By Charles Nokes
The Ex-Alta 1 cube satellite built by the University of Alberta’s AlbertaSat team was successfully deployed into low Earth orbit at 2:55:00 am mountain time from the International Space Station. Team members watched a live stream of the deployment via webex, thanks to NASA and Nanoracks.
15 minutes later the team went outside and watched as the ISS transited across the night sky, a bright star floating by (caused by sunlight reflected off the station’s solar panels), knowing that nearby Ex-Alta 1 was tumbling away on its journey to space.
A few hours later, as Ex-Alta 1 passed over South Korea and Japan, radio operators there recorded the first few beacons from Ex-Alta 1! This signalled the successful startup of the satellite, successful deployment of the antennas, and successful startup of the spacecraft subsystems!
The AlbertaSat team will be waiting at 23:04:00 mountain time for Ex-Alta 1 to pass over Edmonton and so the team can finally hear this wonderful little satellite for themselves!
Information about the satellite system status can be found on this page: https://albertasat.ca/ex-alta-1-beacon-format/
The next steps will involve beginning the commissioning of the satellite in preparation for science operations.