Successful Dnepr launch from Yasny – amateur radio satellite launch to follow


A DNEPR Lift-Off

On Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 14:39 UT Korea’s satellite KOMPSAT-5 launched on a Dnepr from Dombarovsky near Yasny. This marked the first flight of the Dnepr launcher since August 2011.

This successful Dnepr launch should clear the way for the launch in November of another Dnepr from Yasny believed to be carrying up to 23 satellites from 13 nations.

Most of the satellites will carry amateur radio payloads and it should be the largest single deployment of amateur radio satellites since the ill-fated Dnepr launch of July 26, 2006.

The launch had originally been planned for September 2012 but was postponed while the future of the Dnepr launch program was discussed.

ZACUBE-1 ready to be shipped to the Netherlands and from there to Yasny

ZACUBE-1 ready to be shipped to the Netherlands and from there to Yasny

Among the satellites carrying payloads operating in amateur radio bands that may be on the November launch are:
UniSat-5 microsat which will deploy Eagle-1, Eagle-2, QB-Scout, Wren and PUCP-SAT-1 which it turn should release a further satellite Pocket-PUCP
• Triton-1
• Triton-2
• GOMX-1
• UWE-3
• Humsat-D
CPUT ZAcube-1
• HinCube
• BeakerSat
NEE-02 KRYSAOR (980 MHz)

Battery Charger for FUNcube-1 Amateur Radio CubeSat

FUNcube-1 charger developed by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG - Image credit Graham Shirville G3VZV

FUNcube-1 charger developed by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG – Image credit Graham Shirville G3VZV

The launch date for the amateur radio FUNcube-1 satellite remains on schedule for November this year. Coming up this week, on August 22 at 14:39 UT, is the next DNEPR launch from Dombarovsky near Yasny so we are looking forward to the successful insertion of its KOMPSAT5 payload into orbit as this will give greater confidence for the actual FUNcube-1 launch date.

FUNcube-1 flight model - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 flight model – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

In the meantime every CubeSat needs to be able to have the capability to charge its on board batteries when already in its POD. Of course this means that we need a suitable battery charger and it needs something quite special so as to be certain that there is no risk of overcharging or other disaster.

The pictures show the charger which was specially designed and constructed by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG for FUNcube-1. Smartly presented in a blue anodised case, this charger can be set to charge the Li battery to the best voltage for long term storage, approx 7.6 Volts, and can also be used to enable the final pre-launch testing of the spacecraft and its flight software before launch.

FUNcube-1 carries a 435/145 MHz linear transponder for SSB/CW communications and a 145 MHz 1200 bps BPSK telemetry beacon. Further information at

FUNcube-1 battery charger - Image credit Graham Shirville G3VZV

FUNcube-1 battery charger – Image credit Graham Shirville G3VZV

Amateur Radio CubeBug-2 hopes for November 2013 Yasny Dnepr launch



CubeBug-2 is the second technology demonstration mission for a new 2U CubeSat platform design (mechanics, hardware and software) intended to be released as Open Source and Open Hardware for its use in Amateur projects, University projects and Research labs.

This project is sponsored by the Argentinian Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation. As payload on this second mission, some custom designed components will be tested: an antenna, solar panels, and an on-board computer, a camera, a GPS transceiver and a software defined radio based on COTS components.

CubeBug-2 is expected to be launched as part of a group of CubeSats in a DNEPR rocket launch planned for November 2013 from Yasny.

The satellite will be periodically transmitting AX.25 packets for the Amateur radio community to receive, and after the technology demonstration part of the mission is over, the satellite will enter a mode that will include a Digipeater, science data downloads from the payload (including images and recordings from the SDR, if possible).

Proposing to use 1k2/9k6 FSK/GMSK AX25 on UHF with an AstroDev L1 transceiver.

Its predecessor CubeBug-1 launched on a CZ-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Space Center on April 26, 2013 at 0413 UT.

CubeBug website

IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Status

Dnepr Launch Animation Video

A Dnepr launch

A Dnepr launch

The Dnepr rocket is a converted ICBM used for launching satellites into orbit, operated by launch service provider ISC Kosmotras. The first launch, on April 21, 1999, successfully placed UoSAT-12, a 350 kg demonstration mini-satellite, into a 650 km circular Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

It is based on the R-36MUTTH ICBM designed by the Yuzhnoe Design Bureau in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. Its control system was developed and produced by the JSC “Khartron”, Kharkiv. The Dnepr is a three-stage rocket using storable hypergolic liquid propellants. The launch vehicles used for satellite launches are withdrawn from service with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces and stored for commercial use. A group of 150 ICBMs can be converted for use and are available until 2020. The Dnepr can be launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan and a newly created Cosmodrome at the Dombarovsky launch base, near Yasny, in the Orenburg region of Russia.

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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

14099 kHz CPUT CubeSat to launch in 2013

Dr Sandile Malinga, CEO of the South African Space Agency
unveils South Africa’s first CubeSat – Image credit CPUT

The amateur radio CubeSat designed and built by students at the Cape Peninsular University of Technology in Bellville is expected to launch in the 4th quarter of 2013.

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