ISS AggieSat4 Satellite Deployment

Simulation of AggieSat4 on orbit - Credit Andrew Shell

Simulation of AggieSat4 on orbit – Credit Andrew Shell

The AggieSat4 satellite carrying the Bevo-2 CubeSat is expected to be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) on January 29, both have amateur radio payloads.

Below is a timelapse of the build process of the Texas A&M student-built satellite, AggieSat4. The video spans an entire year, the amount of time it took to build AGS4, however many more years were put into the design and programming of AGS4 before any hardware was assembled.

AggieSat4 was launched aboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus OA-4 cargo resupply mission. The Cygnus spacecraft was mounted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that took the Cygnus from the Kennedy Space Center up into Low Earth Orbit on December 6 at 4:44pm EST.

AGS4 is planned to release from the ISS on January 29 and will then proceed to eject the University of Texas CubeSat, Bevo-2 and perform relative navigation tasks as well as take pictures of the release of Bevo-2.

The IARU has coordinated these frequencies for the amateur radio payloads:
AggieSat4 436.250 MHz 9k6 FSK telemetry (also 153.6 kbps FSK)
Bevo-2 437.325 MHz CW and 38k4 FSK

Watch AggieSat4 Build Process Timelapse – LONESTAR 2

The AggieSat4 team request that any amateur radio enthusiasts receiving the beacons sends any data to aggiesat@tamu.edu it would be much appreciated!

AggieSat4 information
https://twitter.com/aggiesat
https://www.facebook.com/AggieSatLab
http://aggiesatweb.tamu.edu/index.php/projects/lab_projects/aggiesat4
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v8razh1evcabt7a/jrGSjbOJb4

Bevo-2 information
https://www.facebook.com/UTSatLab
https://www.ae.utexas.edu/news/features/bevo-2-satellite-sdl

AggieSat4 reception reports http://www.dk3wn.info/p/?cat=313

Another EO-79 Transponder Activation

EO-79 Passband - Credit Jan van Gils PE0SAT

EO-79 Passband – Credit Jan van Gils PE0SAT

The EO-79 CubeSat SSB/CW transponder will be active from Monday, December 28 until Thursday, December 31.

The first activation has shown the transponder uplink is about 12 kHz higher than expected. The suggested frequencies to try are now:
Uplink: 435.047-435.077 MHz LSB
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz USB

EO-79 and EO-80 - Image Credit ISIS

EO-79 and EO-80 – Image Credit ISIS

The team has seen that activating the transponder makes the satellite power negative, meaning the solar arrays cannot generate enough power to keep the transponder running permanently. This is not unexpected as the satellite is operating in a different mode than originally anticipated during the design phase.

The team are discussing various ways to solve this, including multiple ways of scheduling the transponder operations. With these discussions ongoing we would still like to try the second activation and obtain some more data about the system. The team aim to activate the transponder for as much time as the power budget allows, but please be aware that you may find the transponder to be off while the batteries recharge.

EO-79 has been set to only beacon the normal AX.25 beacon every 30 seconds instead of 10 seconds. The beacon frequency is 145.815 MHz and consists of AX.25 frames on BPSK. More details about the downlink can be found on the ISIS Ham Radio page at http://isispace.nl/HAM/qb50p.html

We kindly request you to share your experiences with the AMSAT Bulletin Board so everyone can benefit from operating tips and tricks, as well as being up-to-date on the status.

We would also welcome any observation related to the transponder behaviour when the AX.25 beacon comes on.

Just like FUNcube-1, the crystal oscillator circuits exhibit drift with temperature. This means manual tuning will probably work best.

Graham Shirville G3VZV says that due to platform sharing considerations the FUNcube transponder on EO-79 uses 1/4 wave monopole antennas rather than the full dipoles used on AO-73. The actual effects of this difference in practice may be interesting to observe.

TLEs:
AMSAT keps name: EO-79
Celestrak keps name: QB50P1
Celestrak file: cubesat.txt
NORAD #  40025
COSPAR designator: 2014-033-R

SatPC32 tracking software Doppler SQF information used by Peter VK4NBL:
EO-79,145950,435063,USB,LSB,REV,0,0
EO-79,145814.8,435070,CW,TELEMETRY,0,0

PE0SAT http://www.pe0sat.vgnet.nl/
https://www.facebook.com/pe0sat/
https://twitter.com/pe0sat

Real-time track of EO-79 (QB50p1) http://www.n2yo.com/?s=40025&df=1

Satellite Tracking http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/

AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb

AO-73 in continuous transponder mode

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

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

The amateur radio satellite AO-73 will be operating in continuous transponder mode throughout the festive season until the evening of Sunday, January 3.

Why not take full advantage of this activation and get your 73 on 73 Award, details at http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) website http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-website/

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

EO-79 transponder activation

EO-79 and EO-80 - Image Credit ISIS

EO-79 and EO-80 – Image Credit ISIS

On December 21, 2015 at 1038 UT, the EO-79 transponder was turned on for a prolonged period.

The FUNcube transponder subsystem on QB50p1 (EO-79) had been provided by AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL and is a similar subsystem as on FUNcube-1, but without the telemetry downlink circuitry.

The current software running on EO-79 does experience occasional reboots. When these reboots happen, the transponder is automatically turned off and will have to be turned back on by a command station. The FUNcube team has selected a few command stations to do so, but be advised the transponder may be off.

TLEs:
AMSAT keps name: EO-79
Celestrak keps Name: QB50P1
Celestrak file: cubesat.txt
NORAD #    40025
COSPAR designator    2014-033-R

Frequencies:
*Uplink:* 435.035-435.065 MHz LSB [See note below]
*Downlink:* 145.935-145.965 MHz USB

EO-79 has been set to only beacon the normal AX.25 beacon every 30 seconds instead of 10 seconds. The beacon frequency is 145.815 MHz and consists of AX.25 frames on BPSK. More details about the downlink can be found on the ISIS Ham Radio page at http://isispace.nl/HAM/qb50p.html

We kindly request you to share your experiences with the AMSAT Bulletin Board so everyone can benefit from operating tips and tricks, as well as being up-to-date on the status.

We would also welcome any observation related to the transponder behaviour when the AX.25 beacon comes on.

Just like FUNcube-1, the crystal oscillator circuits exhibit drift with temperature. This means manual tuning will probably work best.

Lastly, the commanding team will not be available over Christmas, so the current activations are planned from today until Thursday 24th and from Monday 28th until Thursday 31st

73 and have FUN
Happy Holidays

Wouter Weggelaar, PA3WEG
AMSAT-NL
AMSAT-UK

Mike Seguin N1JEZ notes:  I found my downlink after setting my uplink +12 kHz from published spec

SatPC32 tracking software Doppler SQF information used by Peter VK4NBL:
EO-79,145950,435063,USB,LSB,REV,0,0
EO-79,145814.8,435070,CW,TELEMETRY,0,0

Graham Shirville G3VZV says that due to platform sharing considerations the FUNcube transponder on EO-79 uses 1/4 wave monopole antennas rather than the full dipoles used on AO-73. The actual effects of this difference in practice may be interesting to observe.

AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb

Satellite Tracking http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/

SME-SAT video

SME-SAT - Surrey Space Centre

SME-SAT – Surrey Space Centre

The Surrey Space Centre in Guildford has released a ‘Softstack’ Integration time-lapse video of the SME-SAT CubeSat.

The mission objectives are:
A: Outreach – The satellite will provide beacons for which amateur satellite users and ham radio users will be able to receive.
B: Space qualification and performance characterisation of sensors.
• High performance COTS Gyroscopes (x3).
• High precision MEMS accelerometers.
• 2 Aperture Star Camera, At a later point in the mission these will be used in conjunction with the ADCS to characterise the closed loop performance of the sensors.
C: Performance characterisation of Nano-Control Moment Gyros (CMGs) for agility. The mission is equipped with 4-Nano-CMGs in a pyramid configuration for ADCS. This part of the mission will evaluate the performance of this system on the ADCS and agility of the satellite.
D: Space qualification and performance characterisation of the EPS The EPS for this mission has heritage from the Delfi-C3 and other missions and includes additional improvements to be demonstrated on this mission.
E: Smart Thermal Radiation Devices (STRD tiles) SME-SAT is equipped with a number of STRD tiles on the outside faces of the satellite for passive thermal management of the internal structure.
F: Flux Gate Magnetometer The mission contains a scientific grade miniaturized flux gate magnetometer that sits on the end of a deployable boom to improve the performance of the sensor. This payload will be switched into the ADCS for evaluation of performance during parts of the mission but is not the primary magnetometer for ADCS.
G: GPS SME-SAT also contains an experimental GPS system that will be switched into the ADCS loop at stages in the orbit to evaluate the performance of the system.

The IARU coordinated frequency for the satellite’s 9k6 RC-BPSK AX.25 downlink is 437.150 MHz.

Watch SMESAT CubeSat ‘Softstack’ Integration at Surrey Space Centre (Time Lapse)

More information here
http://www.surrey.ac.uk/ssc/research/onboarddata/smesat/index.htm

AO-85 Slow Scan TV

Fox-1A / AO-85 SSTV image received by Roland PY4ZBZ

Fox-1A / AO-85 SSTV image received by Roland PY4ZBZ

On Sunday, December 13, Roland Zurmely PY4ZBZ received a Slow Scan TV (SSTV) image which had been uplinked to the amateur radio CubeSat Fox-1A / AO-85.

Roland says he was not prepared and the antenna was misguided but even so he managed to receive a recognizable image.

AO-85 was launched October 8, 2015 and transmits 5 kHz deviation FM on around 145.980/.975 MHz.

In the UK amateur radio transceivers are set to default to narrow FM filters (2.5 kHz deviation). If possible you should select your radio’s wider FM filter designed for 25 kHz channel spacing.

AO-85 information http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/ao-85-fox-1a/

Hints on how to receive Slow Scan TV from space are at
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/iss-sstv/

Roland PZ4ZBZ http://www.qsl.net/py4zbz/fox.htmhttp://www.qsl.net/py4zbz/fox.htm

More 73 on 73 Awards Issued

First 73 on 73 Award issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA

First 73 on 73 Award issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA

Paul Stoetzer N8HM reports more awards have been issued for contacts made via the AO-73 (FUNcube-1) amateur radio satellite.

The 73 on 73 Award aims to promote activity on AO-73. The requirements are straight-forward:

1. Work 73 unique stations on AO-73.
2. Contacts must be made on or after September 1, 2014.
3. There are no geographic restrictions on your operating location.

The latest recipients are:
20. David D’Aliesio IW0HLG – 31 May 2015
21. Kiyosi Hasegawa JA3FWT – 22 June 2015
22. Mariusz Kocot SQ9MES – 28 June 2015
23. Hector Luis Martinez W5CBF – 12 July 2015
24. George K. Carr II WA5KBH – 17 July 2015
25. Michel Ribot F6GLJ – 18 July 2015
26. Paul Stoetzer N8HM – 21 July 2015
27. Jeffrey Lamb NX9B – 2 August 2015
28. Imre Füzi HA1SE – 13 September 2015
29. Herman Blom PB0AHX – 1 November 2015
30. Joseba Andoni Barrio – 22 November 2015

Full information on how to apply is at http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

Second Birthday of FUNcube-1

FUNcube-1 flight model - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

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

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) was launched into space two years ago on November 21, 2013.

We are delighted to be able to report that more than 900 stations, including many schools around the world, have received the telemetry from the spacecraft since launch. Our Data Warehouse is storing more than 750 MB of data from almost 1 million data packets. We are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing to the success of this mission. Please continue to keep the data flowing as it will provide a valuable resource for students in the future.

The stats continue – speeding along at around 17,500 mph, FUNcube-1, which had a launch mass of just 982 grams, has completed more than 10,500 orbits of the earth. This means a total distance travelled of more than 260 million miles.

All telemetry sensors continue to provide valid data, real time, whole orbit and high resolution channels alike. The flight code is really robust and we have only had three unexpected “events” since launch. Two of these we believe to have been caused by noise of the command receiver being incorrectly interpreted as a command and only one appears to have been caused by a RAM error. The battery and solar panels also continue to work perfectly and provide a very positive power budget.

We have sent out many Fitter messages for school and other similar events. On November 17, 2015 there was a demonstration at Thorne Green Top School in Yorkshire. Here is a report from Dave Ryan EI4HT/M0GIW:

FUNcube-1 Educational Outreach - Thorne Green Top School in Yorkshire

FUNcube-1 Educational Outreach – Thorne Green Top School in Yorkshire

Good Morning All  

Firstly -thanks to all for your help, we had a great morning at Green Top and the highlight was FUNcube.

I started with a slide show talking about communications from cave paintings all the way up to smartphones, we looked at space communications and travel from Sputnik to Astra and Apollo to the Millennium Falcon! We spoke about satellites and how they are used every day and how we all got to watch “I’m A Celebrity” via Satellite last night from Australia.

I brought in lots of props too, some old Motorola MX330 radios, some PMR 446, and a marine band radio .I also had a small model of a CubeSat that I knocked up over the weekend, I also passed around some NOAA images from last week’s Abigail storm and I had a few QSL cards from ISS and MIR from years ago when I lived in Ireland.  

The FUNcube pass was great, really strong signals, I had my turnstile and FCD set up and had audio through speakers and used the class projector to show Satpc32 and the Dashboard.  

There was a great buzz of excitement when we got the first packet and even more when the Fitter messages came through. The kids were fascinated to see the signal arrive just as the software predicted and then hear the telemetry and the decode.  

After the pass we were able to look at the Warehouse online and print off the QSL card and certificate.

 I didn’t get a chance to take many pics but Mrs Overson will update the School Blog and she took lots of pics.

http://greentopschool.co.uk/blog

Once again thanks to all at FUNcube, looking forward to Tim Peake on the ISS in the New Year and planning another visit to the School then.

Regards

Dave EI4HT / M0GIW

PS: I was back dropping my own kids off this morning and Mrs Overson told me they have printed a QSL card and Certificate for each of the students and they have used them for their class journals.

As well providing a great educational resource, FUNcube-1 operates at night and generally at weekends with the linear transponder active for radio amateurs to use for communications. The transponder continues to provide an excellent service. As users will be aware, the transponder uplink frequencies vary with receiver temperature. The RX temp telemetry channel is the best one to use for tracking this effect. This does make it quite difficult to use full computer control for transponder operations and we have already developed new oscillator circuits to improve this performance for future missions.

For the telemetry uplinked to the Data Warehouse, it is possible to download special Certificate or QSL Card here http://amsatuk.me.uk/on/funcube_qsl.php and, for transponder users, the “73 on 73 award” continues at http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

The Nayif-1 CubeSat mission, which includes a full FUNcube payload, is expected to be launched into a similar orbit in the first half of next year and will provide an additional level of service to the community.

Meanwhile we hope everyone will continue to have fun with FUNcube-1!

FUNcube-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/funcube-1/
Nayif-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/nayif-1/
FUNcube on Twitter https://twitter.com/FUNcubeUK
AMSAT-UK on Twitter https://twitter.com/AmsatUK
Facebook https://facebook.com/AmsatUK
YouTube https://youtube.com/AmsatUK

AO-85 Commissioned

Fox-1A-Flight-Unit

AO-85 (Fox-1A) Flight Unit

AO-85 has been formally commissioned and turned over to AMSAT-NA Operations, who are now responsible for the scheduling and modes.

The following guidelines are provided for users:

Uplink power should be on the order of minimum 200 W EIRP for full quieting at lower antenna elevation angles. Your mileage may vary. With an Arrow, 5 W has been used successfully to make contacts.

Polarity is important. The satellite antennas are linear. So, if you are using linearly polarized antennas, you will need to adjust throughout the pass. Full duplex operation facilitates these adjustments while transmitting and is highly recommended.

The downlink [145.980 MHz nominal] is very strong and should be heard well with almost any antenna.

Downlink audio is 5 kHz deviation, as expected. Many will perceive that the audio is “low.” This is an effect of the filtering below 300 Hz, which provides for the DUV telemetry, coupled with any noise on the uplink signal resulting from lack of full quieting or being off frequency. That makes for less fidelity than a typical receiver in terms of audio frequencies passed.

Transmit (downlink) frequency varies with temperature.  Due to the wide range of temperatures we are seeing in the eclipse cycle, the transmitter can be anywhere from around 500 Hz low at 10°C to near 2 kHz low at 40°C.

Receive frequency has been generally agreed to be about 435.170 MHz, although the AFC makes that hard to pin down and also helps with the uplinks that are off frequency.

Probably the most notable observations about AO-85 are an apparent lack of sensitivity and difficulty in turning on the repeater with the 67 Hz CTCSS when it is not yet activated, or holding it on by the presence of the CTCSS.  We have determined a probable cause for the sensitivity issue and while that can’t be fixed on AO-85 we are taking steps to prevent similar issues on the rest of the Fox-1 CubeSats.  The tone detection threshold along with the receive sensitivity issue makes it hard to bring up the repeater.  This is being addressed by adjusting the values for a valid tone detection in the other Fox-1 CubeSats now that we have on orbit information about temperatures and power budget. Full details will be in the Nov/Dec AMSAT Journal.

It is important to remember that science is the reason behind the Fox-1 satellites. Not only does science help with the launch cost, it provides a great amount of educational value both from the science payload and in amateur radio itself. The data-under-voice (DUV) telemetry is an excellent way to provide the science without sacrificing the use of the satellite for communications, which would be the case if higher speed downlinks were needed. DUV provides constant science as long as the repeater is in use, which in turn provides more downlink data for the science – a mutually beneficial combination.

Fox-1A is AMSAT-NA’s first CubeSat. Many new techniques are incorporated and lessons will be learned, as with any new “product.” The Fox-1 Project is a series of CubeSats. A total of five will be built and flown. Launches are scheduled for three more, and a new NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative proposal will be submitted for the fifth. We will incorporate changes from what we learn in each launch, to the extent possible, in subsequent Fox-1 CubeSats.

Of the four NASA sponsored CubeSats on the ELaNa XII launch October 8, we are sad to report that ARC1 was never heard from and BisonSat was lost after a few weeks of operation. AMSAT extends our deepest sympathy to the people who worked so hard on these projects. To our members, we want to say that the Fox Team is very proud and pleased that our first CubeSat is very successful and hopefully will be for some time.

AO-85 information http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/ao-85-fox-1a/

Nayif-1 at YouthConnect

Nayif-1 at YouthConnectYouthConnect is an initiative led by the Expo 2020 UAE team and is catered specifically for the Youth of today. The Nayif-1 team took part in the event by throwing a workshop titled “Introduction to Cubesatellites.”

What's a CubeSat ? Brainstorming Session

What’s a CubeSat ? Brainstorming Session

YouthConnect is the first in a long-lasting and wide-ranging series highly interactive forums designed by youth for youth. The inaugural event took take place on Saturday, November 14, 2015. This first interactive, full-day forum, part of a far wider programme to talk to the younger members of society, was open to all UAE residents between the ages of 18-25.

“From our earliest days conceiving Expo”, says Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Director General of the Bureau Dubai Expo 2020 “we were determined to put our youth at the heart of our plans. It is these young men and women who will be representing and leading our nation in the years to come. So it is important that they contribute to these events and decide what they want to see and do on the day.”

Nayif-1 was built by students at the American University of Sharjah, UAE, in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The nanosatellite 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 the first half 2016 on the SpaceX Falcoln 9 SHERPA mission with deployment into an elliptical, sun synchronous, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) of about 450 by 720 km.

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

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

YouthConnect at Expo 2020 Dubai
http://expo2020dubai.ae/en/news/article/expo_2020_dubai_unveils_youthconnect

CubeSat at YouthConnect