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Specialists keep trying to establish contact with Russian nanosat launched from Vostochny

May 04, 21:24 UTC+3
The project leader has confirmed no contact has been established with the nanosatellite that was launched during the first unmanned blastoff from Russia’s new Vostochny spaceport on April 28
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©  EPA/SCOTT KELLY/NASA/archive

MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. The makers of the SamSat-218 nanosatellite, launched from Russia’s new Vostochny space center April 28, have not received from the space apparatus signals that could confirm the satellite established contact, the head of the project to create SamSat-218, Igor Belokonov, told TASS Wednesday.

"There are currently no sufficient grounds to believe the nanosatellite established contact. There were fragmentary weak signals at the frequency of 145.870 MHz against a background of noises when the nanosatellite was in the area of radiovisibility of the ground control center, which can’t be with confidence interpreted as signals from the satellite," Belokonov said.

At the same time, he said attempts to establish connection with the space apparatus continue.

"Currently the student mission control center of Samara State Aerospace University keeps trying to receive signals from the satellite during its passing above Samara. The reasons for possible malfunctions in the work of the nanosatellite are being analyzed," Belokonov said.

He said the satellite developers asked Russia’s radio enthusiasts to "listen to" the satellite when it is in the area of their antenna systems’ coverage. Belokonov said this is necessary to collect statistical data on the received signals and understand the nature of the apparatus’s movement.

A source in the Russian rocket and space industry told TASS earlier that problems emerged with the SamSat-218 satellite, launched during the first unmanned blastoff from Russia’s new Vostochny spaceport on April 28.

This was a maiden launch for Russia’s new spaceport. The rocket was launched at second attempt. The blastoff initially scheduled for the morning of April 27 was delayed by the automatic system due to a malfunction of a cable.

The SamSat-218 satellite (former name - Contact-Nanosatellite) is the first-ever nanosatellite designed by university students. It was created at the Samara State Aerospace University for testing the algorithms of controlling such miniature devices. The mass of SamSat-218 is just 1.4 kilograms. The spacecraft was placed into orbit during the first launch from the Vostochny cosmodrome on April 28. Along with SamSat-218, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket orbited the Aist-2D and Mikhailo Lomonosov satellites.

The Vostochny spaceport is being built near the town of Uglegorsk in the Amur region, Russia’s Far East. Construction work began in 2010. Vostochny has become the first national civilian cosmodrome that will ensure Russia’s full access to space.

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