Student CubeSats Ready For Flight

Vega Artist ImpressionThe first student built amateur radio CubeSats to be sponsored by ESA’s Education Office have passed their Final Acceptance Review and have been declared ready for launch on board the maiden flight of Vega, the new ESA launcher.

The launch window for this historic lift-off opens on 26 January and ends in the first week of February 2012.

The seven university-built picosatellites, each weighing only 1 kilogram, were integrated with the devices that will carry them during launch – the P-PODs, or Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployers – between late October and mid November. Before they could be cleared for launch, they had to pass a detailed technical examination known as the Final Acceptance Review.

The single-unit CubeSats, whose development represented a highly valuable, if not unique hands-on learning experience for the university students that were involved – were developed by teams from 6 different European countries:

  • Xatcobeo (a collaboration of the University of Vigo and INTA, Spain)
  • Robusta (University of Montpellier 2, France)
  • E-St@r (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
  • Goliat (University of Bucharest, Romania)
  • PW-Sat (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland)
  • MaSat-1 (Budapest University of Technology & Economics, Hungary)
  • UniCubeSat GG (Universitá di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Italy)
  • As well as the CubeSats Vega will also carry the Amateur Radio microsatellite ALMASat-1

Frequencies and links for the satellites can be found in the following article from JE9PEL.

Read the article of the full ESA story.

André Kuipers ready for takeoff

The dutch astronaut André Kuipers is ready for takeoff.

Andre Kuipers in space

Another two days and then for the second time Andre Kuipers will leaves to the International Space Station. A historic journey, because Kuipers will break various records. Thus he becomes the first Dutch astronaut in space for a  long time, which is nearly six months. He is also the first Dutch astronaut who is launched for a second time. Other Dutch astronauts – Dr. Ockels and Louis van den Berg were “only” launched once.

As it looks now, the launch is on. The rocket is already on the launch pad and the sky over Baikonur space base is crystal clear. “Although it is very cold, so spectators should properly protect” warns Kuipers on his blog

In recent days there were many preparations for the voyage. Andre Kuipers and his colleagues had to inspect the Soyuzcapsule for the second time. This capsule brings Kuipers to the ISS. “We are very pleased. In a few days, this is will be our living room, bedroom, dining room, bathroom and attic for two days. Actually, it is also the hall – with the door – to our realhome for half year: the International Space Station. ”

The launch of André Kuipers can be seen live next Wednesday 21-dec-2011 on dutch television channel: Netherland 1 (13:20 pm to 14:45 o’clock CEST). You can follow Andre on any of his social media (Twitter or Facebook).

During his stay in the International Space Station, radio amateurs will have the opportunity to make a voice contact. Andre will be using the call PI9ISS and will use the following frequencies:


145.800 MHz (FM)


145.200 MHz (FM)

Homepage and other references:

Blog webpage
Twitter page ( astro_andre )

AO-51 not responding to commands

AO-51 Echo LaunchNovember 29, 2011 – AO-51 not responding to commands

It is with a heavy heart I report that AO-51 has ceased transmission and is not responding to commands. The last telemetry data indicated that the third of six batteries was approaching failure to short, and observations indicate the voltage from three cells is insufficient to power the UHF transmitters. The IHU may continue to be operative. Initial tests with the S band transmitter were also not positive, although more attempts are in order. We have tried leaving the satellite in an expected state where if voltages climb high enough, the 435.150 transmitter may possibly be heard.

AO-51 AssembledThe command team will regularly attempt communications with the satellite over the coming months (and years). There is always the possibility that a cell will open and we could once again talk to our friend while illuminated. Thanks to all who helped fund, design, build, launch, command, and operate AO-51. It’s 7 year mission has been extraordinary. Please support AMSAT’s Fox-1 project, and other AMSAT projects worldwide with your time and money.

For the AO-51 Command Team,

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations


Delta II Launch Successfully

Delta2 RocketDelta II rocket successfully lauched and has deployed his main carco, NPP climate and weather satellite. After that the following CubeSats where also successfully deployed with the P-POD containers.

Confirmed deployment of P-POD-3. This P-POD contains the two-satellite DICE CubeSats
Confirmed deployment of P-POD-2. This P-POD contains the RAX Cubesat
Confirmed deployment of P-POD-1. This P-POD contains AubieSat-1, Explorer-1 Prime, and M-Cubed/COVE

Around 12:30 UTC (14:30 CEST) European Amateur Radio Stations can hear the first transmissions if the CubeSats activate in the right way.

Prospero spectogram

Prospero Spectrum 21-10-2011This is one of the spectrograms that I have made the last couple of days, but no idea if it is from prospero. We will try again the next couple of days. Downlink frequentie 137.560 MHz and PCM modulated signal.

There is a possible explanation for the signals that I receive and can be seen in the spectrogram. This are probably signals that are transmitted by ORBCOMM. The 57k6 broadcasts of the ORBCOMM satellites. The frequency 137.560 was received by the ORBCOMM organisation after Prospero was no longer active on that frequentie.

…. continue reading