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/

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

Ham radio CubeSat launch success

CNUSail-1 Credit KARI-Blog

CNUSail-1 Credit KARI-Blog

CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads were among the 31 satellites successfully launched on January 12 at 0359 UT on the ISRO PSLV-C40 mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.

Two of the CubeSats, Fox-1D and PicSat, carry amateur radio FM transponders, but neither is yet available for general amateur use. The PicSat FM transponder is unusual in that instead of a CTCSS tone it requires a 1750 Hz tone burst to activate. The 1750 Hz tone burst used to be popular on IARU Region 1 FM repeaters in the 1980s and 90s before the widespread use of CTCSS.

CNUSail-1, built by students at the Chungnam National University in Korea, carries a deployable sail. The students have requested the help of radio amateurs in receiving the 437.100 MHz 9600 bps BPSK beacon, further information is available at https://sites.google.com/view/cnuusg

JE9PEL lists these frequencies for the satellites carrying amateur radio payloads:

Fox-1D (AO-92) 145.880 down 435.350/1267.350 up FM CTCSS 67.0Hz/200bps DUV
PicSat         435.525 1200bps BPSK
CNUSail-1      437.100 9600bps BPSK
SIGMA          435.780 MHz BPSK 9600 bps
Canyval-X 1/2  437.200 9600bps MSK
KAUSAT-5       437.465/2413.000 9600bps FSK,115k2 MSK
STEP-1         437.485 9600bps FSK CW

Shankar A65CR/VU2SWG reported coping the Fox-1D satellite voice beacon on the morning pass at 30 deg elevation in Dubai using a TH-F7 with standard rubber duck. YL voice with satellite identifier. Very short burst with fluctuating carrier.

Madhu A65DE also copied Fox-1D from Fujairah, North of Dubai.

Picture taken by Fox-1D AO-92 on January 13, 2018

Picture taken by Fox-1D AO-92 on January 13, 2018

AMSAT North America has issued a statement formally designating Fox-1D as AO-92:

Fox-1D, a 1U CubeSat, is the third of AMSAT’s five Fox-1 CubeSats to reach orbit, being preceded by AO-85 (Fox-1A) and AO-91 (RadFxSat / Fox-1B). Fox-1D carries the Fox-1 U/v FM transponder, with an uplink of 435.350 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink of 145.880 MHz. In addition, Fox-1D carries several university experiments, including a MEMS gyro from Pennsylvania State University – Erie, a camera from Virginia Tech, and the University of Iowa’s HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping experiment. Fox-1D also carries the AMSAT L-Band Downshifter experiment which enables the FM transponder to be switched to utilize an uplink of 1267.350 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS).

Fox-1D was sent aloft as a secondary payload on the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s PSLV-XL rocket as part of the PSLV-C40 mission. Fox-1D was one of thirty-one satellites successfully deployed on this launch.

Since Fox-1D has met all of the qualifications necessary to receive an OSCAR number, I, by the authority vested in me by the AMSAT President, do hereby confer on this satellite the designation AMSAT-OSCAR 92 or AO-92. I join amateur radio operators in the U.S. and around the world in wishing AO-92 a long and successful life in both its amateur and scientific missions.

I, along with the rest of the amateur community, congratulate all of the volunteers who worked so diligently to construct, test and prepare for launch the newest amateur radio satellite.

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO
AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator

Further information on the Fox-1D launch, deployment and designation at

Pictures taken by Fox-1D (AO-92) http://www.amsat.org/tlm/fox1d/images/

Information on PicSat is available via

Report on the five Korean satellites that were launched

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

PicSat to launch Friday

Artist's impression of PicSat in space

Artist’s impression of PicSat in space

The PicSat 3U CubeSat carrying an amateur radio 145/435 MHz FM transponder is planned to launch into Earth orbit on January 12, 2018. The launch will be streamed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNEcE7-odCo

The primary mission is to study the star Beta Pictoris, its exoplanet and its famous debris disk, thanks to a small telescope 5 cm in diameter. The nanosatellite has been designed and built over three years by scientists and engineers at the Paris Observatory and the CNRS, with support from the Université PSL, the French space agency CNES, the European Research Council and the MERAC Foundation.

The nominal PicSat mission will last for one year. When the start of a planetary or other transit is observed, the 3.6-meter telescope from the European Southern Observatory in La Sille, Chile, will also be immediately put into action to observe Beta Pictoris using the powerful HARPS instrument. These data combined will allow an even better understanding of the phenomenon.

On Friday, January 12 2018 at 0358 UT, the Indian PSLV launcher will lift off and place PicSat in a polar orbit at an altitude of 505 km, together with about thirty other satellites. PicSat will be operated from Lesia in Meudon. However, the satellite will be visible from Meudon for only about 30 minutes every day, when it passes over Paris. Therefore, PicSat uses radio amateur bands for its communication, for which authorisation has been obtained thanks to the help of the French Réseau des Émetteurs Français (REF, or the Network of French Emitters).

Anybody who owns a minimum radio receiving equipment can listen to and receive PicSat’s transmissions on 435.525 MHz. The PicSat team invites radio amateurs from all over the world to collaborate in following the satellite, receiving its data and relaying them to the PicSat data base via the Internet. Those interested can register on the PicSat website to follow the updates and, if they so wish, become part of the radio network, see http://PicSat.obspm.fr/

Watch the launch at http://webcast.gov.in/live/

Social Media

Download the PicSat Press Release PDF

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination