Amateur radio CubeSats prepared for deployment

Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA installing CubeSat deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Kibo laboratory of the ISS

Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA installing CubeSat deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Kibo laboratory of the ISS

NASA reports that on Thursday, February 20, 2014, International Space Station (ISS) astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA worked in the Japanese Kibo laboratory to prepare the second batch of NanoRacks CubeSats for their deployment beginning next Tuesday.

He opened the inner hatch to the airlock and replaced the empty deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform with loaded deployers. The platform and its deployers will be passed outside through the airlock to the Exposed Facility where Kibo’s robotic arm can grapple the platform and position the nanosatellites for launch. NanoRacks provides customers with CubeSat deployment services through a Space Act Agreement with NASA.

The deployment of the 12 commercial Planet Labs CubeSats is expected to take place at 1700 UT on Tuesday, February 25. The four amateur radio CubeSats LituanicaSat-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2, UAPSat-1 along with the 915 MHz SkyCube are expected to be deployed on Friday, February 28 at 07:30 UT.

Another amateur radio CubeSat the Peruvian Chasqui-1 was sent to the ISS on February 5, 2014. It is understood that Chasqui 1 is scheduled to be hand-deployed during a future Russian Extravehicular Activity (EVA).

CubeSats deployments are streamed live at

For frequencies of the amateur radio CubeSats and pictures of previous deployments see

Satellite TLE Challenge Begins

Dnepr Launch November 21, 2013 - Credit ISC Kosmotras

Dnepr Launch November 21, 2013 – Credit ISC Kosmotras

This week has seen deployments from the ISS, a Minotaur-1 and a Dnepr of an estimated 34 satellites carrying amateur radio payloads along with a number of commercial and research satellites.

After a launch the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) issue the Keplerian Two Line Element Set which can be used to determine the position and velocity of the associated satellite. CelesTrak make this information available and the file for launches in the past 30 days is available here.

After a new launch this file will list the ID’s of the objects that NORAD have detected. These objects can be parts of the rocket body as well as the satellites. The challenge in the days after launch is to work out which object ID’s correspond to which satellites.

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) Nico Janssen PA0DLO has posted an overview of the presently known IDs for the satellites that were launched between November 19-21.

ISS JSSOD Cubesat launches
2013-11-19 12:18 UTC
39412 1998-067DA  Pico Dragon ?
39413 1998-067DB  ArduSat 1 ?
39414 1998-067DC  ArduSat X ?
To be confirmed when the objects have more separation.
2013-11-20 07:58 UTC
39415 1998-067DD  TechEdSat 3P

Minotaur 1, Wallops Flight Facility
2013-11-20 01:15 UTC
ORS3 & ELaNa 4: 29 satellites
So far only 4 TLEs published. No IDs yet but probably:
39380 2013-064A  STPSat 3

Dnepr, Yasny
2013-11-21 07:10:11 UTC
32 satellites
19 TLEs published
39417 2013-066B  FUNcube 1
39427 2013-066M  Triton 1
39428 2013-066N  Delfi-n3Xt

Note that all designations may change later on.


Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs or ‘Keps’):
• New satellites launched in past 30 days
• CubeSats
• Experimental satellites
• Engineering satellites
• Amateur radio satellites

NORAD Two-Line Element Set Format

ISS CubeSats

Minotaur-1 ELaNa-4 launch

Dnepr Yasny launch

QB50 satellites apply for frequency coordination

Typical QB50 CubeSatThe first CubeSats of the planned QB50 satellite constellation have applied to the IARU for frequency coordination.

QB50 has the scientific objective to study in situ the temporal and spatial variations of a number of key constituents and parameters in the lower thermosphere (90-320 km) with a network of about 40 double and 10 triple CubeSats. These, university built, CubeSats will be launched into a 320 km circular orbit, will be separated by a few hundred kilometres and carry identical science sensors.

The sensors will monitor parameters that will greatly increase our knowledge and understanding of this little explored region of the E and F layers of the Ionosphere. QB50 will also study the re-entry process by measuring a number of key parameters during re-entry and by comparing predicted and actual CubeSat trajectories and orbital lifetimes.

Some of the first CubeSats to apply for frequency coordination are SUSat, Hoopoe/IL01, SAT-IP2, ExAlta-1, OGMS-SA, InflateSail, XCubesat, SpaceCube, UNSA-SAT1, EntrySat, PHOENIX and Dragsat-CubeSat, see

QB50: Amateur Radio transponder payloads to launch 2014

More information about the QB50 project can be found at

JAXA Plan CubeSat Deployment from ISS

Kibo Robot Arm CubeSat Deployment

Kibo Robot Arm CubeSat Deployment

Masa JN1GKZ reports on four CubeSats that are being sent to the International Space Station on August 4, 2013.

The Japanese space agency JAXA has announced that four CubeSats will be deployed from the ISS by the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD).

The four CubeSats are:
• PicoDragon a 1U CubeSat developed by Vietnam National Satellite Center(VNSC), University of Tokyo, IHI aerospace. CW beacon on 437.250 MHz and 1k2 AFSK AX.25 telemetry on 437.365 MHz
• ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X 1U CubeSats developed by Nanorack, NanoSatisfi. ArduSat-1 437.325 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink. ArduSat-X 437.345MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink.
• TechEdSat-3 a 3U CubeSat developed by NASA Ames Research Center

All the satellites should be sent to the ISS by the HTV-4 launcher on August 4, 2013.

The four CubeSats are expected to be deployed from the ISS sometime between October 2013 and March 2014.

It is believed that the company Nanorack will be deploying a number of CubeSats from the ISS this year, they may also be going to the ISS on HTV-4. Aviation Week say Nanorack expects to launch as many as 38 of the units on the first mission. Since CubeSats can be 1U, 2U or 3U in size it’s likely that the number of CubeSats will be less than 38. A figure of 26 CubeSats has been quoted on the IARU amateur satellite frequency coordination page but it is unclear how many of those will be carrying amateur radio payloads.

It is understood Nanorack charge $85,000 per 1U CubeSat for its ISS deployment service, see the Nanorack article at

Also on the HTV-4 launch in August will be the HamVideo transmitter, part of the 2.4 GHz HamTV system. This will be installed in the ISS Columbus module.

NASA Interns build a CubeSat

Antares CubeSat Launch

Antares Rocket Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Antares Rocket Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The launch of Antares carrying three CubeSats with amateur radio payloads is expected to take place on Wednesday, April 17.

ANS reports that three PhoneSat cubesats will be aboard the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares(TM) rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in eastern Virginia scheduled for April 17 at approximately 5:00 p.m. (EDT). The launch will be shown live on NASA TV at and also at

The three PhoneSats carry amateur radio payloads on 437.425 MHz, each transmits at intervals so all three should be receivable during a pass.

The callsign will be KJ6KRW all three satellites will transmit using AFSK (1200 bps) modulation, AX.25 packet coding. The two PhoneSat 1.0 satellites, Graham and Bell, transmit with a periodicity of respectively 28 seconds and 30 seconds. The PhoneSat 2.0 beta satellite, Alexandre, transmits with a periodicity of 25 seconds.

PhoneSat was chosen as one of the winners in the Aerospace category for the Popular Science magazine “Best of What’s New 2012″ awards. The PhoneSat is a technology demonstration mission consisting of three 1U CubeSats intended to prove that a smartphone can be used to perform many of the functions required of a spacecraft bus.

The satellite is built around the Nexus smartphone which will be running the Android operating system and will be enclosed in a standard 1U CubeSat structure. The main function of the phone is to act as the Onboard Computer, but the mission will also utilize the phone’s SD card for data storage, 5MP camera for Earth Observation, and 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis magnetometer for attitude determination.

One of the nanosatellites, powered by the HTC Nexus One smartphone, will send back pictures of Earth. The other two, running on the Samsung Nexus S, will have two-way S-band radio allowing them to be controlled from Earth.

With a short lifetime of only about one week, the satellites have no solar cells and operate on battery only.

An updated website with telemetry info is now available. Please note the launch date/time may change.

The Antares launch includes the commercial DOVE-1 satellite, a technology development experiment. The satellite had requested IARU coordination for a 1 watt transmitter on 145.825 MHz to downlink a 1200 baud AFSK AX.25 beacon with telemetry and health data. The AMSAT News Service reported in ANS-027 that according to the IARU DOVE-1 will no longer be using frequencies in the amateur radio bands.

It appears the USA FCC granted the experimental callsign WF9XKA for the use by Dove 1, it is believed it may use a downlink on 2420 MHz. Search for Cosmogia at
Dove-1  information
Dove 2 is slated to launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on April 19 on a Soyuz-2-1a,


TLEs / ‘Keps’ for recent launches

Check the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) for the latest information

Thanks to AMSAT News Service (ANS), AMSAT-NA, AMSAT-UK and Samudra Haque N3RDX / S21X for the above information.

Ecuadorian TV CubeSats pass qualification tests in the Netherlands

CubeSat NEE-01 Pegasus

CubeSat NEE-01 Pegasus – Image credit EXA

EXA Announcement: Guayaquil, March 13, 2013. – The Ecuadorian satellites NEE-01 PEGASUS and NEE-02 KRYSAOR passed all qualification tests for space flight and launch vehicle integration for the Chinese and Russian rockets and are now ready to take off the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency – EXA reported.

In February a joint team from the Ecuadorian government and EXA traveled to the Netherlands laboratories of spaceflight company ISIS / ISL who are managing the launch of the two CubeSats. NEE-01 and NEE-02 underwent qualification tests and passed these demanding tests smoothly.

Ronnie Nader with Elisse Nader and CubeSat

Ronnie Nader with Elisse Nader and CubeSat

A certificate was issued regarding acceptance and qualification of the satellites.

The EXA announcement said NEE-01 PEGASUS and NEE-02 KRYSAOR are the first CubeSats designed and developed entirely in Latin America, without help or support from abroad.

“This is a major milestone in our history and the history of the region, now our space technology is qualified for Russian and Chinese launch vehicles and to survive the space environment. The satellites passed the tests without any problems and now we await the launch of the first, the NEE-01 PEGASUS in the first half of May and the second in the latter half of July” said Ronnie Nader, Director of Space Operations EXA and leader of the team that designed and built the satellite.

Both satellites were designed and built by EXA engineers who donated their work voluntarily, the Ecuadorian Government financed the launch and testing.

EXA and the Ecuadorian government are engaging in ​​joint projects to ensure full utilization of the satellites, for both scientific and educational purposes.

NEE-02 Krysaor - Image credit EXA

NEE-02 Krysaor – Image credit EXA

The launch of the NEE-01 had been scheduled for November last year aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket, but the launch was postponed to July this year, and it was decided to launch NEE-01 on a Chinese Long March CZ-2D rocket The satellites had to meet the launch requirements of both vehicles, which was a skill level higher than previously achieved by the Ecuadorian engineers.

Source of text above: translated by Google.

Each CubeSat is just 10x10x10 cm (1U) and they have fold-out solar panels which give a total span of 70 cm. They will each carry a 0.9 watt output 720p HD TV transmitter and a beacon which will send a Morse Code ID, a SSTV image and Ecuador’s national anthem. It is understood that NEE-01 will operate on 910 MHz in the 33cm band, an amateur radio allocation in a number of countries, while NEE-02 will be on 980 MHz.

Educational outreach is an important part of the project. The satellite signals will be received and decoded by the EXA HERMES-A ground station in Guayaquil and then uploaded live to the Internet using Facebook and Twitter; the first signal will contain text book questions and the second will contain an image related to the question. If the students are able to answer the question correctly they will be granted access to the video camera on board the spacecraft and will be able to see Earth from space as the astronauts see it in their space missions. More advanced students will have access to the pure radio signal so they can try decoding it by themselves.

EXA indicate NEE-01 Pegasus is expected to launch on a Long March CZ-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Space Center on April 26 at 0413 UT and NEE-02 KRYSAOR on a Dnepr rocket from Dombarovsky near Yasny in the second half of July 2013.

Two TV CubeSats from Ecuador