UK Space Industry in Guardian Newspaper

Dr Chris Bridges M6OBC / 2E0OBC working on STRaND-1 - Image credit Surrey Space Centre

Dr Chris Bridges M6OBC / 2E0OBC working on STRaND-1 – Image credit Surrey Space Centre

The Guardian interviewed radio amateur Dr. Chris Bridges 2E0OBC for their story on the growing UK space industry.

Chris 2E0OBC worked on the Surrey Space Centre’s STRaND-1 spacecraft which carries an amateur radio payload. The newspaper also interviewed Steve Greenland, Senior Systems Engineer at Clyde Space, who worked on the UKube-1 spacecraft which carries the FUNcube-2 amateur radio transponder.

Read the Guardian article at

Both Steve and Chris have given presentations to the annual AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium, see the videos from 2014 at


UKube-1 transponder test

Video of FUNcube-1 demonstration at IARU-R1 conference

Graham Shirville G3VZV demonstrates FUNcube-1 with Kjetil Toresen LA8KV holding the antenna

Graham Shirville G3VZV demonstrates FUNcube-1 with Kjetil Toresen LA8KV holding the antenna

Riaan Greeff ZS4PR has released a video of the demonstration of the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) CubeSat by Graham Shirville G3VZV to delegates at the IARU Region 1 Conference in September 2014.

Watch the video Graham G3VZV demonstrates FUNcube satellite

Mats SM6EAN has posted a brief report on the Swedish Amateur Radio Society (SSA) website about the FUNcube-1 CubeSat presentation at the IARU Region 1 General Conference in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria.

The following is translated from the original Swedish post.

After the session of the VHF, UHF and Microwave C5 Committee had completed the delegates were given two interesting presentations.

Graham Shirville G3VZV did a poolside demonstration of the FUNcube-1 satellite which was launched in November 2013. Using a computer, FUNcube SDR dongle and a turnstile antenna, held by Kjetil Toresen LA8KV, he received FUNcube-1 and displayed the telemetry data on the computer screen. The satellite’s telemetry beacon on 145.935 MHz was also heard using a handheld SSB receiver.

A presentation was also made about Hamnet which is being expanded, especially in Germany. Hamnet is a high-speed multimedia network and it was discussed whether and how IARU Region 1 could support the expansion of this network.

Post by Mats SM6EAN in Swedish


FUNcube SDR Dongle

FUNcube Yahoo Group

Dashboard App – Telemetry Decoder

Data Warehouse – Telemetry Archive


IARU Region 1 Conference documents and pictures

UK’s Sarah Brightman starts space flight training

Private Spacefarer Sarah Brightman Undergoes Medical Tests

Private Spacefarer Sarah Brightman Undergoes Medical Tests

Sarah Brightman hopes to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 10 day mission on September 1, 2015. If the launch were to take place as expected she would become the UK’s second astronaut, the first was Helen Sharman GB1MIR on May 18, 1991. Tim Peake KG5BVI is expected to launch in November 2015.

The TASS news agency reported that the UK’s Sarah Brightman will start training for her ISS mission in January 2015.

Sarah Brightman will train in Russia’s Star City. “She will arrive here on Wednesday, January 14, and will start her training the following day,” the press service of the space training facility told TASS. UPDATE: start of training was postponed until January 19.

Her flight is scheduled for September 1-11, 2015 and she is expected to spend 10 days at the ISS.

Sarah Brightman is paying $52 million for the flight considerably more than the $20 million that Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari paid for her mission to the ISS in 2006, highlighting the dramatic escalation in launch charges in recent years.

Sarah Brightman - DreamchaserSarah started her singing career in the 1970’s and had hits such as “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper” and “Love in a UFO”. She is now a classical crossover artist.

In 2012 in conjunction with Virgin Galactic, The Brightman STEM Scholarship program (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) was launched to help young women in the US pursue STEM education across their four year college careers.

Her album, “Dreamchaser” was released on January 22, 2013. She said “I don’t think of myself as a dreamer. Rather, I am a dream chaser, I hope that I can encourage others to take inspiration from my journey both to chase down their own dreams and to help fulfill the important UNESCO mandate to promote peace and sustainable development on Earth and from space. I am determined that this journey can reach out to be a force for good, a catalyst for some of the dreams and aims of others that resonate with me.” She intends to become the first professional musician to sing from space.

It is not yet known if she will make any amateur radio contacts while on the ISS. In 1991 the first UK astronaut Helen Sharman was issued with a special callsign GB1MIR by the Radiocommunications Division of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). She was then able to contact radio amateurs on Earth during her stay on the MIR space station. The RSGB has reported that the UK communications regulator Ofcom will make the callsign GB1SS available for issue to UK astronauts who wish to operate from the ISS.

Read the TASS story at

You can sign up to receive updates on Sarah’s mission at

Wiki – Sarah Brightman

Space Adventures

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

OGMS-SA CubeSat to provide FM transponder

OGMS-SA CubeSat - Paris-Est Creteil University

OGMS-SA CubeSat – Paris-Est Creteil University

OGMS-SA is a 3U CubeSat being developed by students at the Paris-Est Creteil University as part of the QB50 constellation.

The purposes of this CubeSat include upper atmosphere science; radio communication experiments; technology demonstrator; education, training and outreach.

Additionally it will provide an FM voice transponder for amateur use.

Planning to use VHF uplink and UHF downlink with 9k6 FX25 GMSK modulation. A downlink of 437.545 MHz has been coordinated.


Source IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination

QB50 CubeSat Launch Contract Signed

Shin’en2 spacecraft designated as Fuji Oscar 82

Shin'en2 on left - ARTSAT2:DESPATCH on right

Shin’en2 (FO-82) on left – ARTSAT2:DESPATCH (FO-81) on right

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO, OSCAR Number Administrator has conferred on Shin’en2 the designation Fuji OSCAR-82 or FO-82.

Shin'en 2 (FO-82) also known as Abyss 2

Shin’en 2 (FO-82) also known as Abyss 2

In reply to Seiji Fukushima’s, JH6RTO, request for an OSCAR number, Bill said, “I along with all in AMSAT-NA and the world’s Amateur Radio satellite community congratulate you and all involved with Fuji OSCAR-82 and trust that it will fulfill all of its mission objectives. FO-82 joins an illustrious line of Fuji spacecraft built and launched by Japan.”

Shin’en2 is a 17 kg satellite measuring 490×490×475 mm built by students at Kagoshima University in Japan. The aims of the mission were:
• To establish communication technologies with a long range
• To establish a new technology of the ultra-light-weight satellite with UHF downlinks

The orbit is quite different from the previous satellites. Shin’en2 headed to a deep space orbit between Venus and Mars. The inclination is almost zero, which means it 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.

Shin’en2 IARU coordinated frequencies listed as:
• 437.505 MHz CW beacon
• 437.385 MHz Telemetry

Shin’en2 launched in the 4th quarter of 2014 with another amateur radio satellite, ARTSAT2:DESPATCH, on a H-IIA rocket with the asteroid explorer Hayabusa 2 as the main payload.

Kagoshima University satellite development team

Shin’en2 English website

Shin’en2 project website

Japanese Asteroid Mission To Carry Amateur Radio

OSCAR Numbers Policy

Thanks to AMSAT News Service (ANS)

Jan 15 Talk – A Beginners Guide to Amateur Satellites

David Bowman G0MRF giving one of his popular FUNcube satellite presentations

David Bowman G0MRF giving a previous FUNcube talk at the Sutton & Cheam Radio Society

David Bowman G0MRF will be giving a presentation titled ‘A Beginners Guide to Amateur Satellites’ at the Sutton & Cheam Radio Society (SCRS) on Thursday, January 15 at 8 pm, visitors are welcome.

The SCRS newsletter says:

Last February, we had an excellent and well-attended talk by David Bowman – GØMRF on the topic of ‘The FUNcube Satellite Project’. The technology of satellite communication seems to have caught the interest of many of our members, but what has been missing at our meetings so far has been an illustrated talk on the basics of getting started.

David will be paying us a return visit on Thursday 15th January with a talk entitled ‘A Beginners Guide to Amateur Satellites’. This will cover the development of amateur satellite communications along with plenty of information on the necessary equipment to get started and the techniques employed.

Some amateur satellite operators have extremely sophisticated and no doubt expensive station set-ups,
however, it is possible to start off at a very basic level. All will be revealed at this meeting.

It’s always good to see a good turn-out of members and visitors at our meetings, so hopefully we can ‘kickoff’ 2015 with a packed clubroom. See you all on Thursday 15th.

John – GØBWV

The meeting will be held in the Vice Presidents’ Lounge, Sutton United Football Club, The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 2EY at 7:30 pm for 8:00 pm.


Sutton & Cheam Amateur Radio Society

Download the Powerpoint slides A_beginners_guide_ to_amateur_radio_satellites

FUNcube-2 on UKube-1 – January 2015 Update

UKube-1 in flight configuration in the cleanroom at Clyde Space Ltd - Credit Steve Greenland

UKube-1 in flight configuration in the cleanroom at Clyde Space Ltd – Credit Steve Greenland

Limited testing of the FUNcube-2 435/145 MHz linear transponder on the UKube-1 spacecraft has been undertaken during the recent holiday period.

This testing has shown that the transponder is able to work effectively and that it is capable of a similar performance to the transponder already operating on FUNcube-1.

AMSAT-UK and the FUNcube team have now submitted a detailed report on the testing to the UK Space Agency, who are the owners and prime operators of the UKube-1 spacecraft. It is expected that a meeting will be held with them late January or early February to plan possible future testing and operations.

Reception of UKube-1 FUNcube-2 Beacon

DESPATCH Ground Station Operations End

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

Tama Art University Ground Station has decided to conclude attempts to receive the ARTSAT2:DESPATCH spacecraft, amateur radio callsign JQ1ZNN.

One month has past since Deep Space Sculpture “ARTSAT2:DESPATCH(FO-81)” was put into an Earth-escape orbit as a piggyback payload of H-IIA F26 launched at December 3, 2014 from Tanegashima Space Center, JAXA. It is estimated to have stopped sending radio waves since the battery of DESPATCH already ran out (We predicted that the battery will work for 27 days according to the running time of the transmitter).

Shin'en2 on left - ARTSAT2:DESPATCH on right

Shin’en2 on left – ARTSAT2:DESPATCH on right

Today January 3, 2015, the main control station, Tama Art University Ground Station, decided to conclude the operation of DESPATCH. Many people supported and cooperated us throughout the design and development of DESPATCH. In addition, many excellent many ham radio operator received and reported super weak  radio waves of DESPATCH from deep space. To have this opportunity, I would like once again to thank all of them very much.

Reception reports of DESPATCH are summarized on the following page.

Finally, we had two reception reports at 4.7 million kilo-meters from the Earth  (more than 12 times of the distance to the Moon). They were far beyond what we expected. They are the the longest communication distance in the world between two amateur radio stations.

Orbital elements of DESPATCH is as follows (J2000 heliocentric ecliptic coordinates).

– Semi-major axis a : 1.003881127 [AU]
– Eccentricity e : 0.08741828512
– Inclination  i : 6.796995362 [deg]
– Argument of perihelion w : 96.90057903 [deg]
– Longitude of the ascending node W : 250.5520871 [deg]
– Mean anomaly at epoch  M : 101.6280436 [deg]
– Epoch  : 2457023.50000 [JD]
(Time of perihelion :  2456919.7870655278675 [JD])

cf. Orbital elements of EARTH :

Celestial sphere position and orbital trajectory of DESPATCH can be checked anytime on the following web pages.

– Celestial Sphere

– Orbital Position

Transmission of the radio wave from DESPATCH has ended. However, the life of DESPATCH as a sculpture around the sun is almost eternal. We calculated the orbit (the distance from the Earth) of DESPATCH for 500 years from now.

DESPATCH will continue to orbit around the sun as an artificial asteroid. By examining the calculated results for the local minimum value of the distance between the Earth, DESPATCH will approaches to less than 1 million km from Earth after about 350 years. Possibly it will approach more closer to the Earth due to the interaction with unpredictable other celestial bodies.

We are glad if you think of DESPATCH as the most distant artwork in the world sometimes in the future.

ARTSAT project will continue to the future. We already started the conceptual design of next ARTSAT3. We kindly ask for your continuous support and cooperation for the project.

January 3, 2014
ARTSAT Project

Ham radio spacecraft launched into deep space

Australian radio hams plan winged spacecraft

CAD image of ThunderStruck above the Earth by Jason VK2FJAB

CAD image of ThunderStruck above the Earth by Jason VK2FJAB

The WIA highlights an ABC news story about the spacecraft being developed by radio amateurs Robert Brand VK2URB and his 12-year-old son Jason VK2FJAB.

The WIA news report says:

An Australian man and his 12-year-old son are hoping to make history with the development of the smallest spacecraft able to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and land safely.

Robert Brand VK2URB is the developer of the craft, named ThunderStruck, a small winged re-entry vehicle capable of leaving Earth’s orbit and flying around the solar system, at least as far as Mars or the near-Earth asteroids.

What makes ThunderStruck unique was that it could fly up and back for basic experiments without going into orbit or it could fly into orbit on board a rocket then re-enter, something that was not being done anywhere else.

Robert Brand VK2URB at a recent Lodon space conference

Robert Brand VK2URB at a recent London space conference

Project ThunderStruck has the backing of Australian government bodies and universities and is on the cards to be a fully working spaceship in about five years.

Another unique aspect of Project ThunderStruck would be the involvement of Mr Brand’s 12-year-old son Jason VK2FJAB in the first phase of testing, scheduled for April, the transonic testing phase would attempt to test the 2.5-metre craft at speeds close to Mach 2, faster than the speed of sound.

Mr Brand said his son worked with him releasing and bringing back high-altitude balloons from the stratosphere and had considerable expertise in space technology, in spite of his young age.

Mr Brand said if the project came together it would be unique and give Australia a much-needed boost in space development

Read the full ABC story at

Project ThunderStruck

Using the RTL-SDR dongle to detect meteors

Combined SDR# and Spectrum Lab Display - Dr David Morgan 2W0CXV

Combined SDR# and Spectrum Lab Display – Dr David Morgan 2W0CXV

A new paper has been released by Dr David Morgan 2W0CXV on using the RTL2841 DVB TV Dongle as a SDR processor with SpectrumLab.

The paper Techniques for using the RTL Dongle for Detecting Meteors covers the setting up and use of the dongle to receive meteor pings from the Graves Radar on 143.050 MHz.

It can be downloaded from the Meteor Detection Projects page of the BAA-RAG website

Join the BAA-RAG Yahoo Group at

Download the free publication RAGazine from