Monday, December 12, 2022

Japanese Amateur Radio Lunar Satellite Lost in Space

OMOTENASHI team prepares satellite for
launch (NASA photo)
The OMOTENASHI satellite, built by the ham radio club at the Japanese space agency and launched to the moon by NASA’s Artemis-1 mission, is missing in action but controllers hope to find and re-establish contact with it in March. 

According to the club’s website, controllers were initially able to communicate with the satellite but determined that its solar panels were facing away from the Sun and it was spinning very quickly. Attempts to stabilize it appear to have worked but the batteries apparently died before they could re-orient the solar panels. They then lost contact with the satellite but hope it will move into sunlight by March, at which time they will try to locate it and re-establish control. 

Its original mission of landing on the Moon will no longer be viable, but the new hope is to demonstrate the ability to communicate with a CUBESAT beyond Earth orbit.