Ikaros Solar Sail

23rd May 2010 - The JAXA Planet-C (AKATSUKI) and Ikaros spacecraft have been received at X-Band. The main problem currently is that the elevation of these two only peaks around 15degrees, therefore a significant number of Tree dB exists in the path. The spacecraft were launched at 06:58:22 Japan Standard Time on May 21 2010.

Planet c2

Planet-C - this was captured at 20:09z on the 23rd May 2010. The downlink frequency as received was 8410.8055MHz. As can be seen from the FFT screenshot, the signal is reasonable, peaking around 10dB over noise in 0.38Hz bin bandwidth.


Ikaros - This solar sail was received around the same time as Planet-C as they are in a very similar trajectory. The interesting characteristic to note with the signal from Ikaros is that it 'wobbles', presumably some artefact from having its X-Band LGA on a boom away from the spacecraft bus. The Ikaros uses the same X-Band communications payload as Muses-C, except the antennas are LGA and MGA only.


The Spectran screen grab below also shows the wobble of the carrier. Note, Doppler moves in the opposite direction to the above RF captures, due to the receiver being in 'CW' mode.