RAX-2 Success – Anomaly Detected

RAX-2 Detects Comms-Disrupting Anomaly

RAX-2 Detects Communication-Disrupting Anomaly http://rax.sri.com/

Matt Bennett KF6RTB reports that the amateur radio CubeSat, Radio Auroral Explorer 2 (RAX-2), has detected the communication-disrupting anomaly in the upper atmosphere it was searching for. The team have expressed their thanks to the amateur radio community.

RAX-2 was built by students at the University of Michigan. The primary objective of the mission is to use the onboard radar receiver in conjunction with a powerful radar station in Alaska to study the formation of a plasma anomaly known for causing the scintillation of radio signals in the UHF and higher bands. This scintillation effect is known to inhibit our space radar tracking capabilities and ground-space communications. Studying this anomaly in this bi-static radar configuration (ground based transmitter, space-base receiver) will provide scientists with a better understanding of these anomalies that has not been achievable with ground radars alone.

Late on Friday, March 9, Matt KF6RTB announced the news:

This is unbelievable!! After more than three years of hard work and dedication by my team and professor at Michigan, our chief scientist confirmed today that the RAX-2 spacecraft we designed, built, and launched into space has detected the communication-disrupting anomaly in the upper atmosphere that we’ve been looking for!! Cheers guys, we did it!!! GO guys, we did it!!! GO BLUE!!!! [Michigan Athletics battle cry]

The RAX Team would like to acknowledge and say thank you to the amateur radio satellite community for all of their support on this mission. We’ve really enjoyed interacting with fellow operators while collecting and analyzing telemetry. We’ve also learned a great deal about satellite operations from each other.

RAX-2: 437.345 MHz, 9600 bps GMSK http://rax.engin.umich.edu/

Mission Science Operations http://rax.sri.com/

RAX on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RadioAuroraExplorer

2010 – RAX-1 CubeSat launch announcement http://www.southgatearc.org/news/november2010/rax_launch.htm

2011 – RAX-2 CubeSat Launch http://www.southgatearc.org/news/october2011/successful_amateur_cubesat_launch.htm

Amateur Radio CubeSats Launch

The Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) initiative took place on Friday, October 28 at 0948 UT and a number of Amateur Radio satellites were among them. The CubeSats were successfully deployed at 1129 UT. Signals have been heard from Explorer-1[Prime], RAX-2, AubieSat-1 and M-Cubed.

The ELaNa III CubeSats launched were:

Satellite: AubieSat-1
Downlink Freq: 437.475 MHz
EIRP:  0.708W
Modulation Scheme: Interrupted Continuous Wave (IWC)
Protocol: Morse Code
Baud Rate: 20wpm

Satellite: DICE (not amateur radio)
Downlink Freq: 465 MHz
EIRP: -4.51dBW
Modulation Scheme: OQPSK
Protocol: CCSDS
Baud Rate: Modulation data rate 1.5 megabit,  Actual Tx bit rate 3.0 megabit

Satellite: RAX-2
Downlink Freq: 437.345 MHz
Modulation Scheme: GMSK
Baud Rate: 9600

Satellite: M-Cubed (1)
Downlink Freq: 437.485MHz
EIRP: under 1W
Modulation Scheme: FSK
Protocol: AX.25
Baud Rate: 9600

Satellite: Explorer-1[PRIME] Flight Unit 2
Downlink Freq:  437.505 MHz LSB
EIRP: -0.7dBW
Modulation Scheme: Non-Coherent FSK
Protocol: KISS Custom
Baud Rate: 1200

Additional spacecraft information can be found on the satellite websites listed below:
M-Cubed: http://umcubed.org/
DICE: http://www.sdl.usu.edu/programs/dice
Explorer-1[PRIME]: http://ssel.montana.edu/e1p/
RAX-2:  http://rax.engin.umich.edu/
AubieSat-1: http://space.auburn.edu/

The initial keps are here: http://gs.engin.umich.edu/predictions/tle_elana3.txt

APRS Pass Predictor: http://www.uk.amsat.org/2011/10/28/aprs-pass-predictor/

Jean-Marie KI4YAU asks Amateur Radio operators to listen out for AubieSat-1, on 437.475 MHz CW. He says

We fervently request your assistance in receiving transmissions from an upcoming satellite, AubieSat-1, immediately after its launch from Vandenberg AFB, California, USA. AubieSat-1 (AS-1) is an undergraduate – built CubeSat satellite developed by Auburn University.

AS-1 is designed to transmit with a power of about 800 milliwatts on a frequency of 437.475 MHz, plus or minus Doppler correction [+/- 9 kHz]. The beacon signal, along with telemetry, will be sent using A1A continuous wave Morse code at 20 words per minute. Additional telemetry from the onboard science experiment will use CW transmissions up to 60 WPM.

AubieSat-1 Video: http://www.uk.amsat.org/2011/10/18/aubiesat-1-video/

Oct. 28 NASA CubeSat Deployment video

Oct. 26 NASA ElaNa CubeSat media briefing with Roland Coelho WH7BE