In the News: Two ham radio satellite payloads destroyed in Antares launch explosion
The RACE and GOMX-2 CubeSats were among more than 2 dozen satellites lost after an unmanned Orbital Space Sciences (OSC) Antares 130 vehicle exploded spectacularly shortly after launch at 2222 UTC on Tuesday, October 28, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Both satellite packages carried Amateur Radio payloads. The Antares is a new medium-class launch vehicle developed by OSC. The rocket exploded about 6 seconds after launch, sending a huge ball of fire hurtling toward the ground, which set a massive fire at the NASA launch site.
The RACE (Radiometer Atmospheric Cubesat Experiment) CubeSat was a joint project between The Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) at the University of Texas-Austin and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Built by a 30-student team, it carried a 183 GHz radiometer, a new science instrument designed by JPL. The spacecraft was equipped to transmit using GMSK at 38.4 k and CW telemetry on a downlink frequency of 437.525MHz.
The 2U GOMX-2 CubeSat was intended to test a de-orbit system designed by Aalborg University in Denmark. Karl Klaus Laursen, OZ2KK, is listed as the “responsible operator” on International Amateur Radio Union frequency coordination documents. The Amateur Radio payload proposed using a 9.6 k MSK data downlink on 437.250 MHz. Also on board was an optical communications experiment from the National University of Singapore. The mission also aimed to flight qualify a new high-speed UHF transceiver and SDR receiver built by an Aalborg University team.
(Published from DFW, Texas)