BRICSAT-2 - The first APRS Satelilte with Thrusters

US Naval Academy Satellite Lab,
Bob Bruninga, WB4APR
Midns teater,(16)

BRICSAT2 is one of many APRS Networked Amateur Satellites currently on Orbit that appear on the live APRS satellite downlink page and ISS downlink page:

PCsat-1 in orbit since 2001 semi-operational
ARISS on the ISS since 2007
Psat Operational May 2015
QIKcom-1 Attached to Host deployed from ISS in 2017
QIKcom-2 Attached payload looking for a launch since 2016
PSAT2 Launched June 2019
BRICSAT-2 Launched June 2019
ASTARS missions: Prior APRS on other spacecraft, ISS, Shuttle and MIR

The unique features of BRICSAT2 are the APRS transponder and its electric Ion proplusion thruster experiment which are modularized into standard Cubesat bus modules and integrated into a 1.5U cubesat. It was deployed at the same time as the 1.5U PSAT2.

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OVERVIEW: . BRICSAT2 is a communications and electric micro-propulsion project of some students at the Naval Academy launched on the STP-2 SpaceX mission which should have a life span of several years.

BRICSAT2 continues the PCsat(2001) and PSAT-1(2015) missions noted above containing an APRS packet radio communications transponder for relaying remote users, telemetry, sensor and ham radio experimental data from remote users and amateur radio environmental experiments or other data sources to all users via the global network of internet linked volunteer ground stations. The APRS transponder also includes telemetry, and some command and control for the user modes.

Operations under ITU Rules: BRICSAT2 operates under the ITU rules of the Amateur Satellite Service. See how BRICSAT2 design and operation fit entirely within the ITU International Amateur Radio RULES. The FCC does not issue licesnses for Amateur Radio Spacecraft but accepts the control operators filing his Advance Notice or API for documenting the operation. (see public notice) Amateur sateliltes are operated under the license of the individual amateur radio operator who is responsable to assure that both the design and operation are within the rules of the ITU as interpreted by the IARU.

Packet Downlink . . 145.825 1200 baud APRS (shared with ISS, PCSAT, PSAT2, AISAT, UO11 and others!)
Packet Uplink . . . . .145.825 MHz same as other satellites
Telemetry link . . . . . 437.600 MHz for 9600 baud telemetry

BRICSAT2 is another APRS satellite that can digipeat user packets just like the original PCSAT (NO44) and the packet system on the ISS. BRICSAT2 also supports the same digipeating alias of ARISS and APRSAT so that users do not have to change any parameters when using any of these three APRS transponders.

APRS Digipeater: When the DIGI is on, the satellite's call is USNAP1 and the TOCALL is APDIGI. When it is off, the callsign is USNAP1-1 and the tocall is APOFF. The ALIASes are the usual, ARISS, APRSAT.

LIVE Telemetry Downlink: Like other APRS satellites, the telemetry will also be captured on Steve Dimse's, K4HG original web page. Amateur APRS packet relay is the primary mission once the spacecraft passes its on-orbit checkoui.

OVERVIEW: . BRICSAT2 is a project of some students at the Naval Academy working with students at GW university to integrate propulsion into our communications cubesat satellite designs following on to several previous student project satellites which contain an APRS packet radio communications transponder for relaying remote telemetry, sensor and user data from remote users and amateur radio environmental experiments or other data sources back to Amateur Radio experimenters via a global network of internet linked volunteer ground stations. The data transponder also includes all telemetry, command and control for a complete cubesat.

Operations in the Amateur Satellite Service: The APRS transponder on BRICSAT2 is operated in the Amateur Satellite Service to encourage amateur radio students, educators and experimenters around the world to contribute additional satellities to this constellation on 145.825 MHz or to build interesting self motivated remote sensors suitable for the uplink channel. See our ocean or bay oceanographic data buoys for examples. This kind of Amateur Radio experimentation fits well in the ITU rules (see BRICSAT2 justification) for operating in this service and well serve our educational and outreach goals for student projects encouraging young people to be interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

APRS Packet Transponder: The APRS packet transponder is an AX.25 Packet Radio Relay similar to what is flying on PCsat and the ISS. This ongoing mission in space on the original PCsat is now over 18 years old and pioneered this very popular operating mode via the ISS since 2006. Both of these missions deliver packets to users worldwide via the global network of volunteer ground stations feeding the two downlink capture pages: and These pages display live maps such as the one above, of the most recent user position data and capture all message traffic between users. See the APRS link budgets.

Attitude Control: The primary attitude control for BRICSAT2 is the electric Propulsion thrusters built in colaboration with students at the George Washington University. These offset thrusters can both change the attitude of BRICSAT2 but also do some orbit maneuvering to better distribute the 145.825 channel access amongh the various APRS sateliltes.

Global Experimental Data Channel: BRICSAT2 supports the space segment of this global amateur radio APRS packet initiative to encourage both new satellite construction in support of this experimental data channel and lower cost buoy and sensor experimentation at other schools as shown below. Today, the only Amateur Satellite that is available for no cost to schools with such experiments are the several prior student sateliltes built at the Naval Academy beginning with PCSAT-1 in 2001. With these many compatible spacecraft, we hope to continue an ongoing full time presence in space to continue this support of the 145.825 data uplink channel for future experiments. To this end we hope other schools to either build additional 145.825 MHz relay satellites and/or to build experimental sensors. The complete comms system including data transponder fits on one 3.4 inch square card shown here. We hope that BRICSAT2 can be just one more of the Eggs in this chicken-egg conundrum.

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