09/10/20: Transmission stopped after 5 months of in-orbit operations
After 5 months of in-orbit operations, QARMAN stopped transmitting on July 14th, 2020. No beacon signals have been received since then. Last signals showed increasing onboard temperatures.
Our analyses show that QARMAN experienced a 4-day period of full sunlight at that time, instead of the usual alternating 1h sunlight/30 min eclipse. We are now investigating together with ESA how that would have affected the various subsystems and trying to identify the failure point and associated lessons learned. Of course, we will keep monitoring daily for QARMAN signals until the re-entry (currently estimated for January 2022).
Initially foreseen in July 2020, the re-entry of Qarman has been delayed because the sun is experiencing an unexpected less active phase called ‘solar minimum’. In a solar minimum, the sun is much quieter, meaning less sunspots and energy. Solar ultraviolet radiation decreases, but the effect of this primarily hits the stratosphere and higher altitudes. It causes Earth's atmosphere to shrink slightly, which reduces drag on satellites, like our QARMAN CubeSat.