Vega is scheduled to launch on Monday, February 13, at 1000 UTC with eight student built amateur radio satellites. The launcher will first deploy the main payload, the LARES the Laser relativity Spacecraft and will then make an additional firing of the final OVUM stage before deploying the secondary cubesat payloads.
The planned timing for these deployments are as follows:
= T0+ 4245.30secs first PPOD, with (in order of ejection) XatCobeo,
e-st@r, and Goliat
= T0+ 4255.30secs second PPOD, with (in order of ejection) Robusta,
MaSat-1 and PW-Sat
= T0+ 4265.30secs third PPOD, with UniCubeSat only
(These Cubesats will not deploy their antennas until >1800 seconds
after they leave their PODS.)
= T0+ 4275.30secs AlmaSat-1 - it is not known how soon this space-
craft will start transmitting after deployment
Frequencies for the satellites on the Vega Launch are:
+ ALMASat-1 - University of Bologna, Italy 437.465 MHz 1200 bps FSK and 2407.850 MHz
+ Xatcobeo (a collaboration of the University of Vigo and INTA, Spain) to demonstrate software-defined radio and solar panel deployment. 437.365 MHz FFSK with AX.25 and 145.940 MHz SSR
+ Robusta (University of Montpellier 2, France) to test and evaluate radiation effects (low dose rate) on bipolar transistor electronic components. 437.325 MHz 1200 bps FM telemetry with one data burst of 20 seconds every 3 minutes.
+ e-st@r (Politecnico di Torino, Italy) to demonstration of an active 3-axis Attitude Determination and Control system including an inertial measurement unit. 437.445 MHz 1200 bps AFSK.
+ Goliat (University of Bucharest, Romania) to provide imaging of the Earth surface using a digital camera and in-situ measurement of radiation dose and micrometeoroid flux. 437.485 MHz 1200 bps AFSK.
+ PW-Sat (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland) to test a deploy-able atmospheric drag augmentation device for de-orbiting CubeSats. PW-Sat carries an FM to DSB amateur radio transponder with an FM input on 435.020 MHz and DSB output on 145.900 MHz. There are 5
modes of operation:
- Receive only - no downlink
- CW Beacon CW - On-Off Keying (OOK) CW 12 WPM 435.020 MHz
- BPSK Beacon - BPSK 1200 bps AX25 (1 frame on 20 sec) 435.020 MHz
- Control communication mode. Downlink BPSK 1200 bps AX25 435.020 MHz
- Voice Repeater mode (aka "AO-16 mode) - uplink 435.020 MHz FM and downlink 145.900 MHz DSB
+ MaSat-1 (Budapest University of Technology and Economics): to demonstrate various spacecraft avionics, including a power conditioning system, transceiver and on-board data handling. 437.345 MHz GFSK 625/1250 bps, CW. See the related article in these bulletins
describing the downloadable GFSK demodulator software.
+ UniCubeSat GG - (University of Rome): The UNICubeSat mission goal is the in situ measurement of atmospheric density. Downlink frequencies are 437.305 MHz or 437.345 MHz 9k6 FSK.
Mineo Wakita, JE9PEL provides complete coverage of the Vega launch on his 'ESA CubeSats Update' web pages. You'll find an overview of each of the satellite missions, frequencies, modulation/protocols, and links to the developers home web pages posted at:
AMSAT-UK covers the Vega launch at:
An ESA time-lapse showing the full assembly of the first Vega launcher at the launch pad at the ESA Spaceport in Kourou is posted at:
The university cubesat teams have requested reception reports. All observers are being encouraged to join the CubeSat IRC chat channel to pass on their news and comments in realtime. You will need an IRC client such as ChatZilla or mIRC to join the cubesat chat. Use the
irc.freenode.net server. Then join the #cubesat channel. Many users set their chat nickname to "name_callsign".
[ANS thanks the cubesat teams, Mineo Wakita, JE9PEL, and AMSAT-UK
for the above information]