Monday, March 10, 2014

A Dozen New Ham Satellites in Orbit

ArduSat is a crowd-funded satellite project that allows
donors to have their own experiments sent into space.

Five cubesats operating in the ham bands were hand-launched from the International Space Station in late February, and another seven were aboard a rocket launched from Japan on February 27. The five cubesats deployed from the ISS included Lithuania's first-ever satellites - LituanicaSAT-1 <> and Litsat-1 <> - as well as a second crowd-funded satellite built around an Arduino processor board, ArduSat-2 <>.

Artist's conception of the STARS-II mother/daughter
satellite pair. They will be connected by a tether.
(STARS-II website illustration)
The seven Japanese satellites include STARS-II, a mother-daughter satellite pair, which will be connected by a Kevlar® tether. Part of the experiment will be to use the tether to gather electrons from space plasma and deliver them to the daughter ship, thus producing an electric current without the need for solar panels. Both companion satellites are equipped with cameras, and will transmit photos back to earth via amateur radio frequencies. The daughter ship's photos are supposed to include shots of the mother satellite as the two orbit the Earth together. More info is available at <>.