Three student-built CubeSats—including the first to carry a D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) Amateur Radio payload into space—now are successfully in orbit following an April 25 launch from Guiana.
Signals from all three have been received on Earth. OUFTI-1 (Orbital Utility For Telecommunication Innovations), constructed by students at the University of Liege in Belgium (ULg), carries the D-STAR payload. The other two CubeSats, e-st@r-II and AAUSAT4, are from Italy and Denmark, respectively. The three CubeSats were developed by student teams under the European Space Agency (ESA) Education Office “Fly Your Satellite!” program, which is aimed at training the next generation of aerospace professionals.
Signals from OUFTI-1 and AAUSAT4 have been received by multiple ground stations, and both have established bidirectional communication with their ground stations, according to ESA. e-st@r transmitted an initially weak signal received by at least one radio amateur in Germany.
The student teams have been checking out their spacecraft and preparing to carry out their missions, although the e-st@r team is first working to consolidate the radio communication link with their satellite.
OUFTI-1 transmits on 145.950 MHz (FSK AX.25 and D-STAR down, with an uplink at 435.045 MHz. OUFTI-1 carries a CW beacon transmitting on 145.980 MHz. e-st@r-II, from the University of Turin, transmits CW and 1.2 k AFSK on 437.485 MHz. AAUSAT4 from the University of Aalborg, Denmark, will operate an automated ocean vessel identification system. It transmits on 437.425 MHz.
The first three radio amateurs to send a recorded signal from OUFTI-1, AAUSAT4, or e-st@r-II will receive a prize from ESA's Education Office. Visit the ESA website for details.