Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Hams "Snap" and View Images from Chinese Lunar Satellite

View of Earth from the far side of the moon (on right)
photographed by the Longjiang-2 satellite and transmitted
back to Earth on 70 centimeters. Properly-equipped hams
can tell the satellite to take and send a photo. (Harbin
Institute of Technology photo)
Some hams with moonbounce-equipped stations have been able to command a Chinese lunar orbiter to take photos and transmit them back to Earth. According to the ARRL Letter, the Longjiang-2 satellite has an open telecommand protocol that allows amateurs to tell it to take a photograph and then download it to them. 

The satellite transmits on the 70-centimeter amateur band using digital modes. It is part of a broader Chinese space project which includes plans to land a rover on the far side of the moon to send back measurements and photos. An orbiting relay satellite will be needed in order to get the data back to Earth, since the far side of the moon always faces away from us.