Delta 2 places NPP and CubeSats in orbit, Vandenberg AFB, CA

October 29, 2011, 2:48 am PDT


Delta 2 lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base's SLC-2.

Exposure: 81 seconds @ f/3.5
ISO 320
Camera/Lens: Nikon D80, DSLR, Nikon 18-200mm.
Location: Goleta, California.

Friday morning, at 2:48am, a Delta 2 rocket placed in orbit a payload for the National Polar-orbiting Operations Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP). The payload went into orbit minutes after leaving Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC2) from Vandenberg Air Force.

In addition to the NPP payload, the Delta 2 rocket carried some hitch-hikers into orbit.

Five nano satellites or CubeSats, designed and constructed by students from the University of Michigan, Auburn Univeristy, Montana State University and Utah State University were also placed in orbits. This launch is the third for NASA’s Educational Launch program.

The cubesats can be monitored by ham radio operators as they pass overhead once in orbit. The ELaNa III Cubesats being launched are listed below:

Satellite: AubieSat-1 (Auburn University)
Downlink Freq: 437.475 MHz
EIRP: .708W
Modulation Scheme: Interrupted Continuous Wave (IWC)
Protocol: Morse Code
Baud Rate: 20wpm

Satellite: DICE (Montana State University)
Downlink Freq: 465 MHz
EIRP: -4.51dBW
Modulation Scheme: OQPSK
Protocol: CCSDS
Baud Rate: Modulation data rate 1.5 megabit, Actual Tx bit rate 3.0 megabit

Satellite: RAX-2 (University of Michigan)
Downlink Freq: 437.345 MHz
Modulation Scheme: GMSK
Baud Rate: 9600

Satellite: M-Cubed (1) (University of Michigan)
Downlink Freq: 437.485MHz
EIRP: < 1W
Modulation Scheme: FSK
Protocol: AX.25
Baud Rate: 9600

Satellite: Explorer-1[PRIME] Flight Unit 2 (Utah State University)
Downlink Freq: 437.505 MHz
EIRP: -0.7dBW
Modulation Scheme: Non-Coherent FSK
Protocol: KISS Custom
Baud Rate: 1200

For additional information about NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit

For additional information about the CubeSats, visit:
Explorer-1 [Prime]:

The CubeSat launches had two prior failure before this successful orbit placement of the nanosatellites.

For more information contact Tony Galván.

All images © 2011, Anthony Galván III. Any use without written permission is strictly prohibited.