FIRSTMOVE – end of mission

First-MOVE On-Board Computer Damaged

As we posted on December 21st 2013, we are not receiving data beacons from First-MOVE anymore. In contrast to the nominal mode in which CW beacons and AX.25 beacons alternate every 60 seconds, we are now hearing only CW beacons every 60 seconds. After trying many different approaches to reset our on-board computer via telecommands we re-analyzed our current options again last week. This analysis resulted in the conclusion, that the on-board software has sustained irreparable damage. The fact that we are receiving CW beacons every 60 seconds indicates, that both the transceiver and the power supply are functioning properly. For the transceiver to return to the 60 second CW beacon mode, it has to be power cycled, since this mode cannot be activated by the on-board software. This means that there was definitively an interruption in the power supply. In case of an interruption, the computer should deactivate the 60 second CW beacon mode as the first task during the boot sequence. As this has obviously not happened, the only conclusion is, that the computer is not getting through the entire boot sequence, probably because it was damaged due to an erroneous write process on the memory chip. Since there is no way to upload new software to First-MOVE we see no possibility to continue the mission and perform the planned experiments. It seems that First-MOVE has become inactive after a very short lifetime. We will still receive the CW beacons, but we will not hear anything but his name.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who went on this long journey and helped us. Especially the experience of strangers all around the world trying and often succeeding in tracking our satellite has made us very happy. Thank you for your efforts and help!

We will now try to compile all of the experience we have gained, write it down and pass it on to the next generation so a longer and more successful mission can be performed in the future.

Claas Olthoff

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