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Saturday, January 22, 2011

NASA NANO-Sail Found by Hams!

All is well with the Nano-sail spacecraft, and hams apparently helped find it:

“This is tremendous news and the first time NASA has deployed a solar sail in low-Earth orbit,” said Dean Alhorn, NanoSail-D principal investigator. “To get to this point is an incredible accomplishment for our small team and I can’t thank the amateur ham operator community enough for their help in tracking NanoSail-D. Their assistance was invaluable. In particular, the Marshall Amateur Radio Club was the very first to hear the radio beacon. It was exciting!”

The Marshall Amateur Radio Club confirmed deployment of NanoSail-D late Wednesay EST with reception of the 1200bps AX.25 FM beacon on 437.275MHz +/-10kHz Doppler. News Release: 19 January 2011 Huntsville, AL USA The Marshall Amateur Radio Club (@ MSFC) - WA4NZD late Wednesday afternoon confirmed ejection of the NanoSail-D sub-satellite. This loaf-of-bread sized spacecraft was carried to orbit late last year on an Air Force rocket as part of NASA's FastSat project. This is the first successful deployment of a satellite, launched from a satellite already in orbit .!. The only communication from the NanoSail-D vehicle is via ham radio with 1200 baud FM AX25 beacon packets. The WA4NZD team of N4PMF and WB5RMG, was listening on 437.275 MHz FM with the NanoSail-D Principal Investigator Dean Alhorn at the club station when the beacon was heard and susbequently decoded onto the screen. Please visit http://wa4nzd.wordpress.com/ for pictures and more links to the NanoSail-D project. They are asking for telemetry reception reports from all over the world to help fill in gaps. The battery is expected to last for only three days. Marshall Amateur Radio Club http://wa4nzd.wordpress.com/ NanoSail-D Dashboard http://nanosaild.engr.scu.edu/dashboard.htm NanoSail-D on Twitter http://twitter.com/NanoSailD

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