Saturday, December 31, 2016

New FM CubeSat Launched

The BY70-1 cubesat under test. It was
launched successfully on December 28,
but entered a lower-than-planned orbit,
shortening its expected lifespan.
(AMSAT-UK photo)

A Chinese-built amateur satellite carrying an FM transponder was launched on December 28, but the ARRL reports it entered a lower, more elliptical, orbit than planned, which will result in a very short orbital lifespan.

The BY70-1 cubesat was launched from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in China, intended for a 530-kilometer (330-mile) high sun-synchronous circular orbit, but apparently settled into a 524 by 212-kilometer orbit, which reportedly will limit its time in orbit to just one or two months.

If you want a chance to operate this bird while you can, its uplink is on 145.920 MHz and its downlink is on 436.200. Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, who made one of the first QSOs on the satellite, told ARRL the uplink frequency must be set precisely and there is a delay on the downlink, but he reports that the signal is strong. At this writing, the satellite had not yet been issued an OSCAR number.