Firefly Alpha – Firefly Aerospace launch vehicle
Teachers in Space (TIS) has secured a flight on Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha launch vehicle to send their educational Cube satellite, “Serenity”, into a low Earth orbit. Serenity will contain several experiments including Gloversville School Districts radiation experiment and Villanova University’s Blockchain technology experiment.
The satelite developed by Teachers in Space is a pioneer CubeSat (CubeSat.org), that will provide low cost opportunities to test educational experiments in space. Teachers in space has previously guided high schools and other academic institutions in developing and flying experiments sub-orbitally with high altitude balloons, stratospheric gliders and rockets. This will be the first orbital sattelite mission for TIS.
The Serenity satellite will be carrying a suite of data sensors and a camera that will be sending data back to Earth through the use of HAM radio signals. There will be several ground stations connecting with the satellite during its orbital period. These ground stations will be collecting data and pictures sent back down to Earth.
How to communicate with Serenity. The best option is to connect with a local HAM radio club. They may have the equipment already set up to track satellites. If they do not, they will be able to assist you in finding one that does.
Once you have found the equipment you need, the following information will help the HAM operator locate Serenity and send commands to receive packets of information containing experiment data and satellite telemetry:
- Try a COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) Software-Defined Radio system
- Serenity’s Call Sign will be WU2M
- Serenity’s public channel is called Mode 2(M2) Frequency range 437.1
Serenity’s half-duplex setup restricts it to 3 operations: Listen, Receive and Transmit and can only complete one task at a time. The 3 commands are: Status, List, RAD.
Connecting with Serenity is similar to making a phone call. The format follows Satellite, Station, Mode, Command format as shown below.
Satellite Call Sign: WU2M
Operators call Sign: (what ever radio you are trying to connect from)
Mode: M2 (Public mode available)
Command Choice: Status, List, Rad
Each command choice asks for a specific information packet to be sent back.
Status: sends back current health and location of satellite.
List: sends back a list of stations that have contacted the satellite in the past 7 days.
Rad: sends back a data file of dosimeter readings from the radiation experiment.
Firefly’s launch date is currently set for 30 November.or updates and more information.
About Teachers in Space, Inc.: Teachers in Space, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit educational organization stimulating student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by providing teachers with extraordinary space science experiences and industry connections.
Contact: Elizabeth Kennick, President
609 770 3931