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Jason DavisJune 10, 2016

LightSail 2 will transmit Morse code from space, and you can make the sound your ringtone

During last year's LightSail 1 mission, dozens of radio enthusiasts around the wrote in to tell us they heard our solar sailing CubeSat chattering away in low-Earth orbit.

Every few seconds, LightSail automatically transmits a beacon packet. These packets can be picked up by ground stations and decoded into 238 lines of text telemetry that describe the spacecraft's health and status. Everything from battery current to solar sail deployment motor state is included. 

Many off-the-shelf CubeSat software packages also have an option to transmit Morse code beacons, and for the LightSail 2 mission, we're activating this feature. Every 45 seconds, the spacecraft will transmit its call sign, "WM9XPA. Radio operators tuned in to the spacecraft's 437.025 megahertz frequency should be able to hear it.

In Morse code, L-S-2 looks like this:

.-- -- ----. -..- .--. .-

If you capture the beacon using software-defined radio, it looks like this:

LightSail 2 Morse code beacon

The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 Morse code beacon

The LightSail 2 Morse code beacon makes for a great phone ringtone, if you're so inclined. Here are the audio files in WAV and M4R format:

LightSail 2 Morse code beacon, WAV format
LightSail 2 Morse code beacon, M4R format

For Android phones, you can drag the WAV file into your device's ringtones folder, or download a ringtone app. If you have an iPhone, you should be able to transfer the M4R file using iTunes

Read more: LightSail

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Jason Davis

Editorial Director for The Planetary Society
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