More CubeSats Expected to Deploy from ISS This Week
Another batch of CubeSats is set for deployment February 25 from the International Space Station, but no Amateur Radio satellites are expected to be among them. They may be put into orbit later in the week, however. According to NASA, astronaut Koichi Wakata, KC5ZTA, last week prepared the second batch of NanoRacks CubeSats for deployment.
“Wakata opened the inner hatch to the airlock and replaced the empty deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform with loaded deployers,” NASA reported. “The platform and its deployers will be passed outside through the airlock to the Exposed Facility, where Kibo’s robotic arm can grapple the platform and position the nanosatellites for launch.” NanoRacks provides CubeSat deployment services through an agreement with NASA.
It’s anticipated that a dozen commercial Planet Labs CubeSats will be released into orbit on February 25. Four Amateur Radio CubeSats — LituanicaSat-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2, and UAPSat-1, along with the 915 MHz SkyCube — may be deployed February 28. CubeSats deployments are streamed live.
AMSAT-UK has reported that it’s unclear whether another Amateur Radio CubeSat, the Peruvian Chasqui 1, which was sent to the ISS on February 5, also will be deployed on February 28.
Eight NanoRacks deployers are installed on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform. Each deployer can hold up to six 1U (a unit = 10×10×10 centimeters) CubeSats or two 3U CubeSats. Two 3U CubeSats (6U total) can be deployed every one to two orbits to prevent collisions.
LituanicaSAT-1 carries an FM transponder: Uplink 145.950 MHz/Downlink 435.180 MHz. It also has an AX.25 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.
UAPSAT will carry an AX.25 packet transponder: Uplink 145.980 MHz/Downlink 437.385 MHz.
Chasqui-1 will transmit AX.25 format data on 437.250 MHz.
AMSAT-UK has reported that, in addition to the CubeSat deployments from the ISS, seven Japanese Amateur Radio satellites are scheduled to launch February 27 at 1807 UTC.
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) project — the ARISS-EU “Ham Video” system — is tentatively set to begin the commissioning process no sooner than the second weekend in March. Ham radio-related activities aboard the ISS typically take a low priority on the astronauts’ work agenda.