UKube-1 Satellite Using FUNcube-2 For Downlink Workaround
The online industry publication SatelliteToday reports that the UKube-1 CubeSat is “experiencing an anomaly with its primary communications link.” To work around the problem, the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) has commanded the small spacecraft to use an alternate configuration of what it called “the FUNcube-2 transceiver,” using it as the satellite’s temporary downlink. The Amateur Radio transponder on FUNcube-2 is not yet active — just the BPSK telemetry beacon on 145.915 MHz. UKube-1 is hosting FUNcube-2, which is actually a set of FUNcube boards flying as a sub-system of the 3U CubeSat. The FUNcube project is aimed at supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives now underway in the US, the UK, and elsewhere. The target audience is primary and secondary school students.
According to SatelliteToday, the satellite, which launched on July 8, is otherwise healthy and its attitude is stable, but the communication “anomaly” is not allowing ground controllers to proceed with normal payload commissioning. UKube-1 is the space agency’s first CubeSat. The USKA said the FUNcube-2 payload is running at high power to make it easier for schools to copy its telemetry.
SatelliteToday said the space agency hopes to stabilize UKube-1 over the coming weeks to permit payload commissioning.
The FUNcube-2 payload includes a 400 mW inverting SSB/CW Amateur Radio transponder, with an uplink passband of 435.080 to 435.060 MHz (LSB) and a downlink passband of 145.930-145.950 MHz (USB). The telemetry beacon is on 145.915 MHz.
The existing FUNcube-1 Dashboard App does not correctly display FUNcube-2 telemetry, but it does correctly forward data to the Warehouse. The FUNcube team has not yet released a FUNcube-2 specific Dashboard software. It is working to provide a fully functional FUNcube-2 page on the Data Warehouse as soon as possible. — Thanks to Trevor, M5AKA, for some information