Attempt to recover the F-1 Amateur Radio CubeSat

19:42 Fernando Luiz de Souza 0 Comments



Since the amateur radio F-1 CubeSat was deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) on October 4 there have been no confirmed reception reports.

The attempts to recover the CubeSat are now focusing on reception of the backup UHF FM channel 437.485 MHz (+/-10 kHz Doppler shift). This FM beacon should transmit Morse Code for 20 seconds every minute during daylight.

The team would appreciate any reports of the beacon which can be sent to Thu Trong Vu XV9AA at thuvt@fpt.edu.vn

The FPT University FSpace team have issued a statement:

November 2, 2012, FSpace laboratory, FPT University issued an official report stating that no signal is heard from F-1 CubeSat after its deployment to space from the International Space Station (ISS) a month ago. However, the project team confirms that they are working to troubleshoot the problem.

According to Thu Trong Vu XV9AA, Project Manager, “As soon as F-1 was deployed from the ISS, FSpace’s ground station in Hanoi and other amateur radio stations around the world have been listening on F-1’ frequencies 145.980 MHz and 437.485 MHz but so far nothing heard except for a few uncertain reports of a weak signal during the first few days.

Preliminary analysis points to failure of the satellite’s power supply subsystem as the cause of the problem. At the moment FSpace team together with US partner NanoRacks are collecting information, analyzing different scenarios that could happen to the satellite in orbit and experimenting with the Engineering Model (an identical backup unit) of
F-1 CubeSat in the laboratory to determine the problem. The team is also planning to send uplink commands to the satellite in an effort to restart the onboard microcontroller. However, the chance of recovery is slim, the team acknowledged.

Currently, F-1 CubeSat is orbiting the Earth at an average altitude of 400km (perigee 390 km, apogee 410 km) and being tracked by NORAD as object #38855. Its altitude decreases with time due to friction with the atmosphere (atmospheric drag) and summarized in the following table. According to orbital analysis, the satellite has an orbital lifetime of about 5 months (until March 2013) before descending low and burn up completely in the atmosphere.

F-1’ mission goals are to “survive” the space environment, taking photos of the Earth and communicating with the ground control station at a speed of 1200 bit per second. Thu Trong Vu XV9AA said: “Although we haven’t heard from F-1, during the course of the project team members have learned valuable knowledge and gained practical experience in developing a pico-satellite. This is an important stepping stone for us to move forward in the long journey to the stars”.

Satellite Tracking http://www.uk.amsat.org/?page_id=983

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