European Digipeating Satellites Set to Launch in Fall 2023
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has coordinated the launch of two European digipeating satellites, scheduled to take place in fall 2023. One of the satellites, named Veronika, is a 1U CubeSat and is set to be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket during the Transporter 9 mission in October 2023. The satellite will be equipped with a 24/7 digipeater on two different bands, as well as experimental slow-scan digital video (SSDV) transmissions.
An education and outreach mission is also planned for Veronika, which will involve Slovak grammar and high schools. The satellite will transmit special CW and AX.25 messages on several special occasions. Veronika will be equipped with a novel Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) subsystem, including electromagnetic actuators and a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver. This will help in identifying the satellite during its initial days and weeks of orbit.
Veronika will communicate using Spacemanic’s Murgas transceivers, providing AX.25 telemetry, a CW beacon, a digipeater, AX.25 and CW messages for community engagement, experimental SSDV transmissions, SatNOGS integration, a decoder, and a dashboard. The downlink frequency for Veronika will be 436.680 MHz, and it will use 9k6 G3RUH AX.25 and a CW beacon. The satellite will be launched into a 500/600-kilometer polar orbit through a SpaceX launch on the Transporter 9 mission.
In addition to Veronika, the Romanian Federation of Amateur Radio (FRR) is preparing another satellite called ROM-3 for launch in October or November 2023. ROM-3 is a picoSAT with dimensions of 50 x 50 x 100 millimeters, and it has three missions and objectives. Its primary mission is to act as a digital amateur radio repeater, while its secondary mission is to transmit low-resolution SSDV images in Gaussian frequency shift keying (GFSK) mode. The tertiary mission of ROM-3 is to transmit a CW beacon, helping amateur radio operators detect the presence of the satellite and measure basic properties of its signals.
The downlink frequency for ROM-3 will be 436.235 MHz, and it will transmit at 20 WPM on CW, with 500 bps GFSK telemetry and 5 kBps GFSK SSDV. ROM-3 is also set to be launched into a 500-kilometer polar orbit through a SpaceX launch.