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Archive for February, 2012

ASTRA balloon tracking station testing and Masat-1

ASTRA balloon tracking station testing and Masat-1

We have spent the last few days testing our new high altitude balloon tracking station. In the absence of any scheduled balloon flights (due to unfavourable jetstream conditions above the British isles) we tracked Masat-1, a 1U-class CubeSat nano-satellite built by our colleagues at the Technical University of Budapest (BME) and launched earlier this month on the maiden flight of ESA’s new light launch vehicle (Vega).

Masat-1 Satellite telemetry window and orbit displays.

Masat-1 Satellite telemetry window and orbit displays.

Masat-1

Satellite telemetry window and orbit displays.

Masat-1, transmitting in the 70cm band, was an ideal ‘surrogate’ for our balloon transmitters, which we plan to fly in the near future as part of a series of student projects, as well as stratospheric research missions (ironically, the Masat-1 team had used a balloon flight to test their tracking station prior to the launch of the CubeSat!). Click on the image to see some of the decoded telemetry from the small spacecraft, as well as the orbital characteristics of the last few passes above our station.

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