Chinese Amateur Satellite Group (CAMSAT) CEO Alan Kung, BA1DU, tells ARRL that some problems with the precise attitude determination of the newly launched CAS-6 amateur radio satellite have delayed deployment of the antennas. The satellite was to have been put into service within 3 days.
“If the V/UHF antennas are deployed now, additional torque may affect determination of the satellite attitude,” Kung said. “Engineers need to modify and upload the software, which will take some time.” He said that taking into consideration the upcoming long Chinese New Year holiday, the test work is planned to be completed sometime in late February or early March. At that time, VHF/UHF antennas will be deployed, and the amateur radio payload will be available for use.
Kung points out that the satellite’s CW beacon has been turned on, although the antenna has not yet been deployed. “If you have a ‘big ear,’ you may be able to receive weak signal leaked from an undeployed antenna on 145.910 MHz,” he said. “A polyimide cover on the antenna chassis can help to leak some RF signal.”
CAS-6 launched successfully on December 20, piggybacked on a TIANQIN-1 technology test satellite. The microsatellite will be known as CAS-6/TIANQIN-1, and the call sign is BJ1SO. The primary launch payload was the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite, CBERS-4A.
CAS-6 is in a sun-synchronous orbit with an apogee of 390 miles. It carries a U/V linear transponder, with a downlink of 145.925, 20 kHz passband (inverted) and an uplink of 435.28 MHz. The CW telemetry beacon is on 145.910 MHz, while 4k9 baud GMSK telemetry will be transmitted on 145.890 MHz.
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