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Ham Radio CubeSats launched to ISS


An unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket that blasted off from NASA’s Wallops Island launch pad on Virginia’s Eastern Shore January 10, carried aloft an Orbital Sciences Corp (OSC) Cygnus freighter with a bevy of Amateur Radio CubeSats aboard, bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

“We're in good shape,” Orbital Sciences Executive Vice President Frank Culbertson, ex-KD5OPQ, told reporters after launch. The launch had been delayed twice, first by cold weather and then by high radiation levels due to a massive solar flare on January 7, both of which could have affected critical rocket systems.

The Cygnus freighter will rendezvous with the ISS on January 12. The four Amateur Radio CubeSats are LituanicaSat-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2 (an improved version of the single unit ArduSat-1), and UAPSat-1. Other satellites also are onboard.

LituanicaSat-1 carries a 145/435 MHz FM transponder, while LitSat-1 is thought to carry a 435/145 MHz linear transponder for SSB/CW. UAPSat-1 will carry an AX.25 145/437 MHz packet digipeater. ArduSat-2 will downlink 9,6 k MSK CCSDS data format on 437 MHz.

The CubeSats are expected to be deployed from the ISS in the coming months. Tuesday’s launch marks the first of eight OSC cargo resupply missions to the ISS for NASA. — Thanks to Southgate ARC and Orbital Sciences Corp



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