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

Unfortunately for now, satellite owners can suggest transmitters and have a team in https://dashboard.satnogs.org where they can edit their dashboard after it is created. We are on discussions and we want to give more access to satellite teams, so it is in our plans to implement functionalities soon.

For any change you can reply here, send me a pm or better add an issue with the change in SatNOGS Operations repo. By the way I have added the photo and also fixed the link in the description.

On both yes! Check https://gitlab.com/librespacefoundation/satnogs/gr-satnogs and https://gitlab.com/librespacefoundation/satnogs/satnogs-decoders.

This is something we need to built, we have started with this guide but we have to expand it with more details.

ISS TLE are still good enough for tracking the satellites from this deployment, of course with signs of doppler shift. Hopefully soon we will have first TLEs from space-track and we will manage to observe the satellite better.

@slu_ssrl Welcome and congratulation for the deployment of your mission, let us know if you have any update from it.

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Hey @sarah_srogers,

I am working on the decoder right now. From your documentation provided on the website it is not clear to me which values are of float type and which are just integers.
Could you please provide some more details?

Thanks for having a look!

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Yes. I will try to get back to you with this soon.

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Hi, Sergio,

We have actually been having issues tracking Phoenix with the ISS TLE for the last day. It appears that QARMAN is still being tracked, however. Right now, our plan is to wait for the satellite TLEs, which should hopefully be released today, from what I have heard from a rep from spacetrack.

~Sarah

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Hi @DL4PD ! Would there be a possibility for these decoders to be added to Argus-2 as well? Is there anything we can do to achieve this?

Best,
Sergio Bernabeu

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Yes, of course it is! I did not check which information you already provided - could you probably paste some links in here?

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Sarah,
I was in doubt about if your satelllite is working, because we do only have very few data in satnogs-network. Do you think it is already drifted that much, that the used ISS TLE is not usefull anymore?

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of course!

our information is at https://www.sluspacelab.com/argus-02

but summarizing: we broadcast telemetry on GFSK 9600 every 45s and beacon on ax.25 every 30s in between. Is there any other information needed?

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@slu_ssrl Check these docs too:

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We have also been having a hard time tracking Argus-02 and from the few passes where we think we located it a lot of them are very very weak. So definitely a possibility. We have also seen a lot of AzTechSat-1’s pattern over on our passes.

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The documentation of the telemetry frames is needed, of course. I could just find the “Message” beacon at a first glimpse.

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Thank you for bringing this up, Patrick. That’s my hope, as we did not hear from it yesterday either. The battery seemed to be charging when we last heard its beacon, so I’m trying to stay hopeful. I don’t feel comfortable officially calling Phoenix an expensive brick in space until we are able to cycle through all the TLEs that space-track releases and are not able to hear Phoenix’s beacon using any of them.

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Yeah, of course it is ways too early to say it’s bricked! There’s a good chance that it is just drifted that much that our decoders can’t synchronize on the signals.

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By the way: I’ve seen “EPS Temperature” is documented as value [K] - the frames I used to test the decoder shows 12 K … a bit cold, isn’t it? Is this an error in the description?

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Hi Patrick! So you’d like for us to send a map of what our telemetry looks like, right? Sorry for the need for clarification, I just want to get it right. None of us is familiar with Katai. On top of this, we do not use gnuradio nor have a picture decoder but could certainly provide hex strings of what both our ax.25 beacon and telemetry broadcast look like.

Let me know. Thank you!

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We have noticed this as well. The values were definitely in Kelvin when we were testing in the lab. It’s really difficult to say what’s going on without us being able to get our other telemetry files, however.

As an update on the satellite TLEs, I have heard from a rep from space-track that their analysts are working on it, but the satellites are still in a bit of a jumble, so it may take a while to get them lined up and behaving nicely.

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@sarah_srogers (no rush on response) can you expand a bit on the setup of your official ground station ?
Rotator ? Antenna Beamwidth ? PreAmps ? etc…

Also, (and I know this is silly to bring up, 'cause I’m sure your folks have checked all this), have you confirmed that the full RF pathway in your system is fully functional by tracking another well-characterized and consistent-radiating bird/TLE ? In between the Phoenix passes of course.

Some years back, when working with some folks here in Huntsville, a ground station “suddenly discovered” that a bias-t injector power cable to a pre-amp had gotten jostled (nobody knew how, or admitted to having even been near it) and was failing to power that part of the RF system, but they didn’t notice it until they tried to track a “calibration” satellite that they’d used earlier to originally set up the equipment. The plug looked seated, but wasn’t, and they had started to “blame” their own bird for the lack of signal (for a full 48 hrs), when it was really an oversight on their end. Everyone had assumed that since it had worked earlier, it couldn’t be at fault.

Similar story, different place (middle of nowhere, NM), but in this case the group had done calibration runs using a rather “loud” VHF band bird, because you could hardly miss it. Problem was, their project radiated UHF. It wasn’t until someone “walked” the full path of the UFH that they noticed the feed line to that part of the rotator array had gotten damaged. VHF tracks were working fine, so they assumed pointing, antenna, etc… wasn’t the culprit.

Like I said, silly glitches, and even more silly to bring up here, and I feel stupid even mentioning it, but it’s always good to check :wink:
On some of the bigger, government gear I work with, they always schedule a “calibration” pass of some sort or another, sometimes even two, just to be safe, always exercising the full intended RF pathway from antenna to “display”.

Good luck on re-establishing contact !

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We have the first batch of TLEs for this deployment with NORAD IDs from 45256 to 45264. I’m going to do some quick analysis and see if we can match some of them with our current observations. TLE lottery has begun!

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Except probably from OBJECT RD(45260), all the rest in the range from 45256-45264 are possible for the satellites we track. As the OBJECTS still are near each other, and not easy to identify so soon, here is which NORAD ID is followed by which satellite in Network.

SORTIE - 45264
HARP - 45256
AZTECHSAT-1 - 45258
EDGECUBE - 45124
Argus-2 - 45256
RadSat-U - 45259
Phoenix (ASU) - 45261
QARMAN - 45257

Just to be clear this is far from identification, still the objects are too close and some of them don’t transmit or transmit in random time or very weak signal, which makes it difficult to identify them.

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It looks like HARP and Argus-2 have the same ID?

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