i-INSPIRE-2 activated

i-INSPIRE-2 activated with the help of the CAMRAS 25 meter dish

In the weekend of June 10/11, 2017 volunteers from the 25m dish in Dwingeloo The Netherlands where successful in activating the Australian QB50 satellite i-INSPIRE-2. This satellite is build at the Australian new south wales university for the QB50 project and is launched from the International Space Station, May 26 at 04:00 UTC. No signals where received and therefor help was requested from the CAMRAS team.

During a pass on Saturday June 10th 2017 signals where send to three QB50 cubesats i-INSPIRE-2 and UNSW-EC0 by the 25 meter dish and ZA-AEROSAT with the help from DK5LA. On Sunday signals where received from i-INSPIRE-2 by the CAMRAS dish and also by other radio amateurs over the world.

i-INSPIRE-2 (AU) UNSW-ECO (AU) ZA-AEROSAT (SA)

During a pass over the Netherlands I made an IQ recording and below the signals are clearly visible in the spectrum. The satellite TX/RX is similar to the GOMX-1 satellite at 4k8 baud, but I wasn’t able to decode them. If you want to play with the IQ recording, it can be downloaded at the following location: IQ recordings

The other two satellites UNSW-ECO and ZA-AEROSAT are still quite but maybe there will be a second attempt. For the ZA-AEROSAT activation there is help from the german HAM radio station DK5LA who transmitted a very strong signal on 2 meter to this South African build satellite.

Update: June 13, 2017.

The following response was brought to my attention by PB2T.

I-Inspire-2 is a 20 x 10 x 10cm cubesat built by the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales (Sydney). On board the tiny spacecraft is an experiment, part of the European QB50 project, designed to “explore the lower thermosphere, for re-entry research and in-orbit demonstration of technologies and miniaturised sensors”, as reported in earlier editions of the WIA broadcast. Its operational frequency was coordinated by IARU to be in the satellite segment of the 70cm amateur band.

It was placed in orbit from the International Space Station in late May. The deployment was successful; however there were no signs of life when the ground stations started looking for it. The engineering group quickly tested various scenarios on the engineering model only to come to the conclusion that, due to the extended delay in the deployment, the satellite’s battery was likely to be depleted and the satellite was trapped in an endless loop, trying to deploy its antenna.

The engineering group suggested that the satellite is still listening albeit with its antennas in the stowed position. This meant that the satellite command receiver might have difficulty receiving any signals from ground control stations. A set of commands were devised which, if received, would instruct the satellite to wait until the battery is charged before attempting to deploy its antenna. Both UNSW and ANU ground stations transmitted the recovery command to the satellite; however after a week or so of no success it was decided that more transmitter power was required to overcome the lack of receiver sensitivity caused by the still stowed antenna.

A request for assistance was passed to EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) operators around the world and many responses were received. The greatest hope for a successful recovery was thought to be PI9CAM using high power and a 25 m dish, normally used for radio astronomy but also EME. They were scheduled to transmit on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of June. On Sunday the 11th of June, during the morning pass, Rob VK1KW reported a strong signal every 30 seconds on I-Inspire-2’s frequency. Dimitris VK1SV who is part of the ANU team, verified reception from home around midnight. The following morning Dimitris drove to the ANU ground station and was able to send commands to the satellite for the first time since it was deployed. Many other radio amateurs around the world also reported reception of the beacon. The satellite had come back to life!
This is a wonderful example of successful collaboration between radio amateurs and the academic community. If a frequency outside the radio amateur band had been used, it is doubtful that the satellite would have been brought back to life.

The crew of I-Inspire-2 wishes to thank all radio amateurs involved and is looking forward to a successful collection of data for the scientific experiment! Dimitris Tsifakis, VK1SV/VK2COW

A sign from PRATHAM

It took a couple of days but finally a sign from PRATHAM on 145.980. The signals are weak but you can decode the signals. Now lets try to received the AFSK 1200 signals when the satellite is over there second ground-station in France.

pratham-cw-reception

The identification on 145.980 is:

VU2BUG PRATHAM IIT BOMBAY STUDENT SATELLITE
VU2BUG PRATHAM IIT BOMBAY STUDENT SATELLITE
VU2BUG PRATHAM IIT BOMBAY STUDENT SATELLITE
VU2BUG PRATHAM IIT BOMBAY STUDENT SATELLITE

Fingers crossed that the satellite will also become active on 437.455 with 1200bd AFSK.

A surprise from ALSAT-1N

It is always nice to see some information in the telemetry from one of the satellites. Here a welcome from ALSAT-1N that was launched with a PSLV on mission C35.

Greetings from ALSAT-1N

The data was received september 30th 2016 at 10:58:28 UTC.

ESA Cubesat competition winners

signal_from_e-st_r-II27 May 2016 – The challenge for the worldwide radio amateur community to start listening out for three new orbiting CubeSats was set on 21 April. ESA’s Education Office published the transmission frequencies of the student-built satellites that were about to be launched as part of the Fly Your Satellite! Programme, and invited the radio amateur community to listen out for them.

The first three radio amateurs to send a recorded signal from AAUSAT4, e-st@r-II or OUFTI-1 would receive a prize from ESA’s Education Office.

Back at the beginning of the Space Race, the Soviet Union would anonymously supply Jodrell Bank radio observatory, UK, with the frequencies needed to hear the signals from its early spacecraft. This allowed the UK astronomers to confirm Russia’s progress to an initially sceptical world in a time of rising international tension.

This new publication of frequencies was designed to stimulate friendly competition and bring the world together. It worked! Hundreds of radio amateurs stretching across the world rose to the task.

The CubeSats started sending signals after their release from the Soyuz VS-14 rocket and the triggering of their automatic activation sequence. Participants from Russia, USA, Poland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, and more tuned their antennas and listened.

Thanks to skill and patience on the ground, the winners come from Russia, the United States of America, Germany, and the Netherlands.

CubeSats_orbiting_Earth_mediumContact with the first CubeSat came at 00:53:51 UTC on 26 April 2016, within an hour of its separation from the launcher. Dmitri Paschkow, Russia, heard the signal from OUFTI-1 using two receiving stations, in Kemerovo and Ruzaevka. This is not the first time he has been the first to hear transmissions from CubeSats. In 2013, he picked-up Estonia’s ESTCube-1 satellite before anyone else and repeated the feat the following year for the Lithuanian’s LituanicaSAT-1.

Upon hearing OUFTI-1, he communicated the news immediately. “I understand that the students are worried [to hear from their satellite] and decided to please them!” says Paschkow.

Just over an hour after the first signal from OUFTI-1 was recorded, the next CubeSat checked in.

AAUSAT-4 was heard over California, US, by Justin Foley of California Polytechnic State University. He had a personal interest in the mission because some of his colleagues had developed the P-POD deployer that was used to eject the CubeSats into orbit.

He was ready at the receiver from the moment of deployment but heard nothing on that first pass, probably because the activation sequence had not yet completed. The signal came through on the second pass, arriving at 02:02 UTC.

“It was extremely exciting to see signals from the newly launched satellite, and witness the beginning of a space mission”, says Foley.

Sentinel 1B décolle depuis KourouThen the wait began for e-st@r-II. At 05:40:58 UTC, something dimly lit the screen of Mike Rupprecht in Germany. “It is always a good feeling to hear the signals of new satellites. Often the ground station can receive [signals from] their own satellite [only] much later. So the Cubesat teams are very grateful if they get help from the amateur radio community”, he says.

But something was not quite right. It certainly looked like a signal from the last remaining CubeSat,but why was the message so faint? It galvanised the amateur radio community to look harder.

Just a few minutes later, at 05:46 UTC, another signal from OUFTI-1 was received from ESA’s ESTEC centre in The Netherlands, where a little group of ESA engineers were also taking part in the effort to catch the early transmissions of the three “Fly Your Satellite!” CubeSats.

A special mention goes to a young radio amateur who scored a personal best. Twelve year-old space enthusiast Matteo Micheletti from Belgium caught the OUFTI-1 signal with a portable Log periodic antenna and a portable receiver. His triumph occurred on 1 May 2016 between 17:34 and17:39 UTC.

Back on the hunt for e-st@r-II, Jan van Gils, from the Netherlands, has been collaborating with small satellite operators for a couple of years now. He enjoys the fact that he can support them by receiving and decoding their signals. “It is always a trill to hear signals from newly launched satellites and inform the students and researchers that their work is operational,” he says.

Catching the signal from e-st@r-II was not a quick job, however. He had to wait until 2 May at 16:38:05 UTC to receive a signal from e-st@r-II that was strong enough to be decoded. Why e-st@r-II was only transmitting weak signals is under investigation, but the most important news is that all three CubeSats are functioning and transmitting, and their signals can be decoded.

To mark their success, the radio amateur winners will each receive a Fly Your Satellite! Poster, a goodie bag and a scale 1:1 3D printed model of a CubeSat from ESA’s Education Office.

Fitcheck CU4A separate acknowledgement also goes to the three ESTEC telecommunication specialists Alberto Busso, Paolo Concari, and Marco Mascarello, who, during their spare time, worked enthusiastically to support the university student teams in their efforts to catch and decode the early CubeSat transmissions.

“Competitions like this help to demonstrate that space is not that far away. We all rely on space for services we use in our everyday lives. The launch and the start of operations of these 3 student-built CubeSats were a terrific success, and I’m delighted that hundreds of people from around the world joined us in the effort to catch their first signals”, says Piero Galeone, Head of Tertiary Education at ESA and Fly Your Satellite! programme manager.

Credits ESA education – Original blog post

UWE-3 News

UWE-3 News: Status report

On 21st of May 2016 UWE-3 celebrated 2.5 years in space without any significant failures. Batteries, EPS, OBC and ADCS are fine, nevertheless we were confronted with a minor problem with one of the radios UWE-3 autonomously recovered from. Since then UWE-3 is in a very stable condition again.

Some weeks ago we have re-initiated operations with UWE-3 on an interim basis. The goal is to test new magnetic control algorithms in space. Therefore we operate the satellite on the 436.395200 MHz frequency and perform data downloads from time to time. In the figure below the satellite’s rotation rate w is shown for one of the experiments. The goal was to establish a rotation about the satellite’s X-axis (blue) at 10 deg/s while the Y/Z-axes should be at 0 deg/s. In general the desired rotation rate could be achieved but with major deviations from the setpoint. With the intention of optimizing the relevant control laws we will continue with these experiments within the next days and weeks.

UWE-3-news-23-05-2016

During our experiments we received an outstanding support from the radio community from all over the world we are very thankful for. The received packets were instantaneous injected into our algorithms and delivered an important contribution to our research work. We would like to express our special thanks to DK3WN, PE0SAT, DL8MCO, EU1XX, ON4HF, Rainer, JA5BLZ, JA6PL, CU2JX, LU4EOU, JA1GDE, SP7THR, G7GQW, YC3BVG, JF1EUY, JE9PEL, JE1CVL, JO1PTD, ZL4JL, EA7ADI, K4KDR, JA0CAW, JH4XSY, PA2EON, SM0TGU. THANK YOU!

Yours sincerely,

UWE-3 Team.

UWE-3 Mission Logo