SpinSat Deployment from ISS

SpinSat extended from airlock

SpinSat extended from airlock

SpinSat was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 21 in preparation for a subsequent deployment from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM).

SpinSat - Credit Naval Research Laboratory

SpinSat – Credit Naval Research Laboratory

Masahiro Arai JN1GKZ has reported that SpinSat is expected to be deployed, using the Cyclops deployment system, from the airlock of the JEM. Successful deployment took place on Friday afternoon, November 28 UT.

Developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) SpinSat is a 56 cm sphere weighing 57 kg that has 12 Electronically-controlled Solid Propellant (ESP) thrusters spread in pairs throughout the surface of the satellite. They will be fired in pairs to spin the spacecraft. With just primary batteries and only 4.8 grams of fuel this phase may last between three to six months.

The spacecraft will be used to calibrate the space surveillance network. Lasers will be fired at SpinSat from the ground, the light reflected back will be measured to determine where in time and space the satellite is passing overhead. SpinSat will also model the density of the atmosphere.

The IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel report that SpinSat carries a 2 watt RF output 9600 bps AX.25 packet radio store and forward system on 437.230 MHz.

SpinSat just before deployment

SpinSat just before deployment

Listen for SpinSat on 437.230 MHz with the SUWS WebSDR located near London

In the first few days after deployment SpinSat’s orbit will be similar to that of the International Space Station. To see when it’s in range use the ISS real-time tracker at http://issfanclub.com/

Read all about SpinSat at

SpinSat after deployment

SpinSat after deployment

NASA – SpinSat

Space Station Integrated Kinetic Launcher for Orbital Payload Systems (SSIKLOPS) – Cyclops

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel http://amsat.org.uk/iaru

SpinSat in orbit

SpinSat in orbit

Ham radio deep space launch postponed

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

The amateur radio spacecraft Shin’en2 and ARTSAT2:DESPATCH will not now launch until December 1 at the earliest.

Shin'en 2

Shin’en 2

The launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) which also carries the asteroid explorer “Hayabusa2″ has been rescheduled due to a freezing layer in the clouds that exceeds weather restrictions for launch.

The new launch day and time will be announced as soon as it is determined after carefully examining the weather conditions.

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH carries a 7 watt CW transmitter on 437.325 MHz and the first sculpture to be carried into deep space.

Shin’en2 has a CW beacon on 437.505 MHz (0.1 watt) and telemetry on 437.385 MHz (0.8 watt) using a mode which Seiji JH6RTO describes as similar to WSJT but not the same.

The Shin’en2 English language Ground Station page mentions WSJT but the equivalent Japanese language page does not.

The Shin’en2 site indicates there is also a F1D digital transponder with an uplink of 145.942 MHz with 435.270 MHz (0.4 watt) downlink.

The two spacecraft will have an elliptic orbit around the Sun and travel to a deep space orbit between Venus and Mars. The inclination will be almost zero, which means the spacecraft should stay in the Earth’s equatorial plane. The distance from the Sun will be between 0.7 and 1.3 AU. An Astronomical Unit (AU) is 149,597,871 km.

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH http://despatch.artsat.jp/en/Main_Page

Shin’en2 http://www.shin-en2.jp/index_E.html

Weather restriction graphic showing clouds with freezing layer

Ham radio launches to deep space

Japanese asteroid mission to carry amateur radio

Thanks to Hideo JH3XCU/1 for posting news of the postponement on the AMSAT Bulletin Board.

Principia Mission Patch

Blue Peter presenter Lindsey, competition winner Troy and UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI with mission patch

Blue Peter presenter Lindsey, competition winner Troy and UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI with mission patch

In partnership with the UK Space Agency, BBC TV’s Blue Peter show asked young people to design a mission patch for UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI and received more than 3000 entries.

Principia Mission Patch

Principia Mission Patch

The judges from the UK Space Agency, Blue Peter and ESA together chose their two favorites in each of the three age groups of 6–8, 9–11 and 12–15 years. Important considerations for deciding on the final six were how a design would look as a patch, the colors used and whether the children drew everything on their own. The selection of the winning design out of the six came down to Tim himself.

The mission name Principia comes from Isaac Newton’s world-changing three-part text on physics, Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing the principal laws of motion and gravity.

The winning entry was by 13-year-old Troy who used an apple to signify Newton’s law of gravity. Fittingly a stylized International Space Station (ISS) glints in the apple. The Soyuz rocket taking Tim into space flies over the UK as the colors of the Union Flag run along the border.

In September Tim Peake KG5BVI learned how to use the Ericsson 144 MHz handheld radio which is installed in the Columbus module of the ISS. On September 18 Tim said “Will be great to chat with schools next year from space using this ham radio on board the ISS.”

UK Space Agency announcement

GB1SS callsign for International Space Station

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

Ofcom discuss Pocket Spacecraft

View of St Pauls from Ofcom office - Credit Michael Johnson M0MJJ

View of St Pauls from Ofcom office – Credit Michael Johnson M0MJJ

On Wednesday, November 26, Michael Johnson M0MJJ discussed the licensing of thousands of Pocket Spacecraft with the UK communications regulator Ofcom.

Pocket Spacecraft

Pocket Spacecraft

The plan is that a 3U CubeSat will carry Pocket Spacecraft known as ‘Scouts’ to the Moon. A ‘Scout’ is a disk with flexible electronics, smaller than a CD, containing a transceiver, antenna and solar cells. The CubeSat should first release a batch of the wafer thin Scout satellites into Earth orbit and then deploy another batch of the Scout satellites into Lunar orbit.

It is understood the mission plans to use the 435 MHz and 2400 MHz bands.

Pocket Spacecraft http://pocketspacecraft.com/

Follow Pocket Spacecraft on Twitter @mySpacecraft

UK radio ham’s Lunar CubeSat to go ahead

BBC: ‘Pocket spacecrafts’ to become a reality

Goonhilly tracking FUNcube

Goonhilly 1 "Arthur" - Credit GES Ltd

Goonhilly 1 “Arthur” – Credit GES Ltd

Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) Ltd are transforming the BT satellite communications site at Goonhilly into a new Space Science centre.

The Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station is located on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. It’s famous for many reasons, but perhaps most notably, for receiving, the first ever trans-Atlantic satellite TV images, broadcast by Telstar, on July 11, 1962. The impressive 25.9m dish called Arthur was used for that historic event.

The Register has published an article by journalist SA Mathieson following a recent visit to the site. This included seeing the AMSAT-UK ground station used to track the satellites FUNcube-1 and UKube-1 which both carry educational payloads developed by radio amateurs from the voluntary satellite organisations AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL. The station comprises an Asus PC with FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Software Defined Radio (SDR) and a turnstile (crossed dipoles) antenna.

SA Mathieson also visited another recent addition to the site, the radome used by the imaging start-up Planet Labs Inc to communicate with its constellation of  “Dove” CubeSats.

Read Suffering satellites! Goonhilly’s ARTHUR REBORN for SPAAAACE

Goonhilly Earth Station http://www.goonhilly.org/

FUNcube Telemetry Receive Antenna System

FUNcube Dongle Pro Plus SDR http://FUNcubeDongle.com/

RSGB Spectrum Forum meeting minutes released

RSGB Colour LogoThe RSGB Spectrum Forum meeting minutes and reports from the annual meeting held on November 1, 2014 are now available.

The Spectrum Forum, chaired by Murray Niman, G6JYB, brings together the RSGB spectrum managers with other stakeholders, including committee chairs, special interest groups and other specialists that share an interest in spectrum management.

Read the minutes and reports at

Spectrum Forum http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/committees/spectrum-forum/

IZ0UDF to lift off to ISS

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF - Credit NASA-Robert Markowitz

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF – Credit NASA-Robert Markowitz

Former fighter pilot Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF is all set for her mission on the International Space Station, the launch will be broadcast live.

ISS Expedition 42 official crew poster

ISS Expedition 42 official crew poster

She will be Italy’s first female astronaut and expects to leave Earth on Sunday, November 23 at 2101 UT from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, also on-board will be Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov. She is expected to arrive at the ISS on Monday, November 24 where she will join crew members Elena Serova, Alexander Samoukutyaev and Barry Wilmore.

Since Alexander Gerst KF5ONO and Reid Wiseman, KF5LKT returned to Earth on November 10 the ISS has been left without any radio amateurs onboard.

On November 24, the Milan based company Accurat plans to launch a website Friends in Space and what they describe as the first social network that extends beyond Earth; a 6 months-long open window to make new friends from all over the world and join astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF @AstroSamantha #Futura42 in her expedition to the International Space Station.

Friends in Space

In this video Samantha explains the story behind her mission name Futura, and recounts the journey to becoming an astronaut

Watch the launch live at

Follow @AstroSamantha at https://twitter.com/AstroSamantha

Download the high resolution (57 MB) Expedition 42 poster from

It has been reported on the GEO Yahoo Group that Soyuz Telemtry/Voice is expected on 143.625 MHz and 121.500 MHz on the European passes at 02:35 and 04:10 UT on Monday, November 24.

International Space Station Briefly “Ham-less” After Crew Members Return to Earth

Astronaut Radio Amateurs http://www.w5rrr.org/astros.html

Happy Birthday, $50SAT/MO-76!

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Friday, November 21, 2014 marked the one year anniversary of the launch of $50SAT/MO-76 PocketQube satellite.

Michael Kirkhart KD8QBA writes:

Our little creation was launched from Dombarovsky Air Base in Russia at 07:01 UT (which was 2:01 AM here in EN82 land) as one of 33 satellites aboard a Dnepr rocket. It was first heard by Jan, PE0SAT, at 08:46 UT, and by Stuart GW7HPW at 09:17 UT, and has been operating continuously ever since!

The $50SAT/MO-76 Dropbox now contains a snapshot of all the telemetry gathered from launch day through November 21, 2014.

$50SAT/MO-76 continues to operate normally, but the battery capacity has been slowly dropping to the point where it barely registers above 3500 mV when passing over EN82 land during daytime (decending) passes. I have been able to capture telemetry while it passes over Anton’s (ZR6AIC) WebSDR station http://zr6aic.giga.co.za:8902/ which is located in South Africa. During ascending passes, which occur between 20:00 and 21:30 UT, $50SAT/MO-76 has just transitioned from being in sunlight to being in eclipse, and the battery voltage is between 3602 and 3642 mV.

Over the life of $50SAT/MO-76, we have observed the following:
The maximum battery voltage was 3824 mV, while the minimum was 3440 mV
The maximum PCB temperature was 25 degrees C, while the minimum was -29 degrees C
The maximum RFM22 temperature was 29 degrees C, while the minimum was -30 degrees C
The maximum MPPT (solar) power was 312.84 mW
The maximum idle (RFM22 off) current was 3 mA, while the minimum was 2 mA
The maximum receive mode current was 31 mA, while the minimum was 21 mA
The maximum transmit mode current was 88 mA, while the minimum was 77 mA

On December 4, 2013, the folks at NORAD and Celestrak (with help from Mike, DK3WN) were able to identify $50SAT/MO-76 as object 2013-066W. At this time, apogee was at 640 km, and perigee was 595 km. As of November 21, 2014, apogee is at 599 km, and perigee is at 565 km. This means the average altitude has decreased by about 36 km. A spreadsheet, along with a graph of the orbital data is available on the $50SAT/MO-76 Dropbox

While we did not have time to demonstrate this at the AMSAT-NA Space Symposium, we now have a working Arduino/RFM22 based groundstation. It utilizes a slightly modified version of the Sparkfun RFM22 Arduino shield https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11018 Additional information, including photos, marked up schematics, and the Arduino sketches, is available (guess where?) on the $50SAT/MO-76 Dropbox.

In addition to the original, receive-only sketch (S50SAT_receiver), there is a new version (S50SAT-Groundstation) which includes transmit capability, which supports all three open uplink commands. Both versions are capable of receiving all GFSK based packets, including the FEC packets.

I have successfully received $50SAT info and FEC packets from about 1200 km slant range with my groundstation using an Advanced Receiver Research P432VDG LNA http://advancedreceiver.com/page5.html with my homebrew 6 element WA5VJB yagi. The LNA is needed to improve the sensitivity of the RFM22, which is about -99 dBm. Since the RFM22 can only output 20 dBm (100 mW) and the minimum EIRP needed to uplink to $50SAT/MO-76 when it is directly overhead is about 36 dBm (4W), either a 16 dB gain antenna, an external linear amplifier, or both will be needed to successfully uplink.

Speaking of uplinking, no one has completed the $50SAT/MO-76 Uplink Challenge. This challenge is open to any licensed amateur radio operator, and the prize for successful completion is (drum roll…) a certificate of technical achievement, signed by all three of the $50SAT/MO-76 developers.

Our thanks to all who has supported us in this project, including all of you telemetry gathers. Please keep the telemetry coming!

Michael Kirkhart KD8QBA
$50SAT/MO-76 team

$50SAT was a collaborative education project between Professor Bob Twiggs, KE6QMD, Morehead State University and three other radio amateurs, Howie DeFelice, AB2S, Michael Kirkhart, KD8QBA, and Stuart Robinson, GW7HPW. The transmitter power is just 100 mW on 437.505 MHz (+/-9 kHz Doppler shift) FM CW/RTTY. $50SAT uses the low cost Hope RFM22B single chip radio and PICAXE 40X2 processor.

There is a discussion group for $50SAT http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/50dollarsat/

50DollarSat http://www.50dollarsat.info/

Ham radio launches to deep space

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH is going to launch on a mission into deep space on November 30, 2014 carring a 7 watt CW transmitter on 437.325 MHz.

It will fly with the asteroid mission Hayabusa 2 and another amateur radio satellite Shin’en 2.

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH will have an elliptic orbit around the Sun and travel to a deep space orbit between Venus and Mars. Its inclination will be almost zero, which means Shin’en 2 will stay in the Earth’s equatorial plane. The distance from the Sun will be between 0.7 and 1.3 AU. An Astronomical Unit (AU) is 149,597,871 km.

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH  Deep Space Sculpture

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH Deep Space Sculpture

The team have released the following information:

1. Despatch CW Format is now available!

Yesterday, we opened a wiki which explains how to join the “Cooperative data reconstruction,” the main mission of Despatch.  In this wiki, you can find the CW format as well as how to report the data you received.

2. Despatch Tracking page is opened!

Since Despatch is injected into an Earth escape trajectory, TLE is unavailable. Instead, we opened a web-page for the spacecraft tracking (both antenna-pointing and receiver-tuning).

Please go to the page and enter your geographic location, and you will get nearby passes and a table with 1 minute steps that gives you AZ, EL, Freaquency, and so on. As the apparent movement and the change of the Doppler shift are slow, manual pointing of the antenna and tuning of the receiver every 10 minutes or so will do.

3. Reception Report page is opened!

We opened a web page in which you can report the data you received.

Thanks in advance and all the best,

Akihiro Kubota, ARTSAT project

Web http://despatch.artsat.jp/en/Main_Page
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/artsat
Twitter https://twitter.com/DESPATCH_ARTSAT

Shin’en2 and Japanese Asteroid Mission

RSGB Youth Committee Chair Announced

Chair of RSGB Youth Committee Mike Jones 2E0MLJ

Chair of RSGB Youth Committee Mike Jones 2E0MLJ

The Radio Society of Great Britain has appointed 17-year-old Mike Jones, 2E0MLJ, as Chair of the RSGB Youth Committee.

Mike was originally licenced as M6TMJ and is currently studying Forensic Science and Criminal Psychology at City College Plymouth. He is a member of the QRZ.com Staff helping on the database forum and is also Younsters On The Air (YOTA) Month Co-Ordinator for the UK.

At the RSGB Convention in October Mike gave an excellent presentation on July’s successful YOTA-UK event held in Wolverhampton which was organised by young people, for young people. As well as Mike 2E0MLJ the YOTA-UK organising committee included Marie-Ann M6UWS, Dax M6DAX, Jenny M6HFA and Rachel M6SOO.

Read the RadCom article on IARU Region 1 YOTA and YOTA-UK at http://www.ham-yota.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/UK%20YOTA%20Report%20from%20RadCom.pdf

Follow YOTA-UK on Twitter @YOTA_UK

2E0MLJ on Twitter @MikeJ1997