February 24, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

via HACKADAY: Quetzal-1 Satellite Goes Open Source

Back in 2020, students from Universidad Del Valle De Guatemala (UVG) pulled off a really impressive feat, designing and building a CubeSat that lasted a whopping 211 days in orbit. In addition to telemetry and radio equipment, it carried a black-and-white camera payload.

But it turns out space is hard. The first pictures were solid black or white, with the automatic exposure process failing pretty badly. A pair of good pictures were taken by waiting until the satellite was passing over Guatemala during sunrise or sunset. A hung I2C bus led to battery drain, and the team tried a system reset to clear the hung state. Sadly the craft never came back to life after the reset, likely because of one of the Lithium-Ion battery cells failed completely in the low charge state.