Ham Radio CubeSat FITSAT-1 becomes a “Shooting Star”

FITSAT-1 used LED's to signal in Morse code

FITSAT-1 used LED’s to signal in Morse code

The amateur radio CubeSat FITSAT-1, also known as NIWAKA, burnt up in the Earth’s atmosphere in the early hours of Thursday, July 4, 2013.

Image of ISS taken by the FITSAT-1 CubeSat after deployment

Image of ISS taken by the FITSAT-1 CubeSat after deployment

Takushi Tanaka JA6AVG of the Fukuoka Institute of Technology FITSAT project has issued this statement:

FITSAT-1 has decayed on July 4, 2013. The last signal was received by JA0CAW at 03:07(UT).

I appreciate all hams who joined our experiments, helped our operations, and sent me many reports.

I could make many friends in the world and enjoyed through FITSAT-1. Though FITSAT-1 became a shooting star,  I am very happy now.

Thank you very much again all Ham friends.

FITSAT-1 Flight Model

FITSAT-1 Flight Model

FITSAT-1, built by students at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology, was one of five CubeSats launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on July 21, 2012.

The CubeSats WE-WISH, TechEdSat, F-1, FITSAT-1 and RAIKO were integrated with the J-SSOD small satellite deployer on the the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo and deployed by the Kibo robotic arm on October 4, 2012 into a 420 km orbit.

Four of them, WE-WISH, TechEdSat, F-1 and FITSAT-1, have now de-orbited only RAIKO remains. The CubeSats that have de-orbited were all 1U in size (10x10x10 cm, 1-1.2 kg). The remaining CubeSat RAIKO is 2U in size, twice the volume and mass (20x10x10 cm, 2 kg).

Takushi Tanaka JA6AVG and FITSAT

Takushi Tanaka JA6AVG and FITSAT

FITSAT-1 carried a CW telemetry beacon on 437.250 MHz, a 1200 bps AX.25 packet radio transmitter on 437.445 MHz, a high-speed (115.2 kbps) data transmitter on 5840.0 MHz and an optical LED array to flash Morse code to observers on Earth.

The 5840.0 MHz transmitter on FITSAT-1 ran about 2 watts output. It supported a data rate of 115.2 kbps and sent a JPEG 640×480 VGA pictures in just 6 sec.

FITSAT-1’s low orbit meant its lifespan was limited to just 9 months but in that time it was able to achieve a number of technology firsts. Its success showed the outstanding design and construction abilities of the student team from the Fukuoka Institute of Technology.

Pictures Received on 5840 MHz from Amateur Radio Satellite FITSAT-1

FITSAT-1 Successfully Flashes Morse Code from Space

FITSAT-1 website http://www.fit.ac.jp/~tanaka/fitsat.shtml

Further information and pictures of the CubeSats are at

Amateur Radio CubeSats TechEdSat, F-1 and FITSAT-1 pass the ISS solar panels

Amateur Radio CubeSats TechEdSat, F-1 and FITSAT-1 pass the ISS solar panels

First picture from FITSAT-1 on 5840.0 MHz

First picture from FITSAT-1 on 5840.0 MHz showing the solar panels on the ISS

When the FITSAT-1 CubeSat was deployed from the International Space Station on October 4 it took a picture using the on-board camera. On Friday, October 19 UT, the team successfully downloaded the picture using the high-speed 115.2 kbps data transmitter on 5840.0 MHz.

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FITSAT-1 5840.0 MHz downlink received with FUNcube Dongle

Reception of FITSAT-1 5840.0 MHz downlink using FUNcube Dongle SDR

This video by radio amateur Tetsurou Satou JA0CAW shows reception in Japan of the 5840.0 MHz downlink from the FITSAT-1 (aka NIWAKA) CubeSat that was deployed from the ISS on October 4.

He used a 38cm dish with a down-converter to an IF of 1284 MHz, a BGA2717 LNA and the AMSAT-UK FUNCube Dongle SDR with HDSDR software.

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FITSAT-1 Update

FITSAT-1 plans to use LED’s to signal in Morse code

The amateur radio CubeSat FITSAT-1 (aka NIWAKA) carries an Optical Communications experiment that aims to write Morse Code across the night sky. The satellite is fitted with a bank of high power LEDs that will be driven with 200W pulses to produce extremely bright flashes that may be visible to the unaided eye.

FITSAT-1 was deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) at 15:44 UT on Thursday, October 4 along with F-1 and TechEdSat.

On Sunday, October 7 Takushi Tanaka JA6AVG provided this update:

We have received a lot of signal and telemetry reports from amsat members. All reports show FITSAT-1 starts working and sound. Thank you very much for your help.

We will examine movements, temperatures, and battery states of FITSAT-1 during these 10 days, and start experiments of 5.8GHz transmission and flashing LEDs.

I will announce the experiments on my web-page http://www.fit.ac.jp/~tanaka/fitsat.shtml

As well as 437.250 MHz and 437.445 MHz (both +/- 10 kHz Doppler) this innovative satellite can also transmit on 5840.0 MHz (+/- 134 kHz Doppler).

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