Ex-Alta 1 has been lounging around on the International Space Station ever since the Cygnus OA-7 arrived on April 22nd, enjoying its time with some absolutely exceptional astronauts. But as of tomorrow morning, Ex-Alta 1’s vacation on-board the Station is over and it will have to get to work.

AlbertaSat has received word from the QB50 mission coordinators that Alberta’s first satellite will be deployed from the International Space Station on May 26th at 2:55 am MDT. The NanoRacks deployer will eject Ex-Alta 1 at a comfortable 2.1m/s at exactly 45° between the nadir and anti-ram direction. Team members will be anxiously watching a live stream of the event. This will mark the start of Ex-Alta 1’s journey through space with the goal of retrieving novel scientific data about the effects of space weather in the lower thermosphere.

The first predicted beacon from Ex-Alta 1 will arrive at AlbertaSat’s Ground Station on May 26th at 11:00 pm. Team members will be eagerly awaiting the first “Hello” from Ex-Alta 1 on location at ground control in the University of Alberta CCIS building. This will no doubt be an exciting moment for everyone that has been involved in this mission over the past number of years. It will be an opportunity to see all the diligent hours of hard work pay off.

After the team receives the first beacon from Ex-Alta 1, the next step is to assess the health of the satellite. Housekeeping data will be retrieved for all subsytems to ensure that all components are behaving nominally and everything has deployed successfully. This is the beginning of the 60 day commissioning phase over which time the ground control team will uplink commands to Ex-Alta 1, getting it prepared for the science phases of the mission.

To keep as up to date as possible, please subscribe to the AlbertSat mailing list which will be sending Ex-Alta 1 status updates daily: http://www.mailman.srv.ualberta.ca/mailman/listinfo/albertasat

 

If you would like to track Ex-Alta 1, please use one of the following methods:

Desktop:

  • Go to the website http://www.n2yo.com
  • Search for Ex-Alta 1
  • Click “Track Ex-Alta 1 now!”
  • You can also use software programs such as Orbitron and Gpredict

 

Android:

  • Get “Heavens-Above” from the Google Play store (free!)
  • Search for Ex-Alta 1
  • Select Ex-Alta 1 and tap the bell icon to receive notifications!

 

iOS:

  • Get “SkyView Satellite Guide” from the App store ($5.49)
  • Select the search icon in the bottom right corner
  • Search for Ex-Alta 1
  • Select Ex-Alta 1 and then tap the blue “Ex-Alta 1” writing at the bottom of the screen
  • Toggle between “Satellite Data” and “Peak Predictions”

 

Amateur Radio:

 

 

 

* note: it may take several days after deployment before Ex-Alta 1 can be tracked using the above methods

 

Photo: NanoRacks Deployer on ISS (courtesy of NASA)


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