We are proud to announce that on 9 December 2014, at 9:50:23 p.m. UTC we received signals from the ARTSAT 2: DESPATCH space probe, which was at this time at distance of 2.715.228 km from Earth.
According to the status on 10 December 2014 it is a record distance.
No one else on Earth received radio signal from this space probe from such a distance.
ARTSAT2:DESPATCH carries a 7 W CW transmitter on 437.325 MHz.
Onboard there is the first sculpture ever to be carried into deep space.
Space probe was launched into space on 3rd December 2014 together with Hayabusa 2 mission and it moves in an elliptical orbit, close to the equatorial plane. It moves away from the Earth at a speed of more than 17,500 km/h.
Since the beginning of the mission, we were receiving radio signals every night. For last few days and nights we were the only ground station receiving signals strong enough to be decoded.
Transmitter power was designed by the authors of the space probe at the level of 7W, but probably the antenna mismatch and its relatively weak gain caused the effective radiated signal to be much weaker. The signal level during our receiving sessions was comparable to the Shin-En2 probe, which was flying on parallel trajectory and had a power output of only 0,8 W. We are also pleased to confirm that we received the signal from the Shin-En2 probe at a distance of 1.893.762 kilometers.
The last signals received by us from ARTSAT 2: DESPATCH were very weak, but clearly stood out on the waterfall diagram of the monitoring program. To avoid misinterpretation we asked for confirmation directly from the creators of the space probe: Tama Art University and The University of Tokyo. The data reported by us were analyzed, compared with the model and successfully authenticated – we have received confirmation with thanks.
Important result of our work are gigabytes of data, which were sent for further analysis to the operators of both space probes.
This result has been achieved courtesy of PIAP [www.piap.pl] which made it possible for us to use 4,5m diameter parabolic mesh dish antenna, the involvement of PIAP employees, the support of fellow amateurs, and of course the understanding families of all those involved.
In our project of monitoring signals from ARTSAT 2: DESPATCH and Shin-En2 space probes , except the antenna, we used radioamateur equipment (purchased and also of our own design), especially designed and made by us emitter which was set in place of the antenna focus, especially prepared software. Preparations of our ground station took us almost two weeks, including some hours on a roof at freezing weather conditions.
Our station operators during all of seven nights were: Piotr SP5MG, Piotr SP5ULN, Lukasz SQ5RWU and Michał SQ5KTM.
Technical support: SQ7GMO
, SQ5DRC, team of a few PIAP Institute employees
Guests invited to our station: SP5XMU, SQ5NWI, SQ5AAG, and some more persons.
Read more about ARTSAT2:DESPATCH