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BIRDS-2 Constellation CubeSats Transported to ISS for August Deployment


The second generation of CubeSats in the BIRDS constellation now is on board the International Space Station (ISS) and set for deployment in early August using the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) module’s remote manipulator arm. The June 29 SpaceX Falcon 9 launch carried the BIRDS-2 CubeSats — MAYA-1, BHUTAN-1, and UiTMSAT-1, built by students from Malaysia, Bhutan, and the Philippines at the hosting Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. All CubeSats have identical designs and utilize the same frequencies. While independently made, operation and control of the three CubeSats will be shared by three teams after the spacecraft are released into space. All three CubeSats will transmit a CW beacon on 437.375 MHz. They will be operational for 6 months.

“The three will form a constellation, orbiting the Earth from different places. This will provide the countries more opportunities to make measurements and run experiments than just with using one CubeSat,” explained Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., manager of the PHL-Microsat program in the Philippines. The primary mission of BIRDS-2 CubeSat constellation is to provide digital message relay service to the Amateur Radio community by means of an onboard APRS digipeater on a frequency of 145.825 MHz.

Another mission of the BIRDS-2 CubeSat constellation is to demonstrate a store-and-forward system, investigating technical challenges through experiments on appropriate data format, multiple access scheme, and file-handling protocol while complying with limited operational time and power constraints.

The BIRDS-2 CubeSat store-and-forward system will collect data from remote ground sensors, store it onboard, and download it to the BIRDS-2 ground station network, begun last year during the BIRDS-1 CubeSat constellation project.

The CubeSats will carry two identical cameras with different lenses to capture images with varying resolution. The cameras will also be used to capture a minimum-resolution video from space for experimental purpose.

The CubeSats will also carry magnetic field sensors to measure the magnetic field in space and compare it with that measured on ground.

Additional experiments will use the BIRDS-2 CubeSat constellation to enhance research and experiment in single latch-up event detection, magnetic field measurements, and flight testing of a newly designed GPS chip to demonstrate its low-power operation capabilities in space. Students will also explore a passive attitude stabilization mechanism. All measurements and image data will be made available on the BIRDS-2 project website.

BIRDS-2 aims to promote awareness of Amateur Radio communication and Amateur Satellites among the general public and students, especially in the participating nations. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service; BIRDS-2




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