Chinese Mars probe Tianwen-1 successfully received by AMSAT-DLDecember 23, 2020
Soon after its launch on July 23rd, the Chinese Mars mission Tianwen-1 has been received by AMSAT-DL with its 20m ground station in Bochum, Germany. Amateur radio observers Paul Marsh M0EYT and his #hearsat group have been tracking Tianwen-1 since its launch from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site. As no trajectory data was published Daniel Estevez EA4GPZ used the coordinated observations to generate an estimated trajectory which allows narrowing down the search area.
After some reformatting of the data by James Miller G3RUH, AMSAT-DL gave it a first try during on July 24th and 25th with successful detection of the Tianwen-1 telemetry on 8430.911 MHz. An initial guess suggests a BPSK modulation with residual carrier and data modulated on a subcarrier. More than 2 GB of baseband data have been recorded and are being analyzed by the #hearsat group.
This report not only demonstrates the capabilities of amateur radio operators when it comes to deep space missions but also the flexibility and performance of the AMSAT-DL 20m groundstation in Bochum which (except for scheduled maintenance on site) can be operated fully remotely.
more detailed Information:
- Tracking Tianwen-1’s orbit to Mars by Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ
- Tracking Tianwen-1’s orbit to Mars: part II – Daniel Estévez
Achim Vollhardt DH2VA, 2020-07-26
Tianwen-1 switched to the High Gain Antenna (HGA).
With the latest tracking data from EA4GPZ it is rock solid with super strong signals, almost overloading the AirSpy R2 SDR.