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Is in general possible to download data from space missions? I mean "raw" data from sensors instead of the few artistic pictures released to public. Or do scientists keep those files in their secret vaults?

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NASA requires all missions to release the raw data on a regular basis, in particular to the Planetary Data System. ESA releases their data to the Planetary Science Archive. Russia releases it's data to the Solar System Data Archive. Other organizations are found under the umbrella "International Planetary Data Alliance", which has a whitepaper here giving the names of all of the organizations with such data.

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    $\begingroup$ This is incredible! Just an example now I'll never get anything done. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 23 '16 at 14:17
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Certainly it is "possible to download data from space missions".

A great example is the FUNcube program which is sponsored by AMSAT-UK. According to their webpage 'More than 900 stations, including many at schools and colleges around the world, have received and decoded the telemetry.' I'd suggest taking a look at URL https://funcube.org.uk/ which has information about what is involved and links to further details.

And FUNcube is by no means the only satellite you can monitor. http://www.pe0sat.vgnet.nl/decoding/satellite-telemetry/ contains links to a great deal of pertinent "how-to-do-it" information; just choose the "Satellite" dropdown from the menu bar to get an idea of what is possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ I love FUNcube! Are they still actively selling the Dongle Pro+? I never get a reply when I try to ping them by e-mail. Coolest SDR I've ever seen! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 23 '16 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ According to funcubedongle.com , the Funcube Dongle Pro+ is "In Stock" and there's a click-to-order hyperlink that takes you to an ecommerce site --- so it looks promising :-) $\endgroup$ – user2790 Jul 23 '16 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ funcubedongle.com/?page_id=1029 has a full disclosure about the company selling them and the fellow who runs the enterprise (Howard Long, G6LVB)...along with his UK corporate registration #, so it seems legitimate just based on that. I'm in the USA, not the UK, but I'd suspect you might be able to contact him directly based upon his amateur callsign if he's listed in the UK equivalent of the "callbook" or in "qrz.com", etc. $\endgroup$ – user2790 Jul 23 '16 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ I'm quite sure they are out of this world in reputation! ;-) OK I'll try a QSO thanks! fyi I have asked this related question. UPDATE :I checked again FUNcube replied just fine! it was a 3rd party issue I was thinking of. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 23 '16 at 14:09

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