The five CubeSats making up the BIRDS-1 (Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds) constellation were deployed into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) on July 7. Each carries an Amateur Radio payload but no transponders. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) module’s remote manipulator arm was used to accomplish the launches.
“Another great example of international cooperation today on @Space_Station — launched 5 micro-satellites from 5 countries off the JAXA arm!” tweeted ISS crew member Jack Fischer K2FSH (@Astro2fish).
The BIRDS-1 constellation of five 1U CubeSats — BIRD-B, BIRD-J, BIRD-G, BIRD-M, and BIRD-N — are all of the same design, and all use the same Amateur Radio frequency. They were launched to the ISS on June 3. The main mission of the 2-year project is to use the constellation to carry out radio communication experiments via a network of UHF/VHF Amateur Radio ground stations around the world.