Home / Latest News / National Central University successfully received and decoded the "IDEASSAT" CubeSat downlink signal. "YUSAT" CubeSat is still in progress.

National Central University successfully received and
decoded the "IDEASSAT" CubeSat downlink signal.
"YUSAT" CubeSat is still in progress.

2021/02/02

The "YUSAT (aka Yushan) " and "IDEASSAT (aka Flying Squirrel)" CubeSats were successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), in Florida, the United States, at 11:00 pm of January 24, 2021, Taiwan time. The ground receiving station of National Central University (NCU) successfully received the IDEASSAT CubeSat downlink signal at 9:00 pm on February 1st, and successfully decoded the first beacon message at 11:34 pm.

After YUSAT and IDEASSAT CubeSats were transported to CCSFS in Florida, U.S., in December of last year, various integration and test (I&T) and inspection tasks as well as joint interface tests with the Falcon 9 rocket at the launch site have been performed. At 11:00 pm in the evening on January 24th, they were carried by the Falcon 9 rocket and launched into space. About 59 minutes after the rocket launch, the two satellites began to separate from the rocket. The separated satellites are orbiting the earth with the altitude of about 525 kilometers, with the period about 96 minutes, and at an inclination of about 97.5 degrees. YUSAT and IDEASSAT would be passing and communicating with the ground stations in Taiwan 1 to 2 times between 8 and 10 o'clock in the morning and evening, respectively.

In the first few days, neither the YUSAT ground station of National Space Organization (NSPO) of National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) nor the IDEASSAT ground station of NCU received signals from two CubeSats, respectively. However, there were some good news about the transmitted signals from the two CubeSats received by the foreign stations fortunately, because these amateur radio stations around the world can cooperate each other for receiving satellite signals. Based on the received and decoded signals from them, both satellites are confirmed to be alive and continuously orbiting around the Earth.

The first domestically received and successfully decoded IDEASSAT beacon signal was done by a retired teacher from National LoTung Industrial Vocational high school (LTIVS), Edward Chuang (BX1AD). This signal was received at 9:31 pm on January 29th and decoded on January 30th. After the maintenance of the NCU ground station, it successfully received the IDEASSAT signal at around 9:00 pm on February 1st by using the software developed by NCU. The signal was successfully decoded at 11:34 pm, and the good status of health for IDEASSAT with sufficient electric and radio wave transmission powers and good satellite attitude control was then confirmed. Next, the NCU ground station would send commands to IDEASSAT, set the satellite status to the mission operation mode, and start the experiment of ionospheric measurement.

The radio wave transmission power of the YUSAT CubeSat is relatively small. Therefore, the signal data hardly can be decoded due to the weak signal although the ground stations have successively received the signals from YUSAT. On January 25th and 29th, the amateur ground station in Japan successfully decoded some of the YUSAT signals, showing that YUSAT is still in operation. NSPO is using a larger antenna set and signal amplifier to reduce the impact of noise on the satellite beacon signal. It is expected that the YUSAT signal will be well received and successfully decoded soon.
 


National Central University ground station successfully communicated with the IDEASSAT CubeSat


National Central University team assembled the ground antenna


National Central University team assembled the ground antenna