A SwissCube not made of chocolate

Another CubeSat I have been tracking from our ground station at F’SATI is the first Swiss satellite called SwissCube. This CubeSat has been doing its thing for almost two years and appears to still be doing well. It has a CW – or morse code – beacon transmitting at a frequency of approximately 437.505 MHz, a rate of 11.8 words per minute and has an output power of 100mW. It carries a low resolution camera as payload.

If I remember correctly I generally track this CubeSat with the LNA (pre-amp) switched on, which makes quite a noticeable difference. On Friday I could still receive a signal from the satellite with our ground station even after SatPC32 was indicating that the satellite was below the horizon (elevation < 0)! This could just have been due to favourable atmospheric conditions or even “oldish” TLEs – but still pretty cool.

The audio morse code tones are turned into text using MixW and can then be decoded using the decoder from the SwissCube website or the decoder from DK3WN. I happened to use the one from DK3WN.

Below is some telemetry from 16 June 2011 and also a figure of the decoder with the decoded information.

SwissCube-20110616 decoded telemetry

SwissCube-20110616 decoded telemetry

And some telemetry data from Friday, 17 June 2011:

U VU4 VU6 
SwissCube-20110617 decoded telemetry

SwissCube-20110617 decoded telemetry

The three messages respectively indicate the status of each major-component of the spacecraft, solar panel current and battery voltage and temperature. The solar panel current is given in ranges rather than specific values, for example Cell -Y is producing a current of between 500 and 626 mA.


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About leon

Young satellite engineer in training and ground station constructor – most recently flight software writer, rider of bicycles, life long student and I am on GoogleStreetView.

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