Vega Launch Success – Satellite Signals Heard

Lift off of Vega

Lift off of Vega - Image Credit ESA

The first Vega, flight VV01, lifted off at 1000 UT Monday, February 13 from the ESA Spaceport at Kourou in the Caribbean carrying eight student built amateur radio satellites and the LARES Laser Relativity Satellite into orbit.

LARES was put into a 1435 by 1452 km 69.5 degree inclination orbit, while the orbit of the amateur radio satellites is 310 by 1441 km.

At 1153 UT Drew Glasbrenner KO4MA reported hearing signals from the satellites as they went past Florida. Signals were first heard in the United Kingdom at around 1207 UT.

In Germany Mike Repprecht DK3WN copied the satellites at an elevation of just 3 degress at 1209 UT, see http://www.dk3wn.info/p/?cat=83

A recording of PW-Sat made by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG at 1207 UT can be heard at http://www.pa3weg.nl/pa3weg/recordings/PW-SAT%20recording%20PA3WEG%2013-02-2012_1207UTC.mp3

In the Czech Republic Mirek Kasal OK2AQ received strong signals from Masat-1 http://www.urel.feec.vutbr.cz/esl/files/Othact/masat1_rev5.wav

Nittin Muttin VU3TYG received PW-Sat at 1246 UT as it travelled over India, his recording is at http://vu3tyg.addr.com/pwsat/pw_sat-%20Feb%2013th.mp3

In Sudan Nader ST2NH received signals from AlmaSat-1 and Masat-1.

KO4MA Screenshot of Vega CubeSats

KO4MA Screenshot of Vega CubeSats

As of Monday evening signals had been reported from AlmaSat-1, Goliat, Masat-1, PW-Sat, UniCubeSat and XaTcobeo.

All the Vega amateur radio satellite project teams used the IARU amateur satellite frequency coordination panel service. A benefit of IARU coordination was that all the different UHF satellite signals could be simultaneously captured within the typical 192 kHz bandwidth of a modern Software Defined Radio (SDR).

PW-Sat is the only satellite with a downlink in the 145 MHz band. Its 1200bps BPSK signal on 145.900 MHz is receiveable with an SSB radio and an omni-directional antenna.

When PW-Sat has finished its primary scientific mission it will be reconfigured as a 435/145 MHz FM to DSB transponder for general amateur radio communications. The FM to Double Sideband transponder was first pioneered by amateurs on the satellite AO-16.

PW-Sat carries a deployable drag augmentation device known as the tail. The main objective of this experiment is to test the concept of using atmospheric drag to deorbit the satellite. It is hoped to be able to remove the satellite from orbit at a predicted time, about one year after launch.

The other amateur radio satellites have downlinks in 437 MHz. A small 430 MHz  band Yagi antenna may be used to receive the signals. They are expected to have a lifetime of 3-4 years depending on the atmospheric drag which is higher at sunspot maximum.

Watch the launch of Vega VV01

The Masat-1 satellite team have made available software to decode their 437.345 MHz telemetry data via a PC sound card. The software can be downloaded from http://cubesat.bme.hu/en/foldi-allomas/kliens-szoftver/

This video shows the eliptical 310 by 1441 km orbit of the satellites.

The prelimary TLEs, used by tracking software to predict the orbits, were generated by a team lead by Paolo Tortora at the University of Bologna in Italy. They proved to be accurate with the satellites appearing at the expected time.

Student amateur radio satellite downlink frequencies:
(Worst case Doppler shift during pass +/-9 kHz at 437 MHz and +/- 3 kHz at 145 MHz)
+ AlmaSat-1   437.465 MHz 1200 bps FSK, 2407.850 MHz
+ E-St@r        437.445 MHz 1200 bps AFSK
+ Goliat          437.485 MHz 1200 bpx AFSK
+ Masat-1      437.345 MHz 625/1250 bps GFSK, CW
+ PW-Sat       145.900 MHz 1200 bps BPSK AX25, CW
+ Robusta      437.325 MHz? (website says now 437.350 MHz) 1200 bps FM telemetry – one data burst of 20 secs every 1 min
+ UniCubeSat 437.305 MHz 9600 bps FSK
+ XaTcobeo     437.365 MHz FFSK with AX.25

Satscape Free Satellite Tracking Software http://www.satscape.info/home/?q=node/2 

Preliminary Vega TLE’s for launch at 1000 UT here

Website URLs for the student satellite are at http://www.uk.amsat.org/4180

ESA report Student CubeSats start talking to Earth

IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel hosted by AMSAT-UK http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/

Student Satellite Launch To Be Broadcast Live

Artists impression of Vega launch

Artists impression of Vega launch

The launch of eight student amateur radio satellites from the space center at Kourou in the Caribbean will be broadcast live on the Internet.

The launch should take place between 1000-1300 UT on Monday, February 13 and you’ll be able to watch it at http://www.videocorner.tv/

The student teams have requested reception reports. During the Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP) Monday, listeners are encouraged to gather at the IRC “cubesat” channel to exchange all the latest available information. Simply point your browser to http://webchat.freenode.net/ and join the #cubesat channel. In the Nickname: field enter “name_callsign” and in the Channels: field enter #cubesat

Preliminary Vega TLE’s for launch at 1000, 1100 or 1200 UT here

Assuming a 1000 UT launch the satellites should deploy their antennas and start transmitting at about 1140 UT. It looks like the first to get reception will be Central America followed quickly by a pass up the East coast of North America. The first pass for the United Kingdom should be a horizon skimmer across the NW at around 1207 UT.

Student amateur radio satellite downlink frequencies:
+ AlmaSat-1   437.465 MHz 1200 bps FSK, 2407.850 MHz
+ E-St@r        437.445 MHz 1200 bps AFSK
+ Goliat          437.485 MHz 1200 bpx AFSK
+ Masat-1      437.345 MHz 625/1250 bps GFSK, CW
+ PW-Sat       145.900 MHz 1200 bps BPSK AX25, CW
+ Robusta      437.325 MHz 1200 bps FM telemetry – one data burst of 20 secs every 1 min
+ UniCubeSat 437.305 MHz 9600 bps FSK
+ XaTcobeo     437.365 MHz FFSK with AX.25

Masat-1 telemetry decode software http://www.uk.amsat.org/4385

URLs for the student satellite websites are at http://www.uk.amsat.org/4180

Vega Elliptical Orbit Video http://www.uk.amsat.org/4119

Satscape Free Satellite Tracking Software http://www.satscape.info/home/?q=node/2 

N2YO Real Time Satellite Tracking http://www.n2yo.com/

PW-SAT on BRITE TV

PW-Sat with antennas deployed

PW-Sat with antennas deployed

The Polish amateur radio satellite PW-SAT built by students at the Warsaw University of Technology was featured on BRITE TV.

The Internet TV channel BRITE TV, covers the construction of the first Polish scientific satellites BRITE-PL 1 – Lem and BRITE-PL 2 – Hevelius which will be part of the BRITE constellation. Sometimes the TV channel covers other topics related to space technology.

Episode 14 talks about the CubeSat PW-SAT, built by students of Warsaw University of Technology working with the Space Research Centre PAS, due to be launched on Vega at the end of January.

PW-SAT carries a single channel transponder that will operate in a similar way to the amateur satellite AO-16. The uplink on 435.020 MHz will be FM and the downlink on 145.900 MHz will use the BPSK telemetry beacon transmitter to produce Double Sideband (DSB) that can be received on an SSB radio.

Watch BRITE-TV – Episode 14 – PW-SAT (in Polish)

PW-SAT Blog http://ska.meil.pw.edu.pl/pwsat_blog_pl/?lang=en

PW-Sat to launch in January http://www.uk.amsat.org/2011/12/15/pw-sat-to-launch-in-january/

For more information on PW-Sat in Google English see http://tinyurl.com/CubeSatPW-Sat

BRITE Constellation http://www.univie.ac.at/brite-constellation/

BRITE-PL in Google English http://tinyurl.com/BRITE-PL

AMSAT-UK publishes a colour A4 newsletter, OSCAR News, which is full of Amateur Satellite information.
Free sample issue at http://www.uk.amsat.org/on_193_final.pdf
Join online at http://tinyurl.com/JoinAMSAT-UK

Amateur Radio Satellites Approach Launch

Amateur radio CubeSats and ALMASat-1 being prepared for launch

The integration of Vega’s first, second and third stages is now complete at ESA’s Spaceport at Kourou in the Caribbean. ESA say the new rocket is moving full speed ahead towards its maiden flight at the end of January.

Vega will carry seven amateur radio satellites, ALMASat-1 and six Cubesats. The primary payload is LARES (Laser Relativity Satellite), a passive satellite with laser mirrors for the study of the Earth gravitational field and general relativity measurements (Lense-Thirring effect).

By the end of December, the six CubeSats, ALMASat-1 and LARES will be ready and enclosed in the fairing, well in time for the launch.

PW-Sat to launch in January

Vega to Launch Amateur Radio Satellites

Vega moves closer to its first liftoff 

OSCAR News is published quarterly by AMSAT-UK. Download a free sample issue here join here

PW-Sat to launch in January

PW-Sat, a 1U CubeSat to be launched on the first VEGA flight in January, will carry a 435 to 145 MHz Amateur Radio transponder.

The single channel transponder will operate in a similar way to the amateur satellite AO-16. The uplink on 435.020 MHz will be FM and the downlink on 145.900 MHz will use the BPSK telemetry beacon transmitter to produce Double Sideband (DSB) that can be received on an SSB radio.

PW-Sat should be launched into a 1450 by 300 km 71 degree orbit and may be expected to have a lifetime of about 4 years before re-entry. It was built by students of Warsaw University of Technology in cooperation with the Space Research Centre and will be Poland’s first satellite.

PW-Sat has five modes of operation:
1. Receive only mode – no downlink
2. Beacon CW mode – Downlink On-Off Keying (OOK) CW (1kHz) 12 WPM on 145.900 MHz
3. Beacon BPSK mode – Downlink BPSK (3 kHz) 1200 bps AX25 (1 frame on 20 sec) on 145.900 MHz
4. Control communication mode. Downlink BPSK (3 kHz) 1200 bps AX25 on 145.900 MHz
5. Voice Repeater mode (aka “AO-16” mode) – Uplink 435.020 MHz FM (15 kHz) Downlink 145.900 DSB (3 kHz)

For more information on PW-Sat in Google English see  http://tinyurl.com/CubeSatPW-Sat 

Vega to Launch Amateur Radio Satellites

IARU Amateur satellite frequency co-ordination panel pages hosted by AMSAT-UK http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/

AO-16 FM-DSB transponder http://www.southgatearc.org/news/january2008/ao16_reconfigured.htm

OSCAR News is published quarterly by AMSAT-UK and posted to members.
To get your copy join AMSAT-UK online at http://tinyurl.com/JoinAMSAT-UK/
Free sample issue at http://www.uk.amsat.org/on_193_final.pdf

Vega to Launch Amateur Radio Satellites

Artists impression of Vega launch

Artists impression of Vega launch

The inaugural launch of the ESA Vega rocket will carry the amateur radio microsatellite ALMASat-1 and at least six CubeSats.

The satellites will be launched from the ESA spaceport at Kourou in the Caribbean into an elliptical orbit of 1450 by 354 km at an inclination of 71 degrees. They are expected to have a lifetime before re-entry of 4 years.

ESA say the six CubeSats to be launched on Vega in late January 2012 comprise:

Xatcobeo (a collaboration of the University of Vigo and INTA, Spain): a mission to demonstrate software-defined radio and solar panel deployment;
Robusta (University of Montpellier 2, France): a mission to test and evaluate radiation effects (low dose rate) on bipolar transistor electronic components;
e-st@r (Politecnico di Torino, Italy): demonstration of an active 3-axis Attitude Determination and Control system including an inertial measurement unit;
Goliat (University of Bucharest, Romania): imaging of the Earth surface using a digital camera and in-situ measurement of radiation dose and micrometeoroid flux;
PW-Sat (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland): a mission to test a deployable atmospheric drag augmentation device for de-orbiting CubeSats;
MaSat-1 (Budapest University of Technology and Economics): a mission to demonstrate various spacecraft avionics, including a power conditioning system, transceiver and on-board data handling.

ESA indicate that a 7th CubeSat may be delivered in time to be flown.

PW-Sat carries an FM to DSB amateur radio transponder with an FM input on 435.020 MHz and DSB output on 145.900 MHz.

The primary payload on the launch, LARES, will be deployed into an orbit of 1200 km × 1200 km with an inclination of 71 degrees.

Frequencies and links for the CubeSats can be found at http://www.ne.jp/asahi/hamradio/je9pel/esa9cubf.htm

ESA CubeSats delivered for first Vega flight http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Education/SEM3L0WWVUG_0.html

ESA Education – CubeSats http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Education/SEM3N03MDAF_0.html

The IARU amateur satellite frequency coordination pages hosted by AMAT-UK list the frequencies of the amateur radio satellites http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/

ALMASat-1 http://www.almasat.org/