• [AMSAT-UK] FUNcube-1 (AO73) Celebrating eight years in orbit!

    From AMSAT-UK via rec.radio.info Admin@21:1/5 to All on Mon Nov 22 15:25:50 2021
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    FUNcube-1 (AO73) Celebrating eight years in orbit!

    Posted: 21 Nov 2021 04:51 AM PST https://amsat-uk.org/2021/11/21/funcube-1-ao73-celebrating-eight-years-in-orbit/

    FUNcube-1 Telemetry as at Nov 21, 2021

    November 21, 2021, marks the eighth birthday of the FUNcube-1 CubeSat. Remarkably the tiny spacecraft, launched from Russia on November 21, 2013, continues to work well having travelled more than a billion kilometres in space.

    During the past couple of months, the spacecraft’s orbits have been running just along the edge of the terminator. Initially we had effectively full
    sun with no eclipses but at the beginning of this month it appears that the solar panels were not receiving enough solar radiation to keep the battery fully charged.

    FUNcube-1 was transmitting continuous high-power telemetry and was
    therefore consuming maximum power. The screenshot above is from the AMSAT-UK/BATC groundstation at Goonhilly Earth Station. The FUNcube
    Dashboard shows the rapid decline in the bus voltage from an already below normal 8.0V down to 7.8V. The spacecraft was switched to “safe” mode on the afternoon of November 18th. This reduced to total power consumption by
    almost 50% and, as can been seen, the spacecraft is again in a happy “power positive” situation.

    Although safe mode provides less than 20mW of downlink RF, it is remarkable
    how many stations are still receiving and decoding the 1k2 BPSK telemetry.
    This is a good point at which to say a massive thank you to the many many stations around the world who, even after eight years, are continuing to
    submit their data to the FUNcube Data Warehouse. It really is valuable to
    the team and has really helped us to understand what is going on up there!

    We will continue to monitor the telemetry over the next few weeks and plan
    to return FUNcube-1 to nominal autonomous operation, with the transponder
    on when the spacecraft is in eclipse, as soon as possible.

    Interestingly, it appears that we will not be having any more “full sunlight” periods for the foreseeable future., however those that we have experienced have provided some good data on how hot a 1U CubeSat can become
    in such circumstances!

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