang said that the students had taken their spare time to join the development and groundbased simulation performance of the satellite, and had learnt to assemble and practice voice data transfer and telecommunication applications.

“A scientific satellite like this is like a teacher in space, carrying cameras or spectroscopes to study the upper atmosphere or to shoot space pictures of the stars. Students can grasp the mystery of the universe through the messages transmitted by the teacher,” said Zhang, a professor with Nanjing University of Science and Engineering.

Read the full story at http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-01/17/c_136902466.htm

Spaceflight101 article https://spaceflight101.com/china-third-long-march-11-launch/

GBTimes article https://gbtimes.com/long-march-11-rocket-launches-five-small-chinese-satellites-and-canadian-cubesat

N2YO online real-time satellite tracking http://www.n2yo.com/

AMSAT-NA online orbital predictions http://www.amsat.org/track/

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days

Adding new satellites to SatPC32, Gpredict and Nova