Chinese Amateur Radio Satellites Set to Launch in Early September


China’s Amateur Satellite Group CAMSAT said this week that nine satellites carrying Amateur Radio payloads have been delivered to the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Central China. CAMSAT CEO Alan Kung, BA1DU, said they’re expected to launch between September 7 and 9. All are part of the CAS-3 series of satellites. Four of the microsatellites and two of the CubeSats included in the launch have been designated as the XW-2 (Hope-2) amateur satellite system (XW-2A through XW-2F), although Kung also refers to them using their initial CAS-3A through CAS-3F nomenclature. The other three satellites — a CubeSat, a nanosatellite, and a picosatellite, carry the designations CAS-3G through CAS-3I, respectively. CAMSAT announced earlier this year that the launch date would be postponed from mid-July until early September. 

“Each satellite of the CAS-3 series will work independently, and they are made by different organizations,” Kung told ARRL.

The XW-2 series satellites are equipped with substantially identical Amateur Radio payloads — a U/V mode linear transponder, a CW telemetry beacon and an AX.25 19.2k/9.6k baud GMSK telemetry downlink, CAMSAT said in May. Each Amateur Radio complement has the same technical characteristics, but will operate on different 70 centimeter uplink and 2 meter downlink frequencies. XW-2A through XW-2F have identical quarter-wavelength deployable monopole whip antennas made of steel tape.

CAMSAT worked with three entities to complete the other three satellites: CAS-3G (DCBB), a 2U CubeSat being built by Shenzhen HIT Satellite Ltd of China for educational purposes; CAS-3H (LilacSat-2), a Harbin Institute of Technology of China microsatellite for science experiments and Amateur Radio, and CAS-3I (NDT-Phone Sat), a National University of Defense Technology of China picosatellite for carrying out technical experiments. CAS-3G and CAS-3I will downlink digital telemetry on amateur frequencies, while CAS-3H will carry a U/V FM transponder and APRS. Details on all satellites are attached (see "Downloads," below).

Kung said a Long March-6 rocket will carry the XW-2 and CAS-3 satellites into orbit along with 11 other satellites. — Thanks to CAMSAT CEO Alan Kung, BA1DU, and IARU