Amateur Satellite Seed Funding

AMSAT FOXOn December 2, 2014 the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors approved Technology Development Seed Funding.

As a part of AMSAT’s “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge, the Board of Directors approved $5000, within the 2015 engineering budget, to be used as seed money for future satellite development. Additional fund raising sources will also be investigated and pursued.

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said, “We’re prepared to return to space starting in 2015 with a fleet of satellites that will equal, if not exceed, the performance, and availability to the average ham, of our previously popular AMSAT OSCAR 51. Meanwhile, we are preparing for the future looking to potentially leverage new technologies, to provide the best opportunities for enhancing amateur radio’s presence in space.”

Director Tom Clark, K3IO, noted the need for a defined future systems program. Tom said, “We saw a significant number of both new and old members who want to see the development of critical system elements for future opportunities by 2018-20. As I see it, critical ‘tall poles’ in applying potential technologies require significant work to begin now to ensure success.”

AMSAT is interested in supporting technology ideas that enhance the utility of using the CubeSat form factor to support more robust amateur satellite capabilities.  The scope of potential interest in not limited; some examples of  technology enhancement might include:

+ Microwave technology suitable for use in amateur spacecraft. This includes the need to identify optimum frequency bands.

+ Complementary, low-cost ground systems, including an effective ~1º antenna pointing system.

+ Define and develop optimum coding and modulation schemes for low power microwave use.

+ Attitude determination & control systems to point the spacecraft antennas towards the user while maximizing solar panel production.

Individuals interested in learning more about this initiative should contact AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY (n0jy at amsat.org).

Meanwhile, the development of AMSAT’s current series of the Fox-1 cubesats continues on schedule. AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY reported during the Board meeting that construction and testing of five Fox satellites is on schedule:

+ Fox-1A will launch on a NASA ELaNa flight during the 3rd quarter of 2015 from Vandenberg AFB,

+ Fox-1B will fly with the Vanderbilt University radiation experiments expected in 2016.

+ Fox-1C will launch on Spaceflight’s maiden mission of the SHERPA multi-cubesat deployer during the 3rd quarter of 2015. This flight was purchased by AMSAT.

+ Fox-1D is a flight spare for Fox-1C. If not needed as a spare it will become available to launch on any open launch slot which becomes available and be submitted in a CSLI proposal in 2015.

+ Fox-1E is built as a flight spare for Fox-1B but has been included in a student science proposal as part of the November, 2014 Cubesat Launch Initiative (CSLI) for an ELaNa flight slot. If selected the Fox-1B spare will fly as Fox-1E.

More details of the “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge can be found on-line at:
http://www.amsat.org/?p=3395

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Board Of Directors for the above information]

AMSAT-NA http://amsat.org/

AMSAT to use FundRazr Crowdfunding

AMSAT FOXAMSAT have announced that they are using the FundRazr crowdfunding platform to raise donations for the Fox-1C CubeSat.

AMSAT is excited to announce a launch opportunity for the Fox-1C Cubesat. AMSAT has teamed with Spaceflight Inc. for integration and launch utilizing Spaceflight’s SHERPA system to a sun-synchronous orbit in the third quarter of 2015.

Fox-1C is the third of four Fox-1 series satellites under development, with Fox-1A and RadFXsat/Fox-1B launching through the NASA ELANA program. Fox-1C will carry an FM repeater system for amateur radio use by radio hams and listeners worldwide. Further details on the satellite and launch will be made available as soon as released.

AMSAT has an immediate need to raise funds to cover both the launch contract and additional materials for construction and testing for Fox-1C. Please help us to continue to keep amateur radio in space.

Fox-1C Fundraiser https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/6pz92/sh/561Zd

Fox-1C CubeSat to Fly on SHERPA

SHERPA in Orbit - Credit Spaceflight Inc

SHERPA in Orbit – Credit Spaceflight Inc

AMSAT is excited to announce a launch opportunity for the Fox-1C CubeSat. AMSAT has teamed with Spaceflight Inc. for integration and launch utilizing Spaceflight’s SHERPA system to a sun-synchronous orbit in the third quarter of 2015.

AMSAT FOXFox-1C is the third of four Fox-1 series satellites under development, with Fox-1A and RadFXsat/Fox-1B launching through the NASA ELANA program. Fox-1C will carry an FM repeater system for amateur radio use by radio hams and listeners worldwide. Further details on the satellite and launch will be made available as soon as released.

AMSAT has an immediate need to raise funds to cover both the launch contract and additional materials for construction and testing for Fox-1C. We have set a fundraising goal of $125,000 to cover these expenses over the next 12 months, and allow us to continue to keep amateur radio in space.

Donations may be made through the AMSAT webpage at www.amsat.org, by calling (888) 322-6728 or by mail to the AMSAT office at 10605 Concord Street, Kensington, MD 20895, USA. Please consider a recurring, club, or corporate donation to maximize our chance of success with this mission. Also watch our website at www.amsat.org, follow us on Twitter at “AMSAT“, or on Facebook as “The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation” for continuing news and opportunities for support. AMSAT is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and donations may be tax-deductible.

Please donate now to fund launch and construction costs for the next Fox satellite!

Source: AMSAT-NA https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Radio-Amateur-Satellite-Corporation-AMSAT/328833500472670

SHERPA to deploy CubeSats in LEO or GTO
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/07/16/sherpa-to-deploy-cubesats-in-leo-or-gto/

Drew Glasbrenner KO4MA will be giving a presentation on the Fox CubeSats to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium which is being held at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ on July 26-27, 2014. The event is open to all, further details at http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/

RadFxSat/Fox-1B Amateur Radio CubeSat Proposal Accepted by NASA

AMSAT FOX

AMSAT-NA reports that the RadFxSat/Fox-1B proposal has been accepted by NASA. Tony Monteiro AA2TX writes:

I am pleased to announce that our NASA ELaNa proposal for RadFxSat/Fox-1B has been accepted.

Here is the NASA announcement. Note that the projects are listed in alphabetical order, not priority order. Look for “Vanderbilt and AMSAT.”

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/feb/HQ_13-064_CubeSat_4.html

We requested a launch in 2014.

AMSAT Fox-1 CubeSat selected for NASA ELaNa launch collaboration

AMSAT FOX

AMSAT FOX

Project ELaNa, NASA’s ‘Educational Launch of NanoSat’ managed by the  Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center, announced on February 10 that the AMSAT Fox-1 CubeSat has been selected to join the program.

NASA will work with AMSAT in a collaborative agreement where NASA  will cover the integration and launch costs of satellites deemed to have merit in support of their strategic and educational goals.

Watch for full details to be published in the AMSAT Journal.

AMSAT teamed with the ARRL to write and deliver the 159 page educational proposal to NASA. Letters documenting the importance of AMSAT’s satellites in the education programs at the ARRL and also at the Clay Center for Science and Technology at the Dexter and Southfield schools in Brookline, MA, were important parts of our proposal.

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW said,
“The ELaNA Launch opportunity marks AMSAT’s return to space after the conclusion of the successful ARISSat-1/KEDR flight. We need to get the flight Fox-1, along with an operational flight backup satellite, built, integrated, tested, and delivered. Our ability to provide a spacecraft and get it launched is dependent upon the active support of our donors who wish to see Fox-1 fly.”

AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX noted this will provide a launch opportunity for AMSAT’s next generation of FM repeater satellites with features and operation beyond the experience of AO-51. AMSAT’s Fox-1 Engineering Team is making progress developing the advanced satellite that will provide these features:

Fox-1 is designed to operate in sunlight without batteries once the battery system fails. This applies lessons learned from AO-51 and ARISSat-1 operations.

In case of IHU failure Fox-1 will continue to operate its FM repeater in a basic, ‘zombie sat’ mode, so that the repeater remains on-the-air.

Fox-1 is designed as the immediate replacement for AO-51. Its U/V (Mode B) transponder will make it even easier to work with modest equipment.

From the ground user’s perspective, the same FM amateur radio equipment used for AO-51 may be used for Fox-1.

Extending the design, Fox-2 will benefit from the development work of Fox-1 by adding more sophisticated power management and Software Defined Transponder (SDX) communications systems.

The Fox-1 Project presents an opportunity to literally put your callsign on the Fox hardware. AMSAT is looking for major donations to help underwrite the cost of solar cells/panels, one of the more significant expenses of the project.

These solar cells are needed for the flight unit as well as for the a flight spare. As Fox-1 will have solar cells on all six sides of the spacecraft and given the relatively small surface area available on each side (at most 4″ by 4″ per side), AMSAT needs to invest in high efficiency solar cells to gain as much power as possible to operate the spacecraft.

Several opportunities to make your donation to keep amateur radio in space include:
• Call Martha at the AMSAT Office +1-888-FB AMSAT (1-888-322-6728)
• Paypal donation widget on the main page at: http://www.amsat.org
• Paypal donation widget for Project Fox at: http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/fox/
• You can also go to the Paypal site and send your donation to martha@amsat.org
• The AMSAT Store: http://www.amsat-na.com/store/categories.php

Project Fox web site provide a good overview of the technical progress of the new satellite: http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/fox/

Thanks to AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX and AMSAT’s Project Fox Engineering team for the above information.