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The cubesat Lightsail-2 has been deployed and has communicated with ground stations. See The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 Healthy as Mission Team Continues Spacecraft Checkouts, where it says:

Telemetry from LightSail 2 shows the spacecraft's major systems are operating normally. The spacecraft's tumble rate is near zero, indicating it successfully used its electromagnetic torque rods to stabilize itself after ejection from Prox-1.

The mission team adjusted LightSail's internal clock and uplinked data to help the CubeSat determine where it is around the Earth, which is required for solar sailing. Mission ground stations at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Georgia Tech, and Purdue University have all received LightSail 2 data. Additionally, the SatNOGS worldwide ground station network has been tracking the spacecraft and capturing additional teleme

Question: What kind of transmitters and antennas do the Lightsail-2 ground stations at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Georgia Tech, and Purdue University use to communicate with the cubesat?

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  • $\begingroup$ You quote information about the DOWNLINK, yet you are asking about the UPLINK. I did find information that mission control is at CalPoly so it is fair to assume at least that ground station is used for uplink. Your quoted article does seem to imply Georgia Tech may have uplink capability, but it is not necessarily a given. $\endgroup$ – Carlos N Jul 22 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlosN "The mission team adjusted LightSail's internal clock and uplinked data to help the CubeSat determine where it is around the Earth," This is presumably done with transmitters, no? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 22 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, and presumably the uplink is at the same location, but not a given. CalPoly probably does have an uplink. GT and Purdue - uncertain. SATNOGS does not. But see my answer below assuming CalPoly has an uplink. $\endgroup$ – Carlos N Jul 22 at 14:09
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I assume CalPoly is being used for the uplink, as implied by mission control being there. According to eoportal, LighSail uses the same 435 MHz frequency for uplink and downlink. I would expect CalPoly would use one of its standard UHF ground stations shown in this article. All three generations of their ground stations use commercial HAM radios such as this Yaesu and yagi antennas. The article lists the specific brand radios, amplifiers, etc, but sadly not the antenna. Most popular manufacturer for those really large Yagis is M2, but there are others. You can see pictures of the antenna for their latest station here.

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  • $\begingroup$ yep, this is just the kind of answer I was hoping for, thank you! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 22 at 14:11

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