Firefly Aerospace: Reaching Orbit and deploying Amateur Radio satellites
Firefly Aerospace test mission has been a total success, with reaching orbit and deploying small satellites for Teachers in Space, NASA TechEdSat, Libre Space Foundation and AMSAT
Update October 13:
Earlier I reported on the successful launch of satellites in Low Earth Orbit via an Alpha rocket. News coverage from space.com now clarified that the Alpha rocket did not achieve the required 300km altitude (only ~220km) and placed the satellites into an unstable orbit causing the loss of the Satellites, as the first two stages operated as intended Firefly Aerospace still calls it an success. (Source: Space.com and Spacenews.com)
October 1st, 2022 marked the day of the first successful launch of Firefly’s Alpha rocket. The success could be achieved in only two attempts, which also marks a historical event, as Firefly is the first company in the US to do this trick in the second go.
The Alpha mission FLTA002 has been hitch-hiked by several cubesats and picosats of various organizations, taking the opportunity to get a ride into orbit for, what I assume at least, a fraction of the cost it would normally be.
The three major systems, Libre Space did send a PicoBus dispenser with 5 additional picosats, combined to a weight of roughly 12,5 kg which is around 1% of the 1170kg maximum payload to LEO (Low Earth Orbit).
The mission was also covered by the Everyday Astronaut and I would recommend you to go and watch his youtube coverage.
Alpha deployed the small satellites in Low Earth Orbit and an altitude of 300km at an retrograde orbit of 137 degrees.
Onboard have been two new Amateur Radio satellites with the following setup:
145.875 MHz uplink, Modes: FM voice (no subtone) and FSK 50 bps, AFSK, AX.25, APRS 1200 / 2400 bps
436.888 MHz downlink, Modes: FM voice, CW, FSK 50 bps, FM voice beacon with AM2SAT callsign
145.925 MHz uplink, Modes: FM voice (no subtone) and FSK 50 bps, AFSK, AX.25, APRS 1200 / 2400 bps
436.666 MHz downlink, Modes: FM voice, CW FSK 50 bps, SSTV Robot 36, FM voice beacon with AM3SAT callsign
Picture: Credit Firefly Aerospace
Frequencies and satellite picture: AMSAT-UK
This news item was first published on “Space and Ham Radio News” a Newsletter published every Sunday on Patreon. If you want to be among the first to read please become a supporter