New Satellites: Plan for SSO-A SmallSat Express Launch on December 3rd

I was wondering about our plan for the upcoming SSO-A SmallSat Express Launch on November 19, 2018 at 18:32 UTC .

I am particularly interested in Fox-1Cliff, the newest AMSAT CubeSat, but there will be 60+ other satellites launched at the same time!

According to this page they are:

SkySat 14, 15, Eu:CROPIS, STPSat 5, FalconSat 6, NEXTSat 1, KazSTSAT, eXCITe, SeeMe, ICEYE X2, BlackSky Global 2, ESEO, Hawk A, B, C, Capella 1, AISTECHSAT 2, CSIM-FD, Hiber 2, ITASAT 1, Landmapper-BC 4, ROSE 1, ORS 7A, 7B, Astrocast 0.1, Audacy 0, BRIO, Centauri 2, Eaglet 1, Flock-3s 1, 2, 3, ICE-Cap, K2SAT, KazSciSat 1, MinXSS 2, Orbital Reflector, RAAF M1, SeaHawk 1, SNUSAT 2, THEA, VESTA, PW-Sat 2, SNUGLITE, VisionCube, RANGE A, B, Elysium-Star 2, ExseedSat 1, Hamilton 1, Irvine 02, JY1-Sat, KNACKSAT, MOVE 2, SpaceBEE 9, 10, 11, Suomi-100, WeissSat 1, BeeSat 5, 6, 7, 8, BlackHawk, ENOCH, Sirion Pathfinder 2, (US Gov), (US Gov), (US Gov), (US Gov), (US Gov)

Here’s Spaceflight’s page:

How will we prioritize our observations? I think that amateur radio satellites should have precedence, but maybe it should be based on interest level. Also, lots of people will be tracking Fox-1Cliff, so maybe we should focus on some of other CubeSats who don’t have many other opportunities to get telemetry.

In any case, getting all these new sats in the database and observations scheduled will be quite a job, and maybe we should start next week instead of waiting to the last minute. :wink:



Many thoughts :smiley:

I think the first step is to gather here sources for the cubesats that advertise their frequencies and modes, probably most of them had already been coordinated by IARU. However is important to find a second source as many times, and mostly for modes, things are different from what was sent to IARU.

About prioritization, sharing timeslots is always the best way to go, especially over Australia, Europe and USA where there are many stations. I agree that probably station owners will be more interested in amateur radio satellites like Fox-1 Cliff, so it would be nice to know as early as it is possible who wants it, a message like “prioritize Fox-1 Cliff” in station description before the launch would be very helpful in order to know which station will be available for the rest of the satellites.

I have in my schedule to start searching for and adding in db the sats details during the weekend and in the start of the next week, but any help would be appreciated.

Finally this would be a great experiment and opportunity for finding TLEs and assigning norad ids to them as early as possible, but this will require many observations and a good analysis before and after the launch.


My station will happily serve any of the sats. I am also bring a second station on line temporally using my vertical dual band before I relocate that station out to Michigan some time later. (It might end up just staying here until next year.)

This being said it will be interesting to how many of the cubes actually have IARU down-links and if any of them don’t but are publicly stating their down-link info.

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A quick but far from complete search yielded these frequencies:
FOX 1C 145.920
ESEO (FunCube 4) 145.895
K2SAT 435.835
ExseedSat 145.900
IRVINE02 437.450

Time permitting I will run my VHF (#39) and UHF (#40) stations in band scanning mode using my strf code to hopefully identify transmitters which are not (yet) public.


This sounds like the start of a plan! By Thursday I hope to have some time researching the transmitters.

The other question is TLEs - do we know who will have them and when?

Based on the prelaunch information we should be able to make a good guess for a TLE. It is likely that a TLE for the upperstage will be made available in the first few hours after launch, which might be close to the payloads.


Some info on MinXSS-2 in this tweet:

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ESEO also transmits on S-band it is reported:

Let’s organize a bit here:

Please start inputting any info you have around any SSO-A satellite to be launched, so we can coordinate the addition to DB too.

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The spreadsheet is very useful! :+1:

I did a pass of the IARU Coordinated Frequency List:

and found 11 sats with Amateur Radio transmitters - they are in the spreadsheet. So far, we have about 25 transmitters!

Also, some provisional TLEs are being discussed here

Not sure how accurate they are.

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Hi all,

I am in contact with ESEO team (really my office mate is part of the team). Most probably, I can provide you the state vector at separation since we are quite interested in getting info about the status of the satellite. Depending on final launch timeline, we the satellite official ground station may miss the first pass and then it will have to wait long time before getting another. So it could be useful to get info from others G/S. Our IQ1RY station is also temporarily offline because of failure of the rotor…
If someone could help, let me know (in particular to who I can send the state vectors).


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Hey @iq1ry ! You can start by sharing the specifics around the transmitter:
Frequency coordinated, modulation, encoding, and if possible (and the team is interested) description of their binary structure. The more information we have the more we can help!

This is what I know about frequencies:

• Main ESEO Telemetry Beacon 437.000 MHz 4k8 or 9k6 GMSK AX25
• FUNcube-4 Beacon 145.895 MHz 4k8 BPSK
• FM Uplink 1263.500 MHz CTCSS 67 Hz
• FM Downlink 145.895 MHz

The last three are part of the FUNcube-4 payload from AMSAT-UK, which can be turned into a radioamateur FM transponder, when not used for beacon downlink.
There is also an S-Band transponder, but this is in the Earth-Space-Earth service bands (not amateur radio) and protocol is according to CCSDS (I think). Frequency should be around 2.2GHz. I do not know if this can be interesting to try to receive.
For the AX25 format, I do not know what will be published in the coming days. I can look for a link.

About orbital elements, this is what I have for ESEO at separation. Other sats will be slightly different. I can try to get the full pack, if someone knows how to use them. On Sunday, there will be probably an update as trajectory is not confirmed yet.

UTC time at liftoff: 323:18:31:47.990
UTC time of current state: 323:18:45:35.490
Mission elapsed time (s): +827.50
ECEF (X,Y,Z) Position (m): -4082602.857, -5539147.559, +1050841.425
ECEF (X,Y,Z) Velocity* (m/s): -1906.942, +1.543, -7410.294
LVLH to BODY quaternion (S,X,Y,Z): +0.0037413, -0.0004474, +0.0067630, -0.9999700
Inertial body rates (X,Y,Z) (deg/s): +0.0058387, +0.0649146, -0.0047330
Apogee Altitude** (km): +583.754
Perigee Altitude** (km): +580.895
Inclination (deg): +97.765
Argument of Perigee (deg): +278.935
Longitude of the Asc. Node*** (deg): +52.415
True Anomaly (deg): +252.302


Many thanks for that ECEF state vector.

I’ve used GMAT to propagate this orbit, and then my own tools to fit a TLE to the XYZ positions. I obtain this TLE:

1 71001U 18823A   18323.78165509  .00000000  00000-0  50000-4 0    01
2 71001  97.8283  32.3043 0015055 286.2236 242.6240 14.96918974    06

ESA’s European Space Orbiter is to be launched on 19th November at 19:30 CET. It is also mentioned that: “spacecraft separation and activation is scheduled at about 2 hours 13 minutes after launch.”

ESA is giving free shirts to the first email from each continent to prove that the sender of the email had successful reception of a beacon.

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The launch has been delayed.

Disappointed about the delay! I had a room full of students who were excited to watch it live! Oh, well - the realities of space flight.

I did another pass and found a few more satellites including PW-Sat2 and SnuSat-2 which were mentioned in:

When will the new sats and transmitters be in the database?

Hopefully we’ll have a revised launch date soon.


Some updates on this topic:

I have added all (22) satellites that we have gathered info for their transmitters in Their temporary norad ids are from 99910 to 99931. If I missed any satellite please reply here or ping me in order to add it.

Now we need to add all these transmitters, anyone can suggest a new transmitter by going into the satellite page in db. I have to finish some other work and then I’ll start adding suggestions too.

About the launch the last info I found, comes from which reports that:

UPDATE 20.11.2018:
The launch will be no earlier than Tuesday, 27 November. SpaceX is working on a new schedule that requires executive approval before it is released. SpaceX is making every effort to make sure our launch is successful, and to keep the launch date as early as possible.


Would it be possible to have the GMAT script (for learning purpose)?

I’m from PW-Sat2 team. Thanks for adding our satellite into database!

I put some information for radio amateurs on our webpage and wiki. Although we’ve developed custom application to receive and decode PW-Sat2 sginals (the idea is similar to FoxTelem) we would like to integrate with SatNOGS since the idea of cooperation of many community ground stations is awesome!

I can provide you with all necessary information about our transceiver (actually it’s the same as on-board PicSat that was present @ SatNOGS). I can also provide you with a frames decoder written in Python. It decodes all telemetry from beacon to json format. Here you can see contents of telemetry that PW-Sat2 will be transmitting every 60 s:

I’m open for cooperation with SatNOGS community but I’m not deeply familiar with the system, e.g. how to put/integrate telemetry decoder etc.

Please note that our mission is very short - the satellite will be operational only for 40 day and then deorbit sail will be deployed (it’s a technology test).