Finding signals from Tiangong-1

Richard S Flagg

On April 28, 2013 I made a determined search for signals from the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 from my tracking post in Honolulu. I scanned the international space frequency allocation on S-band during an almost overhead pass. The assumption was that the space station, like the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, would be transmitting continuously. And I was indeed  successful and found clear signals near 2232.215 MHz and near  2250.72 MHz during a pass at about 0251-0259 UT. 

Honolulu: My remote-controlled antenna mount. Photo: Sven Grahn February 26, 2013.

A good waterfall spectrogram of the doppler curve was not obtained on 28 April becuase of the time-consuming search for the signals, but on 30 April the spectrogram below was obtained showing how the center frequency of about 2232.215 MHz was determined.


To verify the reception on 28 April I alerted Mark Severance in Houston to check my observations and the assumption that the station transmits continuously. Mark brought his newly installed antennas into operation and confirmed my observation during a pass almost straight over Houston at about 1437-1441 UT on 28 April 2013.

Houston: S-band antenna on the left

Houston: 2250.72 MHz signal at 1439 UT.

Houston: 2250.72 MHz signal at 1440 UT

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