Someone was nice enough to post a list of the deep-space cubesats that will be going up with the Artemis mission scheduled for 29-Aug-2022.
Along with the expected higher frequencies being used, I was very excited to see a few 70cm frequencies assigned. In particular, I was fascinated by the 400.600 MHz transmitter on ‘Lunar-IceCube’ because it was showing a bandwidth of 200 KHz! This was no standard 1200 or 9600 beacon.
Searching online, I found numerous references to this hardware on Lunar-IceCube described as a “UHF Deep-Space Beacon”. I’ve seen many reports of Health Beacon Tones from New Horizons and other interplanetary spacecraft, but never from a cubesat. I set off to learn all I could about the DSN “Beacon Tone Service” and that was very educational and great fun.
At the same time, I emailed everyone I could identify who was associated with the Lunar-IceCube mission to get confirmation that this was indeed the purpose of their ‘UHF Deep-Space Beacon’.
The good news is that I got a reply from the Project Lead at Morehead State University! The bad news is that the UHF transmitter was a late scratch from the mission:
We appreciate your interest in the Lunar IceCube mission. Unfortunately we had to eliminate the UHF radio. The IR spectrometer ended up taking up more volume that we allocated, so we had to eliminate systems and reduce others. We will implement a deep space beacon at X-band as a demonstration- if any of your members have X-band capabilities, we could work with them to detect the beacon.
Hopefully we can fly a UHF beacon on the next mission.
… so, aside from posting some general information here about cubesats on the Artemis mission, I mainly wanted to share this unfortunate news. Anyone who was hoping to listen for a 400.600 MHz signal from Lunar-IceCube can cancel those plans.