[amsat-bb] CUSat and Falcon 9 R/B (2nd Stage) Los Angeles Sunday Evening Pass

Bryce Salmi bstguitarist at gmail.com
Mon Oct 14 23:33:42 PDT 2013

Hey All,

    I figured I’d share some neat stuff I did over the weekend. I’m still
working on getting a good satellite capability at my apartment but
otherwise I am able to do some basic stuff. I noticed that there was a 89.6
degree elevation (about as straight overhead as they get) last night around
7:49PM, just after dusk. Below are some images and links. First is the
output of my satellite tracking program and you can see on the map just how
good the pass was as well as the “radar” view on the bottom right which is
a polar map also indicating the amazing pass overhead. Below that is the
1200 baud APRS  telemetry signal from what I believe was CUSat. The APRS
was a bit lower than the beacon frequency but maybe I read the Cornell
website incorrectly. The signal obviously had Doppler shift and 1 minute
intervals of transmission as expected. The third image is of a CW beacon
signal also from what I believe was CUSat which occurred extremely close to
the CUSat beacon frequency and had obvious Doppler shift too as shown in
the image (it’s moving left, lower in frequency as it moved away from me).
I made my best attempt to decode the Morse Code (I’m a bit rusty, but I
think I got it) and it appears to be telemetry? I was hoping for a
callsign!  If you would like to listen to this CW (Morse Code) beacon, I
decoded the audio here <http://snd.sc/1hQ17II>. *** I've later found out
that there is absolutely no CW beacon on CUSat from some coworkers who
helped build CUSat in college***
 The last two images are from AGI Satellite Toolkit and show the 3D view of
the orbit as it went over LA. We’re pretty sure we actually saw Falcon 9
Stage 2 (Falcon 9 R/B) as it was leading CUSat and was a bright moving
object in the sky just in-front of where we expected CUSat to be following
the exact path. It was apparently bright enough to see in Redondo Beach, CA
and the timing puts it in the correct spot to be illuminated by the sun at
that altitude.

Amazing Pass:

APRS From CUSat (2.2W output):

Some CW Beacon, Not CUSat...(Coworkers helped build CUSat, it has
absolutely no CW capabilities) so this was some other bird...

AGI Satellite Toolkit View of the Pass:

AGI Satellite Toolkit View Neat Side View of the Orbit:

If anyone has any idea of the CW beacon and what it belongs to I'd love to
hear it! I thought it might be Compass-1 (not even sure if it's stil alive,
just same freq) but it was nowhere near LA during the pass.

Bryce Salmi

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