ISS CubeSat Deployment (2020-02-17): Phoenix, QARMAN, RadSat-U, Argus-2, AZTECHSAT-1

We track 45256 for HARP in Network and I’ve changed Argus-02 to follow 45257.
Any logic behind these selected NORAD IDs? Like deployment order or any reception?

I’ve also changed RadSat-U to follow 45262 following the suggestion from Observation 1740922: RadSat-U (99830).

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Out hypothesis is that the smaller spacecraft (i.e. Argus-02) may have drifted towards the front of the group due to the interaction of the differences in density and drag due to size. We may be wrong, but again it is a hypothesis.

This is supported by the fact that every time we (think we) have seen Argus-02 on fixed antennas (i.e. station 6 Apohamon) it seems to be in the beginning of passes, rather than in the middle or at the end. This could be explained by Argus-02 already having passed the highest point of the pass by the time the pass start to be recorded.

While the group is still close together and any satellite can be tracked to hear another, we believe our argument is still feasible.

Some passes that indicate such behavior are:
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1720958/
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1721025/
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1732237/

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An interesting finding for Phoenix, almost at 2020-02-25 16:02 there is received a frame from the satellite.

The frame was received from Scott Chapman:

and with direwolf from this observation:
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1751387/

The interesting thing is that in the observation above the signal is not visible but if you check the waveform of the audio is visible like in the next image (left is QARMAN, right is Phoenix):

On other observations of QARMAN however it is visible probably due ot the different level of background noise and reception:
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1751414/
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1751437/
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1751514/

With one frame visible in the waterfalls it’s difficult to say for sure which TLE fits, however you can have an idea, so for Phoenix these are the possible objects:

  • OBJECT RA(45357)
  • OBJECT RB(45258) (selected in Network)
  • OBJECT RD(45260) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RE(45261) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RF(45262) (less possible)

cc @sarah_srogers

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Thanks for posting that here, @fredy. Scott got in touch with us via email, and mentioned that he obtained this signal while tracking object 45260. However, he hasn’t seen anything since, and neither have we. The packet that he sent us did not look like any telemetry that the satellite would normally transmit out, so we aren’t sure what this means for our spacecraft.

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10 posts were split to a new topic: Phoenix frames decoding

Good Afternoon. We are working CryoCube mission operations and looking for solution on satellite/TLE identification. I have read the forum and it appears that some of the NORAD satellite identifications could be incorrect. Trying to collect input from each mission team to sort out the NORAD TLE confusion. Any inputs from team would be great!

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Hi @npack22,

I’m not sure what process was followed by spacetrack in their identification but it seems that we have one more misidentification of at least two satellites for sure.

The current status is that all the objects are still close to each other, so choosing following one you will receive something. Let me recap here what we have until now:

AZTECHSAT-1 is one of:

  • OBJECT RD(45260)(less possible)
  • OBJECT RE(45261)(still selected to follow in Network)
  • OBJECT RF(45262)

QARMAN is one of:

  • OBJECT QZ(45256)(less possible)
  • OBJECT RC(45259)
  • OBJECT RG(45263)(still selected to follow in Network)

Phoenix is one of:

  • OBJECT RA(45357)
  • OBJECT RB(45258) (selected in Network)
  • OBJECT RD(45260) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RE(45261) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RF(45262) (less possible)

Phoenix is not consistently transmit, but from time to time giving us some hints about its TLE, RadSat-U was probably received once some hours after deployment, so it’s difficult to say which object is. The rest of the satellites haven’t been received until now, so it is impossible to identify them.

Is CryoCube received? Does it transmit any beacon that would be easily tracked?

Please keep us updated if your team has any hint on the identification process. Thanks!

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Unfortunately we have not been able to contact CryoCube at this time. We have been tracking via our ground station at KSC using NORAD ID 45258. Only one primary S-Band communication system onboard and requires uplink interrogation to initiate downlink transmission for the current pass and then transitions back to receive only.

Uplink PCM/FM = 2082MHz at 4ksps
Downlink OQPSK = 2261MHz at 400ksps

We will definitely pass on any orbital information we can find.

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There was a frame from Phoenix around 2020-02-28 04:10:15UTC. It can be found on observations https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1764880/ and https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1765040/.

Unfortunately due to the strong QARMAN signal and the background noise, the signal is no visible on the auto-adjusted waterfall, so it’s not possible to run ikhnos for TLE identification.

EDIT: I forgot to say that the frame was decoded by direwolf.

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New decoded frames from Phoenix and some new calculations on TLE. For the decoded frame check here.

Using these observations:

and ikhnos I’ve managed to limit possible TLE sets for Phoenix to:

  • OBJECT RA(45357)
  • OBJECT RB(45258) (selected in Network)
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From the latest observations (with two good from RADSAT-U, nothing new from Phoenix):

RADSAT-U is one of:

  • OBJECT RD (45260) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RE (45261) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RF (45262) (still selected to follow in Network)

QARMAN is one of:

  • OBJECT QZ(45256)
  • OBJECT RC(45259)(less possible)
  • OBJECT RG(45263)(still selected to follow in Network)

Phoenix is one of:

  • OBJECT RA(45357)
  • OBJECT RB(45258) (still selected to follow in Network)

AZTECHSAT-1 is one of:

  • OBJECT RD(45260)
  • OBJECT RE(45261)(still selected to follow in Network)

Unfortunately nothing heard from Argus-02 yet.

Here are the links for the two good observations of RADSAT-U cc’ing @skylart:

https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1806347/
https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1806484/

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From the latest observations:

RADSAT-U is identified and it is OBJECT RF (45262) (cc’ing @skylart and @lameres).

From observation https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1818229/

another good observation is https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1818177/.

RADSAT-U had few good observations until now in SatNOGS, however it was separated enough from other satellites in order to be identified.

QARMAN is one of:

  • OBJECT QZ(45256)(less possible)
  • OBJECT RG(45263)(still selected to follow in Network)

Phoenix is one of:

  • OBJECT RA(45357) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RB(45258) (still selected to follow in Network)

related observation https://network.satnogs.org/observations/1806909/

However there are two observations near on Phoenix frequency which is discussed here, if the signal with ~40s interval is Phoenix then it will fit better OBJECT RD(45260) or OBJECT RE(45261)

AZTECHSAT-1 is one of:

  • OBJECT RD(45260)
  • OBJECT RE(45261)(still selected to follow in Network)

Still both objects fit well enough the observed signals.

Argus-02

Unfortunately nothing heard from Argus-02 yet.

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Thank you @fredy ! Maybe I missed something, but why do you exclude object RC for QARMAN? It gave the best results for us here at VKI ground station (but we have to repeat the tests this week).

All the above results are based on the observations of SatNOGS Network and on using ikhnos to analyze them. In short, ikhnos tries to project the expected curve of signals (red line) on a SatNOGS observation waterfall.

It does that based on the time of observation, station location and on the TLE that were used, thus you expect to see a straight red line for the used TLE. So, let’s see what we get for observation 1831423 (I’ll show only 4 of the 9 TLE sets as the rest are too off):

OBJECT RB(45258)


OBJECT QZ(45256)

OBJECT RC(45259)

OBJECT RG(45263)

As you can see, OBJECT RB is totally off, OBJECT RC is off enough to say for sure that it is not QARMAN. Someone would say that QZ is also off enough, however as the calculations are lacking of some degree of accuracy and precision comparing to other tools, I give some slight possibility to QZ, but as you see I have chosen the RG OBJECT to be followed in Network as it seems to fit better than all the other TLE sets. Feel free to use ikhnos, it is actually a python script, and check other good observations of QARMAN or some from Phoenix as QARMAN is also visible there.

On why you get best results for RC object is probably because the objects are still close. You can see on the ikhnos results above that the expected curve for the signals using RC TLE set is very close to the observed one. To understand better how close they are check the screenshot from Gpredict bellow which shows all the deployed OJBECTS (+ ISS) over a station (light blue dot) in Australia. Notice how all OBJECTS are visible from the station at the same time at the polar plot:

You can see that RC, QZ and RG are in a high elevation and not so much separated to be received well enough from the same station.

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A quick update on the status of this deployment.

The last days we haven’t received anything from Phoenix or Argus-02, so this is the current status:

RADSAT-U is identified and it is OBJECT RF (45262)
QARMAN is identified and it is OBJECT RG(45263)

Phoenix is one of:

  • OBJECT RA(45357) (less possible)
  • OBJECT RB(45258) (still selected to follow in Network)

AZTECHSAT-1 is one of:

  • OBJECT RD(45260)
  • OBJECT RE(45261)(still selected to follow in Network)

Still both objects fit well enough the observed signals.

Argus-02

Unfortunately nothing heard from Argus-02 yet.

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AZTECHSAT-1 is identified and it is OBJECT RE(45261)

NORAD ID has been updated on both Network and DB.

After request from @sarah_srogers we have added a transmitter for the possibly reset transmitter, more in details in https://gitlab.com/librespacefoundation/satnogs-ops/-/issues/63 and also changed Phoenix to follow NORAD ID 45257.

I’ve scheduled some passes with the new and some with the old transmitter.

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We have received phoenix, as well as its team did, at 2020-03-24 01:20:52 using the old transmitter, so I set the new one as inactive.

The receptions can be found in these observations (3 of Phoenix, 1 of QARMAN):

Phoenix observations:

QARMAN observation:

From the QARMAN observation and the already identified objects from this deployment, we can say for sure that Phoenix is one of 45256-45259, as these were the only visible during the observation.

However from older observations we have managed to find that 45257 and 45258 are the most possible. From the Phoenix observations above it seems that 45258 is the right object, but as 45257 is still close, I would like to wait for a little longer in order to be 100% sure that it is this object.

The previous change on NORAD ID we follow has been changed back, so again we follow 45258 for Phoenix. My certainty currently for this ID is 90%-95%, so I’ll wait for the next reception or the vetting of receptions of the last week that may have a reception of Phoenix.

For all of those vetting Phoenix observations, please be careful as QARMAN is still visible on the waterfalls and maybe in some cases it is decoded too.

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We had decoded frames from these recent observations by using direwolf, so we are sure that the signals in waterfalls is Phoenix:

From checking with ikhnos observaiton 1891439 we have that (reminding red line shows expected curve for signal to follow):
OBJECT QZ (45256):


OBJECT RA (45257):

OBJECT RB (45258):

OBJECT RC (45259):

As you can easily see OBJECTS QZ and RA don’t describe Phoenix transmission.

So, our candidates are OBJECTS RB and RC. In my previous post I have written that we had rejected OBJECT RC. However, let’s compare RB and RC OBJECTS, bellow are parts of observations 1751437 on 2020-02-25, 1778620 on 2020-03-01, 1891439 on 2020-03-21 and 1907470 on 2020-03-23 from top to bottom for each OBJECT.

OBJECT RB (45258):


OBJECT RC (45259):

As you can see on the above images, OBJECT RB red line was always crossed Phoenix signals in the middle, while OBJECT RC red line started from right side of Phoenix signals passing to the left-center part of it. The other fact is that the distance between the objects was decreasing during the last month, which means that the red lines of the wrong one would change and come closer to the red lines of the right one. As OBJECT RB wasn’t changed means that we have identified Phoenix as OBJECT RB (45258).

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A quick recap for this deployment:

RADSAT-U is identified and it is OBJECT RF (45262)
QARMAN is identified and it is OBJECT RG(45263)
Phoenix is identified and it is OBJECT RB(45258)
AZTECHSAT-1 is identified and it is OBJECT RE(45261)
Argus-02 - Unfortunately nothing heard from Argus-02 yet.

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