Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Feb.10.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. about student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs:

** Images of earth from lunar orbit are being captured via amateur radio transmissions from a transceiver placed on a Chinese satellite by a group at the Harbin Institute of Technology: Far side of the Moon photographed by amateurs – Dwingeloo Radio Telescope/CAMRAS

This image shows the far side of the Moon, as well as our own planet Earth. It was taken with a camera linked to an amateur radio transceiver on board the Chinese DSLWP-B / Longjiang-2 satellite (call sign BJ1SN), currently in orbit around the Moon, and transmitted back to Earth where it was received with the Dwingeloo Telescope.

Earth as seen from lunar orbit via a camera on the Chinese DSLWP-B / Longjiang-2 satellite and a transceiver built by a team at Harbin Institute of Technology. Credits Dwingeloo Radio Telescope.

This image represents the culmination of several observing sessions spread over the past few months where we used the Dwingeloo telescope in collaboration with the Chinese team from Harbin University of Technology, who build the radio transceiver on board Longjiang-2, and radio amateurs spread across the globe.

The transceiver on board Longjiang-2 was designed to allow radio amateurs to downlink telemetry and relay messages through a satellite in lunar orbit, as well as command it to take and downlink images. In that it has succeeded, as many radio amateurs have received telemetry and image data. Being able to use the Dwingeloo telescope to help with this has been a lot of fun.

Note that the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope in the Netherlands is the “largest radio telescope in the world for amateurs”.

See also

** New CubeSat Club: Exploring Space Science and Engineering | Villanova University

A new Villanova College of Engineering student organization has formed this year—the CubeSat Club. Dr. Alan Johnston, associate teaching professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the faculty advisor working alongside the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, a not-for-profit group that has been building and launching ham radio satellites for fifty years. Dr. Johnston volunteers with AMSAT as the vice president for education outreach. The CubeSat Club is aimed at introducing students to CubeSats and satellite technology…

See also AMSAT VP Educational Relations leads Villanova University CubeSat Club | Southgate Amateur Radio News.

** More about University of Southern Indiana CubeSat project – USI ventures into final frontier – The Shield

Five university undergraduate students were finally able to see the 10-by-10-by-30 centimeter satellite launch into the great beyond after two and a half years working on the UNITE CubeSat project.


The launch of USI’s UNITE CubeSat from the ISS. Credits: NASA and NanoRacks.

The five active members on the Undergraduate Nano Ionospheric Temperature Explorer (UNITE) CubeSat team, Wyatt Helms, Ryan Loehrlein, Zack Snyder, Sujan Kaphle and Nathan Kalsch, watched the satellite deploy from the International Space Station on campus Jan. 31.

“It was a really great feeling because after working on this project for two plus years, finally seeing something that you put so much time and effort into being deployed from the space station I mean, you don’t hear any sound but you just imagine this little ‘boop’ as it’s being shot out,” Helms, the team lead, said.

The CubeSat will be deployed for 15 months and has three main missions: conducting space weather measurements, measuring exterior and interior temperatures of the spacecraft for comparison with a thermal model and tracking orbital decay of the spacecraft in the lower ionosphere where other methods are in error.

[Project advisor Assistant Professor of Physics Eric Greenwood] said that the grant required the project to be student led. The professors were not allowed to build the components of the CubeSat or be hands-on.

“It’s very exciting to have something that I was involved in that’s up in space,” Greenwood said. “The pride I feel for our students is tremendous.”

See also UNITE CubeSat Project – UNITE CUBESAT.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-041 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AO-85 Turned Off Due to Return of Eclipses and Poor Battery Condition
  • Es’hail-2 / QO-100 Teleport Inauguration Day – February 14 [See Es’hail-2 / QO-100 Teleport Inauguration Day – February 14 | Southgate Amateur Radio News]
  • New Telemetry Decoder for FalconSat-3
  • AMSAT VP Educational Relations Leads Villanova University CubeSat Club
  • US Schools/Groups Move Into Phase 2 of ARISS Selections
  • Application Window Opens for European ARISS School Contacts
  • REMINDER – ARISS/NOTA Slow Scan TV Event Runs Until February 10
  • ISS Packet Operations Resume on 145.825 MHz
  • Ham Talk Live Podcast ARISS Update With Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
  • KG4AKV’s SpaceComms YouTube Channel – Building a Groundstation
  • FUNcube Dashboard Summary Update
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for January 2019
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • AMSAT-Francophone Satellite Design and Operation Survey
  • Early Bird Registration Opens for Cal Poly Cubesat Training
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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