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CAPE-3 CubeSat Launched

02/16/2021

The University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette student-built CAPE-3 satellite was launched on January 17. A 1-U CubeSat, CAPE-3 includes a “digipeater and experimental UHF adaptive radio.” An AX-25 telemetry downlink has been coordinated on 145.825 MHz and a 1k2 frequency-shift keying (FSK) downlink has been coordinated on 435.325 MHz, “which may burst to 100 kHz bandwidth,” according to the IARU Amateur Satellite Coordination page.

CAPE-3 is the third cube satellite in the CAPE series. The primary educational mission is to allow grade-school classrooms to access the Smartphone CubeSat Classroom, and run interactive experiments through an experimental smartphone ground-station grid.

The secondary mission is to perform scientific experiments involving radiation detection and take pictures of Earth.

The solar-powered spacecraft, created by UL Lafayette’s CAPE Satellite Team, was launched with nine other CubeSats as part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. A Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket attached beneath a wing of a customized Boeing 747 was dropped high above the Pacific Ocean. It climbed about 225 miles above Earth and then ejected the satellite.

The CAPE satellites are named for the university’s Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment program, designed to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.



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