CPUT planning successor to Africa’s first nanosatellite

ZACube-2 Conceptual Layout

ZACube-2 Conceptual Layout

Following on the successes of ZACube-1, a.k.a. TshepisoSat, ZACube-2 is the second instalment in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) F’SATI mission series.

The satellite will serve as technology demonstrator for essential subsystems and form the basis on which an innovative Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform will be developed as primary payload. The SDR is highly flexible to address a wide range of communication needs and will be a test bed to validate vessel detection. Additionally, the satellite will feature a medium resolution imager as secondary payload to demonstrate the feasibility of future remote sensing applications such as ocean colour monitoring and large fire tracking.

This paper details the conceptual design and highlights the choices made around the proposed development

Read the recent article by Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV in EngineerIT magazine at

Southern African Amateur Radio Satellite Association (SA AMSAT) http://www.amsatsa.org.za/

UK NanoSat Weekend

The Catapult PocketQubeWould you like to build your own satellite?

Would you like to do that in a single weekend…and fly it too?

The Satellite Applications Catapult has developed a build-your-own satellite kit. Over the course of a weekend you will assemble, test and program your own satellite, your results will then be tested by flying the kits on a weather balloon!

The free event takes place the weekend of Sep 26-27, 2015 at the Satellite Applications Catapult, Electron Building, Fermi Avenue, Harwell, Didcot, Oxford, OX11 0QR.

The NanoSat design includes some basic sensors: temperature, light, orientation. Satellite Applications Catapult are also providing a basic camera for image capture. This is your chance to get hands-on with the code to operate these devices that will give you the experience of working with modern embedded systems.

By the end of the weekend, you will have an understanding of the principles of how a typical satellite works; from the basic avionics systems to the operation of an on-orbit instrument.

Participants should be familiar with basic programming skills in C, ideally on the Arduino platform. If you’ve ever wired up a simple experiment or experimented with Arduinos, Raspberry Pis or mbeds, you’ll be fine.

Registration requires you to submit a team of four. Individuals can also register, but you’ll be entered into a team on the day.

Registration and FAQ at https://sa.catapult.org.uk/nanosat-weekend
also see https://sa.catapult.org.uk/-/nanosat-weekend

Chris Brunskill of Satellite Applications Catapult gave a presentation to the 2015 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium.

Watch The Satellite Applications Catapult PocketQube Kit

Follow Chris on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chrisbrunskill

Danish CubeSats head for ISS

GomX-3 being built - Credit ESA

GomX-3 being built – Credit ESA

Two CubeSats built in Denmark, GomX-3 and AAUSat-5, are on their way to the International Space Station.

Danish Astronaut Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ and Murray Niman G6JYB

Danish Astronaut Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ and Murray Niman G6JYB

Japan’s fifth H-II Transfer Vehicle blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center on Wednesday, August 19 at 1150 UT. The HTV-5 is expected to arrive at the ISS on August 24 and the CubeSats will be unloaded for later deployment.

The 3 Unit CubeSat GomX-3 is part of the outreach programme for the visit of the Danish astronaut, Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ @Astro_Andreas, to the ISS. His Soyuz spacecraft is expected to launch on September 2. The project is supported and coordinated with ESA and the Danish Ministry of Science and Education.

A number of outreach activities are being planned that will involve schools, radio amateur societies and social media both during the astronaut mission and continuing with the CubeSat mission. The IARU have coordinated 437.250 MHz for the 1k2-9k6 bps beacon.

AAUSat-5 and Deployer - Credit ESA

AAUSat-5 and Deployer – Credit ESA

AAUsat-5 is a 1 Unit CubeSat built by students at Aalborg University. The primary mission is to test an improved receiver for detecting Automatic Identification System signals emitted by ships. Down on the ground, these signals are short-range, operating mainly on a ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship basis, leaving large spans of the world’s oceans uncovered. But signals also travel up to orbital altitude, opening up the prospect of worldwide monitoring. The IARU have coordinated 437.425 MHz for the GMSK beacon.

It is planned the CubeSats will be deployed by Andreas KG5GCZ after his arrival at the ISS in September. Once deployed the two spacecraft may have a lifetime of around 6-9 months before they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Andreas attended the 2009 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford.

Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ http://andreasmogensen.esa.int/

IARU coordinated satellite frequencies information is at http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/iaru/finished.php

Related ESA stories:

Activation of linear transponder on EO-79

QB50p1 and QB50p2 - Image Credit ISIS

QB50p1 and QB50p2 – Image Credit ISIS

The AMSAT-NL transponder on EO-79 is being activated to support the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board Wouter PA3WEG posted:

We apologize for the short notice, this opportunity came along very last minute, and again we took it.

QB50p1 (EO-79) carries the FUNcube-3 400 mW inverting linear 435/145 MHz SSB/CW transponder provided by AMSAT-NL with support from AMSAT-UK.

• 435.035-435.065 MHz LSB Uplink
• 145.935-145.965 MHz USB Downlink

TLEs are NORAD # 40025, COSPAR designator 2014-033-R

Remember that the FUNcube family of transponders do not need much power to work them.

I will be operating at Scheveningen Lighthouse PA25SCH, NL0025

Thanks to the Von Karman Institute and Innovative Solution In Space for the opportunity to use the transponder.

Have FUN over the weekend!

Wouter PA3WEG

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW)

Small satellites: Possible future WRC agenda item

Logo WRC RA 2015The CEPT CPG-PTA-8 meeting in Catania, Sicily, July 21-24, discussed a number of issues related to WRC-15 among them a paper submitted by The Netherlands – Small satellites: further aspects for the development of a future agenda item.

The paper’s summary says:

Following proposals from 12 CEPT members, WRC12 decided to place the subject of nanosatellites and picosatellites on the WRC19 agenda for adoption at WRC15.

Since then a growing number of small satellites, launched year on year has been recorded, and a growing number of diverse applications has been implemented ranging from technology demonstration and research to Earth observation. The applications of these small satellites vary widely, but all of these satellites have one common need which is Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C). Providing for proper TT&C will allow positive satellite control at all times, and, when combined with ranging capability, may provide for orbit determination as well which in turn can aid in the tracking of space objects.

At this moment, the study work under the related agenda item 9, issue 9.1.8 which deals with regulatory aspects for nanosatellites and picosatellites is finished. The studies have indicated a number of difficulties in the application of the Radio Regulations. These difficulties, however, do not justify a change of Articles 9 and 11.

Considering that most bands currently used for satellite telemetry and command such as the 2200-2290MHz SRS/SOS/EESS allocation are heavily crowded, the growth in numbers of small satellites launched offers new challenges which were not faced before. Therefore, the proposal for AI 10 is to invite ITU-R in the forthcoming study period to identify additional allocations to the space operation service (SOS) within the 137MHz-960MHz range. This frequency range is particularly suitable for small satellites since it offers favourable propagation characteristics while allowing moderately complex antenna systems and antenna pointing requirements on board the satellite.

CPG-PTA-8 meeting in Catania, Sicily, July 21-24, 2015

To download the meeting documents:
• Go to http://www.cept.org/ecc/groups/ecc/cpg/cpg-pt-a/client/meeting-documents
• Click on 2015
• Click on 8th CPG PTA Meeting – 21-24 July – Sicily
• Click Input Contributions and Goto table
• Tick documents
• Click on Minutes and Annexes and Goto table
• Tick documents
• Do same for Annex IV – Draft Briefs, Annex V – Draft ECPs, Annex VI – misc
• Click the Download selected button

Frequencies Announced for Nayif-1 CubeSat

Deputy project manager of Nayif-1 Fatma Lootah

Deputy project manager of Nayif-1 Fatma Lootah

Nayif-1 is an educational single CubeSat project with the goal of providing an actual space project for Emirati University students. Additionally it is intended to enthuse and educate young people about radio, space physics and electronics.

The 1U CubeSat is a collaboration between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center and the American University of Sharjah both in the United Arab Emirates.

Nayif-1 - Credit Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre

Nayif-1 – Credit Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre

The spacecraft will only require simple ground station antennas and an SDR dongle receiver. This will make it uncomplicated for schools and colleges to use with their students.

It is anticipated Nayif-1 will be launched into an elliptical, sun synchronous, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) about 400 by 750 km. In such an orbit the satellite passes over the Emirates at least twice a day. This would allow the morning passes to be used for educational purposes and the evening passes for Amateur Radio communications.

The student team will develop and operate a special ground station for this spacecraft. They will also be developing a unique “Dashboard” to display the received telemetry data and greetings messages in Arabic.

Nayif-1 will incorporate a novel autonomous attitude determination and control system. This will be the first flight of this system. Additionally it will carry a UHF to VHF linear transponder that will have up to 0.5 watt output and which can be used by Radio Amateurs worldwide for SSB and CW communications.

A launch is planned for late 2015 on a SpaceX Falcoln 9.

IARU coordinated frequencies for NAYIF-1:
• 145.940 MHz 1200 bps BPSK FUNcube beacon
• 500 mW inverting SSB/CW linear transponder
– 435.045-435.015 MHz Uplink
– 145.960-145.990 MHz Downlink

Follow Nayif-1 on Twitter https://twitter.com/Nayifone

Nayif-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/nayif-1/

HD videos of AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium

Dr Chris Bridges 2E0OBC of the Surrey Space Centre - Credit DK3WN

Dr Chris Bridges 2E0OBC of the Surrey Space Centre – Credit DK3WN

High-definition videos of presentations given at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium 2015 are now available on YouTube.

The colloquium took place July 25-26 in Guildford and attracted attendees from Europe, the USA, Middle East and Japan.

Thanks to the cooperation between the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) and AMSAT-UK, over 6 hours of presentations from the 2015 Colloquium are now available to view on the AMSAT-UK YouTube account.

Videos from the 2014 Colloquium are also available on the site.

See the AMSAT-UK YouTube Playlists

YouTube https://youtube.com/AmsatUK

BATC http://batc.org.uk/

FUNcube Certificate of Achievement and QSL Card

FUNcube Certificate of Achievement

FUNcube Certificate of Achievement

As announced at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium 2015, a ‘Certificate of Achievement’ and/or an amateur radio style ‘QSL’ card are now available online. Only those who have successfully received telemetry from FUNcube-1 and uploaded it to the Data Warehouse are able to download these documents.

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) – Credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

The Certificate of Achievement is aimed at educational establishments such as schools, and the QSL card at radio amateurs who would like confirmation of their report. However, station operators are welcome to download both if they wish.

Each is personalised with the callsign/name which has been previously registered with the Warehouse, and the date and time of the first packet to be uploaded by the requesting station is also added.

Download your Certificate or QSL card from http://amsatuk.me.uk/on/funcube_qsl.php

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) Telemetry:
• Dashboard App http://funcube.org.uk/working-documents/funcube-telemetry-dashboard/
• Data Warehouse Archive http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/
• Whole orbit data http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/wod.html?satelliteId=2

BBC News video about FUNcube-1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25084547

FUNcube website http://www.FUNcube.org.uk/

FUNcube Yahoo Group http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

Dr Helen Walker – UKube-1 presentation video

Dr Helen Walker at the AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium - Credit DK3WN

Dr Helen Walker at the AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium – Credit DK3WN

AMSAT-UK was privileged to have a presentation about the UKube-1 spacecraft by Dr Helen Walker of RAL Space at the International Space Colloquium held in Guildford, July 24-26.

Helen is an astronomer, working in the Satellite Operations Group at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. She has around thirty years experience of working with astronomical satellites, both as researcher and planning specialist.

For five years she helped ESA plan science observations on the Mars Express satellite since then has worked with the four Cluster satellites. She is Test Team Leader for the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) which will fly on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Her research interests focus on planets, and the material around stars which might form planets.

Helen is Mission Manager for the UKube-1 CubeSat which was launched on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 1558 UT from Pad 31/6 at Baikonur in Kazakhstan. It carries a 145.840 MHz beacon and a set of AMSAT-UK FUNcube boards which provide an educational beacon on 145.915 MHz for use by schools and a 435/145 MHz linear transponder for amateur radio SSB/CW communications.

Watch UKube-1: technology, mission and operations – Dr Helen Walker

The presentation slides are available here

UKube-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/ukube-1/

Dr Helen Walker on Twitter @SheAstronomer

She is an astronomer http://www.sheisanastronomer.org/index.php/profiles/europe/helenwalker

Dr Helen Walker was kept busy answering questions after her presentation

Dr Helen Walker was kept busy answering questions after her presentation

New UK CubeSat Regulations Proposed

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

The UK Space Agency has conducted a review to evaluate how its regulatory approach might be tailored for CubeSat systems, they require responses to the proposals by September 1.

The UK’s Outer Space Act 1986 places a significant burden on small educational satellites such as CubeSats and other formats with the builders facing charges of up to £65,000 each year for insurance. These charges stop educational organisations building and launching CubeSats putting the UK at a significant disadvantage.

The UK Space Agency says:

Recognising the common aspects of such missions, there is an opportunity for the UK Space Agency to exploit a range of pre-determined technical assessments and associated likely regulatory outcomes for a range of likely CubeSat systems, presented in the form of a traffic light system.

The outcome of the internal review conducted by the UK Space Agency is a series of recommendations. The UK Space Agency invites responses from the space community on these proposals.

Comments on the recommendations and associated observations/suggestions relating to the regulation of CubeSats should be sent to Ryan King (ryan.king@ukspaceagency.bis.gsi.gov.uk) by September 1, 2015.

Submissions will be duly considered by the UK Space Agency and reflected accordingly in future implementation plans to address the regulation of CubeSats.

The two documents can be downloaded from

It is suggested those in the UK with an interest in small satellites, be it CubeSat, PocketQube or the other formats, provide feedback to Ryan King to help ensure the future regulatory environment does not place any undue restrictions on small satellite developers.

See the UK CubeSat Forum at http://www.cubesatforum.org.uk/