Last month we were listening on 437.275 MHz, trying to confirm ejection of NanoSail-D from NASA’s FastSat. Nothing was heard, confirming that the sub-satellite had not separated. Time goes by. . . (just over a month actually) and as Wednesday afternoon comes around, Stan – N4PMF receives a request from Dean Alhorn to try listening again. (recent updates are noted in RED )
WB5RMG and N4PMF went to the club station and got ready for the 4:50 pm flyover. Shortly after Dean arrived we heard the first packet, and thought we were going to need to scrape Dean off the ceiling – he nearly exploded with joy.
When he saw that we had received a string of telemetry, and had it on the screen, we thought he might cry. Words alone could not describe his elation.
This one simple burst of ‘noise’ on the radio will help Dean and his team to determine more precisely what time the ejection took place, and from that – when to expect the sail to deploy. The FM amateur radio downlink on 437.275 MHz is the only source of spacecraft status (the exact center frequency may well be 437.270, and don’t forget – there can be a +/- 10 kHz doppler correction needed). More listeners are needed. The sail is set to deploy after 3 days (which is reported now to be sometime around 10pm EST -or 0300z 21 Jan). The battery may last a little beyond that. We need telemetry collected from all over the world. You can watch the status on the ‘Dashboard‘, and participate in ‘live science’ by submitting your captured data. You can also follow on Twitter.
The official mission page is :
Thanks Dean for letting us help you with this, as this is one of the many ways that this Amateur Radio Club can be a valuable asset to the Marshall Space Flight Center – and we were proud to participate.