The PicSat 3U CubeSat carrying an amateur radio 145/435 MHz FM transponder is planned to launch into Earth orbit on January 12, 2018.
The primary mission is to study the star Beta Pictoris, its exoplanet and its famous debris disk, thanks to a small telescope 5 cm in diameter. The nanosatellite has been designed and built over three years by scientists and engineers at the Paris Observatory and the CNRS, with support from the Université PSL, the French space agency CNES, the European Research Council and the MERAC Foundation.
The nominal PicSat mission will last for one year. When the start of a planetary or other transit is observed, the 3.6-meter telescope from the European Southern Observatory in La Sille, Chile, will also be immediately put into action to observe Beta Pictoris using the powerful HARPS instrument. These data combined will allow an even better understanding of the phenomenon.
On Friday, January 12 2018 at 0358 UT, the Indian PSLV launcher will lift off and place PicSat in a polar orbit at an altitude of 505 km, together with about thirty other satellites. PicSat will be operated from Lesia in Meudon. However, the satellite will be visible from Meudon for only about 30 minutes every day, when it passes over Paris. Therefore, PicSat uses radio amateur bands for its communication, for which authorisation has been obtained thanks to the help of the French Réseau des Émetteurs Français (REF, or the Network of French Emitters).
Anybody who owns a minimum radio receiving equipment can listen to and receive PicSat’s transmissions on 435.525 MHz. The PicSat team invites radio amateurs from all over the world to collaborate in following the satellite, receiving its data and relaying them to the PicSat data base via the Internet. Those interested can register on the PicSat website to follow the updates and, if they so wish, become part of the radio network, see http://PicSat.obspm.fr/
Watch the launch at http://webcast.gov.in/live/
Download the PicSat Press Release PDF
IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination
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