ISS CubeSat Deployment, “Ham Video” Commissioning Postponed
Two Amateur Radio-related activities aboard the International Space Station have been postponed. The deployment of Amateur Radio CubeSats planned for February 6 has been put off, and a new date has not yet been announced. NASA reported that astronaut Koichi Wakata, KC5ZTA, this week installed a deployer mechanism that will be used in concert with the Kibo robotic arm to release the first set of CubeSats. He ran into difficulty last week installing some related electronics, delaying the CubeSat deployments. NASA now wants to make sure the CubeSats do not fall into the intended orbit of the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite, which goes into space later this month.
The CubeSats were aboard the Cygnus freighter that launched from Virginia’s Eastern Shore January 9. Since arriving, the CubeSats have been awaiting deployment by the Kibo robotic arm. The satellites include Lithuania’s first two satellites — LituanicaSat-1 and LitSat-1 — as well as ArduSat-2, UAPSat-1, and the 915 MHz SkyCube. LituanicaSat-1 carries a 145/435 MHz FM transponder, while LitSat-1 will have a 435/145 MHz linear SSB/CW transponder. The Kaunas University of Technology developed LituanicaSAT-1, while the Lithuanian Space Federation developed LitSat-1. Mineo Wakita, JE9PEL, has posted details of these and other Amateur Radio satellites due for deployment this month.
Meanwhile, the European Space Agency has postponed the commissioning of the “Ham Video” system aboard the ISS Columbus module, which had been set to start this week as well. ARISS-Europe Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, said the four commissioning steps most likely will take place on weekend dates in March, and that a couple of the steps may be combined to condense the process.
“The agenda is still to be finalized,” he said. NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, was to have installed the Ham TV equipment this week and connected the 2.4 GHz transmitter to the ARISS 41 antenna already installed on Columbus. NASA reported that Hopkins spent much February 6 in the Tranquility module troubleshooting the carbon dioxide removal assembly there. Hopkins also will be involved with the Ham Video commissioning process.
Once operational, the Ham Video transmitter will be used for ARISS educational contacts with schools in Europe. There are no immediate plans to deploy downlink video for US ARISS, in part because no North American ground stations have been planned. — AMSAT-UK; ARISS-EU; NASA