Vega VV02 lift-off from Kourou on May 7, 2013 at 02:06 UT
Estonia’s first CubeSat ESTCube-1, amateur radio callsign ES5E, was launched from Kourou in the Caribbean on May 7 at 0206 UT on an ESA Vega rocket into a 704 km orbit. Also on the same launch were Vietnam’s VNREDSat-1A and ESA’s Proba‑V satellites.
ESTCube-1 – Image credit University of Tartu
This Vega mission required five upper-stage boosts and lasted about twice as long as its first launch, in February 2012.
The three solid-propellant stages performed flawlessly and, after two burns of the liquid-propellant upper stage, Proba‑V was released into a circular orbit at an altitude of 820 km, over the western coast of Australia, some 55 minutes into flight.
After releasing Proba-V, the upper stage performed a third burn and the top half of the egg-shaped Vega Secondary Payload Adapter was ejected. After a fourth burn to circularize the orbit at an altitude of 704 km, VNREDSat-1A was released 1 hour 57 minutes into flight. ESTCube‑1 was ejected from its dispenser three minutes later.
ESTCube-1 was built by students at the University of Tartu. The main mission of the satellite is to test electric solar wind sail technology, a novel space propulsion technology that could revolutionize transportation within the solar system. It will deploy a 10 meter conductive electrodynamic tether and the force interacting with the tether will be measured.
ESTCube-1 at press conference in Tallinn before shipping January 21, 2013 – Image credit University of Tartu
The technology is based on the electrostatic interaction between the electric field generated by the satellite and the high-speed particles being ejected from the Sun. A spacecraft utilizing this method would first deploy a set of electrically charged wires, which allow to generate an electric field over a large area. This area effectively forms a “sail” that can be pushed by the charged particles by being diverted by it and therefore transferring momentum to the craft.
The team also aim to capture images of Estonia for outreach purposes.
The IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel have published these frequencies for ESTCube-1
437.250 MHz – CW beacon, callsign ES5E/S
437.505 MHz – 9600 bps AX.25 telemetry, callsign ES5E-11
The CW beacon has been received slightly high of the published frequency on 437.2515 MHz (+/- Doppler shift). Among those reporting the signal have been Nader Omer ST2NH in Sudan, Mike Rupprecht DK3WN in Germany, and Hector Martinez CO6CBF in Cuba who was using an AMSAT-UK FUNcube Dongle SDR.
Watch Estonian’s ESTCube-1
Watch Exploded view of ESTCube-1
Electric solar wind sail http://www.electric-sailing.fi/
EstCube on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/estcube/
EstCube website http://www.estcube.eu/en/home
Wiki EstCube-1 http://tinyurl.com/WikiESTCube-1
ESA report on launch and deployment
Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days
Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for CubeSats are at
Free satellite tracking software:
• SimpleSat Look Down http://www.tomdoyle.org/SimpleSatLookDown/
• Gpredict http://gpredict.oz9aec.net/
• Orbitron http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=9051
ESTCube Ground Station Antennas