Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ham Radio in Lunar Orbit?

A pair of Chinese satellites destined for lunar orbit may be launched sometime this month or next, and
will include amateur radio payloads as part of their overall science packages. The two satellites are intended to serve as relay stations for data from a third spacecraft, due to launch in December, that is supposed to land on the dark side of the moon and deploy a rover, according to the ARRL Letter

The relay satellites will be necessary because the dark side of the moon never faces the Earth. These satellites will include a telecommand uplink as well as a telemetry and digital image downlink, both on 70 centimeters. 

The plan is that amateurs will be able to send commands to the satellites to take photos and then send them back to Earth. The satellites will also include educational payloads as well as scientific instruments to monitor the electromagnetic spectrum between 1 MHz and 30 MHz to learn about "energetic phenomena from celestial sources."