Firefly Alpha Launch - 2021-09-03 01:00 UTC

Hi everyone,

It looks like Firefly Alpha is finally going to launch with the window September 03, 2021 01:00-05:00 UTC at SLC-2, Vandenberg Space Force Base, USA.

The launch will be live-streamed by Everyday Astronaut: FLTA001 DREAM | Alpha | Everyday Astronaut | Prelaunch Preview

Lots of interesting CubeSats and PocketQubes to be deployed including the Teacher’s In Space Serenity 3U CubeSat!

Here’s a list of payloads: Firefly

I’m sure others here are involved in the other sats, but I’m most familiar with Serenity, which will have a transmitter at 437.1 MHz 4k8 FM with AX25. I believe it will beacon for the first 72 hours, then after that will send status packets when it receives command packets from any ham on the same frequency. There’s some details here: Serenity | Teachers In Space, Inc.

So it is probably time to get these sats into the database to be ready for launch!



Hm, the beacon structure seems not to be described in the powerpoint…
Do you have any further informations probably?

Hi Patrick,

I think the beacon is the same frequency and format 4k8 FM AX.25, except it doesn’t require a command packet to be received.


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And here’s some info on two AMSAT-EA CubeSats on the launch from ANS-241 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Aug. 29 – AMSAT

The GENESIS-L and GENESIS-N satellites, designed and built by AMSAT-EA in collaboration with students from the European University and ICAI, will be launched, in a first attempt, on September 2, once the American company Firefly has carried out the static test of the Alpha launcher, this being the last step before its launch. The vehicle is ready for takeoff on its platform from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California and carries, for this inaugural flight, many other satellites from various organizations and universities.

The GENESIS are digital repeating satellites of ASK and CW and also carry Applied Ion Systems’ AIS-gPPT3-1C experimental ion thrusters.

The working frequencies of the satellites are as follows:

145.875 MHz uplink, Modes: CW, ASK 50 bps
436.875 MHz downlink CW, ASK 50 bps, am2sat callsign

145.888 MHz uplink, Modes: CW and ASK 50 bps
436.888 MHz downlink CW ASK 50 bps, am3sat callsign
The description of the telemetry and the mode of operation of its repeaters can be found in the following links:

Link to telemetry transmissions description (in English)

Source URE Los satélites GÉNESIS de AMSAT-EA se lanzarán el 2 de septiembre - Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles

[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information and the translation]



Thanks for that, Alan.

I am trying to solve some pit-falls we might step into:

  • the transmission scheme looks like: ASK, 50 bps, custom layer 1 and layer 2 encoding, custom payload
  • everything in Field ID #1, #2, #3, #n should be considered to be consumed at layer 1 or 2 (consumed by the modem)
  • everything in Field ID [4…n-1] should be considered the payload (to be delivered into layer 3 at least)
  • no signedness for conversion (or a conversion rule / formulae) documented
  • there is no modem for ASK in gr-satnogs that would be able to receive these satellites
  • I don’t know (yet) about other modems like from UZ7HO or @EA4GPZ Daniel

If we have modems I could be able to start a satnogs-decoder and a template dashboard, although it is relatively late already :wink: , just prior to launch.


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I confirm that for the time being gr-satellites doesn’t have a decoder supporting these satellites (or any ASK demodulator, as a matter of fact).

Regarding your idea to remove the 0x55555 sequence, the 0x33 and the CRC, I agree that it is the most reasonable approach.


We now have state vector information on the launch, here’s a prelim TLE considering correct launch time:

1 99999U 21200E  21246.13531250  .0011565   00000-0  00000-0 0  9990
2 99999   137.094  42.046 0000473   210.65    291.054  15.902   0016

FOSSASAT-2 and 1B are launching with the following details:

436.700 MHz Downlink, LoRa 125kHz, 0x12, SF11
436.800 MHz Downlink,GFSK 9k6, +/- 5KHz, 0xFF & CW
436.800 MHz Uplink,GFSK 9k6, +/- 5KHz, 0xFF

436.700 MHz Downlink, LoRa 125kHz, 0x12, SF11
436.900 MHz Downlink,GFSK 9k6, +/- 5KHz, 0xFF & CW
436.900 MHz Uplink,GFSK 9k6, +/- 5KHz, 0xFF

More information available here: FOSSASAT-2/Communication at master · FOSSASystems/FOSSASAT-2 · GitHub


Hi Patrick,

I hadn’t heard about the AMSAT-EA satellites until that AMSAT News Service posting.

We should be fine for the Teachers in Space Serenity CubeSat, right? Since it is just AX.25 4k8 decoding?


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In the IARU coordination, the CW mode is also identified. Could you confirm, this mode is no more used ?


Correction, CW is also used.

For pumping data into the DB I think we are ready! For a dashboard there’s the satnogs-decoder missing. I’ll see if I can find time to build one, but time is something I’m lacking the most :wink:


Is there probably a chance you can get me some sample frames?

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Our twin QUBIK satellites (QUBIK-1 and QUBIK-2) are also in this mission :slight_smile:

Full details of the mission can be found here:

In our documentation you can also find ways to receive and transmit to the QUBIK twins. Give it a try, and help us monitor and communicate with our open source radio amateur experiments.

SatNOGS will of course be ready to receive QUBIKs (DB, Network and Dashboards) by the time of the launch as with most missions nowadays that publish their information.

We will be publishing a more specific call to action for radio amateurs around the world soon.

It is also worth mentioning that the Pocketqubes in this mission are integrated and will be deployed from PICOBUS , our very own LSF built open source Pocketqube deployer!

Good luck to all the missions!


Are you sure about that? Can you share how you derived that?

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Has anyone been to the site to monitor the status of the batteries?

Good luck on this maiden flight!! :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:


This is all I have from a Serenity AX.25 4k8 audio file:

Channel 0: 4800 bps, 8PSK, TUVW, 48000 sample rate

WU2M0 audio level = 130 [NONE] ||||
Audio input level is too high. Reduce so most stations are around 50.
[0.1] WU2M0>WU2M0:H1 BA97 BB95 S6.12 LT+40.1573 LN-76.2106 DT 00:41:23 2020/11/24<0x0a>


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Based on the statevector at deployment and assuming a deployment epoch of 2021-09-03T03:15:00Z I got the following TLE:

Qubik - deployment 2021-08-03T03:15:00
1 99500U 21200A   21246.13487269  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    06
2 99500 137.0931  38.2890 0000001   1.7921 139.9181 15.91355998    07

(using beyond to convert between ITRF and J2000 reference frame and rv2tle from sattools)

It is similar to the orbit from the TLE by @ea4hcd1 (after fixing its formatting):

edit 2021-09-01:

  • Changed NORADID to 99500 in TLE
  • Changed eccentricity by 1e-7 to a non-zero value (fixes gpredict support)
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That’s great! Could you please attach the hex dump of that? There should be an option in direwolf…

@KU2Y correct me if I’m wrong, from the above and the presentation in the serenity page I understand that the transmission will be FSK4k8 right?

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9 satellites for this launch has been added in DB and will be available in Network for scheduling 12h before launch time:

Satellite Temporary NORAD ID
QUBIK 1 99500
QUBIK 2 99501
FOSSASAT-2 99505
Serenity 99506
Hiapo 99507

Please check the entries (satellites and transmitters) and let me know if there are any issues, or suggest changes.