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More Amateur Radio CubeSats Released into Orbit from ISS, Launched from Japan


Several Amateur Radio CubeSats, including LituanicaSAT-1 and Litsat-1, have been deployed into orbit from the International Space Station. LithuanicaSAT-1 and LitSat-1 are Lithuania’s first satellites. NASA reported that the nanosat deployments took place February 26, 27, and 28, as the onboard Expedition 38 crew prepared for the arrival of a US commercial cargo craft and the departure of three crew members. The ISS crew also released ArduSat-2 (Arduino Satellite 2, an improved 2 unit version of the single-unit ArduSat-1), UAPSat-1, Chasqui-1, and the nonamateur 915 MHz SkyCube. 

“Two sets of NanoRacks CubeSats were deployed late Wednesday and early Thursday from a deployer mechanism on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform attached to the Kibo robotic arm,” NASA said, “leaving just two more launches to go of the 33 CubeSats that were delivered to the station in January by Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship.” The ISS crew releases CubeSats over several orbits to avoid collisions. More CubeSats are scheduled to be delivered to the station on the second Orbital Sciences commercial resupply mission in May; it’s not known at this time if any Amateur Radio satellites will be aboard.

Lithuania [is] becoming a space country! Congrats!” enthused Andris Slavinskis on the Litsat-1 Facebook page. It appears that both Lithuanian CubeSats are already functioning, and a Brazilian station has reported hearing Litsat-1’s beacon on 145.850 M Hz (call sign LY1LS). LithanicaSAT-1’s builders at Vilnius University have requested that Earth stations listen for the CubeSat’s FM beacon on 437.275 MHz (call sign LY5N) and submit data including audio files online. Litsat-1 was developed by the Lithuanian Space Association.

  • LithuanicaSAT-1 carries an FM transponder (uplink 145.950 MHz/downlink 435.180 MHz) and an AX.25 packet transponder (uplink 145.850 MHz/downlink 437.550 MHz). The CW beacon is on 437.275 MHz.
  • Litsat-1 carries an SSB transponder (uplink 435.180 MHz/downlink 145.950 MHz) and an AX.25 packet transponder (uplink 437.550 MHz/downlink 145.850 MHz).
  • ArduSat-2 will transmit 9.6 MSK CCSDS data on a 437 MHz downlink. Its mission is to provide a platform on which the students and DIY space enthusiasts may design and run their own space-based Arduino experiments.
  • UAPSAT will carry an AX.25 packet transponder (uplink 145.980 MHz/downlink 437.385 MHz). Developed by the Universidad Alas Peruanas in Peru, the satellite includes magnets to align the satellite with Earth's magnetic field.
  • Chasqui-1, developed by scientists at the National University of Engineering (UNI) in Peru, will transmit AX.25 format data on 437.250 MHz.

On February 11 the ISS crew released a fleet of 28 Earth-imaging nanosatellites called Flock 1.

In addition to this week’s CubeSat deployments from the ISS, seven Japanese Amateur Radio satellites launched successfully from Earth February 27. They include the ARTSAT: INVADER CubeSat (call sign JQ1ZKK) and six other Amateur Radio satellites, along with the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core observatory satellite.

The other Amateur Radio satellites are OPUSat, STARS-II (comprises mother and daughter satellites), TelkyoSat-3, ITF-1, and ShindaiSat-1. The launch took place from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center. More information and frequencies for these satellites are on the AMSAT-UK website.





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