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Hams Invited to Track Satellites


In November 2010, five research satellites were carried to orbit aboard a Minotaur V rocket from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Two of these satellites -- FASTRAC 1, known as “Sara Lily” and FASTRAC 2, referred to as “Emma” -- entered orbit as a single nanosatellite, but on March 15, scientists sent the command to have them separate. According to FASTRAC Student Program Manager Sebastian Munoz, KE5FKV, students at the University of Texas will be confirming the separation as the satellites pass: “We started one of the most exciting phases of our project by separating both of our girls so that they can compute on-orbit real-time relative navigation solutions while both of them are freely drifting from one another.” Munoz said that they will continue to update the satellites’ two line elements (TLEs) on their website for those radio amateurs interested in tracking the two nanosatellites. “I want to thank the ham community all over the world for supporting our project,” Munoz said. “Your support has been incredible and we really value it. We really appreciate all of your help so far and we hope that we can continue to count on it.”



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