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Two Japanese Satellites Will Carry Ham Radio Payloads into Deep Space this Month

11/20/2014

[UPDATED 2014-11-20 2030 UTC] Two Amateur Radio satellites, Shin’en 2 (Abyss 2) and ARTSAT2: DESPATCH, will be heading into deep space this month. The satellites will hitch a ride with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa 2 asteroid mission, which is scheduled to launch on November 29.

A 17 kg, 50 cm diameter polyhedron, Shin’en 2, developed by Kyushu Institute of Technology and Kagoshima University, will carry into deep space an F1D digital store-and-forward transponder, but not the Amateur Radio Mode J linear transponder announced earlier. A linear transponder had been part of the initial design, but Hideo Kambayashi, JH3XCU, said that Japanese regulations would not allow it and that it would have taken a long time to negotiate a variance with regulatory authorities. “So, they gave up the use of the transponder,” he said on the AMSAT-BB earlier this week. The data format is posted on the Kagoshima University website. It also will include a CW beacon on 437.505 MHz and WSJT telemetry on 437.385 MHz.

Inclusion of a transponder will offer an opportunity for earthbound radio amateurs to test the limits of their communication capabilities. The project also is hoping to gather listener reports.

The Hayabasa 2 project is expected to help pave the way for future lunar rover missions. Hayabusa 2 will make a round trip to the C-type asteroid 1999 JU3, arriving at the asteroid in mid-2018. It then would survey and take samples of the asteroid before departing in December 2019, and return to Earth in December 2020.

The Shin’en 2 satellite makes extensive use of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic materials that can be bonded by heat to reduce its weight and the number of hardware fasteners.

Shin’en 2 will be placed into an elliptical orbit around the Sun and travel into a deep space between Venus and Mars. Its inclination will be almost zero, which means Shin’en 2 will stay in the Earth’s equatorial plane. The distance from the Sun will be between 0.7 and 1.3 AU (an astronomical unit is 149,597,871 km).

The ARTSAT2:DESPATCH “art project” satellite — a 1U CubeSat — is a joint project by students at Tama Art University and Tokyo University. It will carry a 30 kg “deep space sculpture” developed using a 3D printer, as well as an Amateur Radio payload, a CW beacon at 437.325 MHz. At its maximum operational distance, it will be some 3 million km (1.86 million miles) from Earth about a week after launch. — Thanks to AMSAT-UK



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