Tracking Briz-M during the Astra 1 M launch 5 November 2008

Sven Grahn

Summary of receptions

The Astra 1M satelite was launched by a Proton-M launch vehicle from Baikonur in Kazakhstan at 2044 UT on 5 November 2008. I picked up the news of the launch on about an hour after launch and immediately set up the receiver on 1018.5 MHz. I checked once on 1020.5 MHz  (the alternate telemetry frequency) but did not pick up any signals. This is not to say that "absence of evidence is evidence of absence"! However, I let my SDR-14 record the signal spectrum around 1018.5 during the night between 5 and 6 November. As I left home at 0700 UT there was a strong single carrier on 1018.5 MHz. The table below summarizes all receptions made. 

For a more competet account of Briz-M tracking, check out an account of the first such reception here

Receptions 6 November 2008 on 1018.5 MHz in Stockholm, Sweden 
Reception # Date Time (UT) Notes Time from lift-off Adjacent mission event
1 6 November 2008 0056-0123 Three carriers, 0, +/- 16 kHz +4:02 to +4:39 Briz-M shutdown at 0031 UT
2 6 November 2008 0154-0254 Two carriers, +/- 16 kHz +5:10 to +6:10  
3 6 November 2008 0337-0353 Two carriers, +/- 16 kHz +6:53 to +7:09  
4 6 November 2008 0527-0559 Two carriers, +/- 16 kHz +8:43 to +9:15 Briz-M firing 0537-0543 UT. The S/C separated at 0556 UT
5 6 November 2008 0609-0612 Single carrier +9:25 to +9:28  
6 6 November 2008 0650-0657 Single carrier +10:06 to +10:13  







It is instructive to compare these receptions with those made on 19 August 2008 during the transfer orbit of Inmarsat 4-F3. See the table here.  It is possible that the Briz-M stage transmiitted on 1020.5 MHz during the first four hours of the flight. 

Waterfall spectrogram during the observations

For clarity's sake I have filled in all signal traces with yellow colour.

The strange shapes of the spectrogram traces are explained in a previous article on Briz-M tracking.

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