The AztechSat-1 CubeSat, which traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) last weekend on the 19th Space-X Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) mission for NASA, will listen for emergency messages in the 439 MHz range and retransmit them for amateur radio operators to copy on the 437.300 MHz downlink using the Winlink protocol, once the CubeSat has been placed into orbit. The satellite is a project of Mexico’s Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP). Aztechsat-1 is set for deployment from the International Space Station in late January.
“The primary objective of the project is to establish communication with the commercial GlobalStar satellites in order to improve data transmission to Earth,” a UPAEP news release said. AztechSat-1 will create a saturation map of 435 – 438 MHz by listening for the whole orbit and returning captured data to the ground station on the 437.300 MHz amateur radio downlink (9k6 GMSK or FSK) plus a 1600-MHz GlobalStar link. Emergency messages received via Globalstar to the AztechSat-1 ground station will be shared on the project’s website.
A certificate will be available for amateur stations receiving the emergency message(s) and reporting these for confirmation by the AztechSat-1 team.
The project is part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, which offers universities, high schools and non-profit organizations the opportunity to fly small satellites. “Innovative technology partnerships keep down the cost, providing students a way to obtain hands-on experience developing flight hardware,” a NASA report said.
NASA explained, “The investigation demonstrates communication within a satellite network in low-Earth orbit. Such intra-satellite communication could reduce the need for ground stations, lowering the cost and increasing the number of data downloads possible for satellite applications.”
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