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Chinese, Turkish Amateur Radio Satellites Near Launch Dates


China’s CAMSAT is reported to be working closely with a Beijing government aerospace contractor to build two microsatellites with Amateur Radio linear transponders — CAS-4A and CAS-4B. Each spacecraft will carry a 70-centimeter/2-meter (U/V) 100 mW SSB/CW linear transponder, a 2-meter CW 50 mW telemetry beacon, and an AX.25 4.8 kbps GMSK 100 mW telemetry downlink. The transponders will have the same technical characteristics, but will employ different frequencies for their 70-centimeter uplinks and 2-meter downlinks. The two spacecraft will also carry optical remote sensing missions.

CAS-4A and 4B will measure 494 × 499 × 630 millimeters, weigh approximately 50 kilograms, and have three-axis stabilization. Launch from Taiyuan, China, is set for March 31 into a 524-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit with a 42° inclination. 

Nine Chinese satellites carrying Amateur Radio payloads were launched on September 19, 2015.

Meanwhile, plans call for Turkey’s 3U CubeSat UBAKUSAT carrying an Amateur Radio 145/435 MHz (V/U) SSB/CW transponder to be deployed from the International Space Station next year. The linear transponder is almost the same as that on the TURKSAT-3USAT, launched in April 2013. The satellite is being developed by Istanbul Technical University’s Space Systems Design and Test Lab (SSDTL) along with the Turkish Amateur Satellite Technologies Organization (TAMSAT) and other entities, including the Ministry of Transportation, Communication and Maritime, in collaboration with the Japanese government.

Turkey’s first-ever CubeSat, ITUpSAT1 — launched in 2009 — was also developed by SSDTL.

The primary mission of UBAKUSAT is to facilitate Amateur Radio voice communication. The CubeSat also will carry the TAMSAT Simplesat card, which will send telemetry, including data on relative radiation absorbed, to ground stations. There is also a CW beacon.

UBAKUSAT will have an expected life of between 6 and 12 months. Launch to the ISS from Japan is expected late this year or early next year.