Observation 6981462: ORCASat (99232)

Regarding Observation 6981462

This is not ORCASat, this is another satellite.

Check these ones to understand what is expected SatNOGS Network - Observations

Hey Fredy - this is Leve VA7QF here. I have designed the ORCASat satellite communication system, and am one of the people currently operating this satellite. I have opened this ticket to get in contact with you and ask what was/is your process for deciding what TLE to use for the observations of newly deployed satellite, such as ours, before the official TLE is published on the web. I would love to hear from you. As well, if you have any questions related to ORCASat, or its communication system, please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

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Hi @ha6bli,

The method we follow as community for generating TLE is this:

  1. Preliminary TLE

Before deployment/launch we gather any info around it and try to find preliminary TLE set either from the satellite team or the launch/deployment provider. If this is not possible then we generate our own TLE based on the information we have gathered. These TLE sets are always adjusted on the actual launch/deployment time and other data.

In ORCASat case, as it was deployed from the ISS, we have used the ISS TLE set at the time of the deployment as preliminary ones.

  1. Post Launch TLE

In some cases after deployment satellite teams or launch/deployment providers provide post launch TLE sets that we use.

This is not the case in ORCASat.

  1. Adjusting and generating TLE sets

Until a public announcement of TLE from NORAD, we use our observations either from Network or by using other tools, like strf, in order to adjust and generate new, more accurate, TLE sets by using the Doppler effect observed on these observations. This is not always easy if we are not sure that the signal we observe is from the satellite indeed and/or if there aren’t a lot of data.

For ORCASat you can check this process in the related thread.

  1. TBA TLE sets from NORAD

In this part, NORAD has announced TLE for some or for all the TLE objects but they are still in a To Be Assigned status. So, while we are waiting the final assignment of the objects to NORAD IDs, we perform analysis with different tools on our observations and we starting following the most fitted object for each satellite.

  1. Final TLE sets from NORAD

When the assignment of the NORAD IDs to objects is done, then we are ready to start identify the satellites, again based on our observations results and the analysis on them.

In this comment, as I explained I was ready to identify ORCASat as object 55126, however a signal on LORIS observations, that seems to follow this object, confused me and made me wonder if the signals we see on the ORCASat observations is indeed ORCASat or something else.

So, @ha6bli it would be great help if you can verify/confirm the following:

  1. The information in DB for ORCASat are right (modulation, baudrate, frequency etc)

  2. The signals in the good observations of ORCASat belong to the satellite based on modulation, bandwidth, time (it is in UTC) and other factors.

Finally any other information that you can share it would be very useful like:

  1. When the satellite is expected to transmit
  2. Are there any scheduled transmissions for the future
  3. Did you have any contact with the satellite and when (in order to re-check our observations and see if we can find any signal)
  4. Any information that will allow us to demodulate and decode the signals and verify the identity of the satellite.

Thanks for the detailed information, I really appreciate it. I have reviewed the database information for ORCASat, and made a few updates. Unfortunately I do not have the time to review the good observations and confirm them. The satellite only transmits when visible from Victoria, BC, Canada over 15 degrees of elevation. The satellite only transmits when prompted by its control station in Victoria. Transmissions are not scheduled, but since the launch we have been manning pretty much every pass over Victoria. We regularly have contact with the satellite, pretty much during every pass. For more information on demodulating the signal, you can find some stuff here: ORCASat — AMATEUR RADIO and reach our to me directly if you have any further questions.