Amateur radio CubeSats prepared for deployment

Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA installing CubeSat deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Kibo laboratory of the ISS

Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA installing CubeSat deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Kibo laboratory of the ISS

NASA reports that on Thursday, February 20, 2014, International Space Station (ISS) astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA worked in the Japanese Kibo laboratory to prepare the second batch of NanoRacks CubeSats for their deployment beginning next Tuesday.

He opened the inner hatch to the airlock and replaced the empty deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform with loaded deployers. The platform and its deployers will be passed outside through the airlock to the Exposed Facility where Kibo’s robotic arm can grapple the platform and position the nanosatellites for launch. NanoRacks provides customers with CubeSat deployment services through a Space Act Agreement with NASA.

The deployment of the 12 commercial Planet Labs CubeSats is expected to take place at 1700 UT on Tuesday, February 25. The four amateur radio CubeSats LituanicaSat-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2, UAPSat-1 along with the 915 MHz SkyCube are expected to be deployed on Friday, February 28 at 07:30 UT.

Another amateur radio CubeSat the Peruvian Chasqui-1 was sent to the ISS on February 5, 2014. It is understood that Chasqui 1 is scheduled to be hand-deployed during a future Russian Extravehicular Activity (EVA).

CubeSats deployments are streamed live at http://m.ustream.tv/channel/live-iss-stream

For frequencies of the amateur radio CubeSats and pictures of previous deployments see
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/02/20/iss-cubesat-deployments-to-resume-february-25/

ISS CubeSat deployments to resume February 25

The first of the Planet Lab Dove CubeSats were deployed from the ISS on February 11, 2014 about 0831 UT

The first of the Planet Lab Dove CubeSats were deployed from the ISS on February 11, 2014 about 0831 UT

According to NanoRacks the deployment of the second batch of CubeSats from the International Space Station (ISS) will commence at 1700 UT on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. The CubeSats deployments were streamed live at http://m.ustream.tv/channel/live-iss-stream

ISS Kibo Japanese Experiment Module (JEM)

ISS Kibo Japanese Experiment Module (JEM)

Earlier this month astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA successfully deployed the first part of the Flock-1 constellation comprising 16 Dove 3U CubeSats developed by Planet Labs. The remaining 12 Dove CubeSats along with the amateur radio CubeSats LituanicaSat-1, LitSat-1, ArduSat-2, UAPSat-1 and the 915 MHz SkyCube should be deployed in the second batch.

The amateur radio CubeSats may be deployed on Friday, February 28 at 0730 UT. Another amateur radio CubeSat the Peruvian Chasqui 1 was sent to the ISS on February 5, 2014. It is not yet clear if this will also be deployed on Feb. 28.

Eight NanoRacks deployers are installed on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP). Each deployer has a capacity of 6U and so can hold up to six 1U CubeSats or two 3U CubeSats. They are carried by Japanese Experiment Module-Remote Manipulator System (JEM-RMS).

Two 3U CubeSats (6U total) can be deployed every one to two orbits to prevent collisions. For the first batch of Flock-1 CubeSats about two deployments took place each day.

Planet Labs CubeSat Constellation

Planet Labs CubeSat Constellation

LituanicaSat-1 carries a 145/435 MHz FM transponder while LitSat-1 has a 435/145 MHz linear transponder for SSB/CW communications.

Kibo Robot Arm CubeSat Deployment

Kibo Robot Arm CubeSat Deployment

The IARU coordinated frequencies are listed as:

LituanicaSAT-1
• FM Transponder Uplink 145.950 MHz Downlink 435.180 MHz
• AX25 Uplink 145.850 MHz AX25 Downlink 437.550 MHz
• CW Beacon 437.275 MHz
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lituanicasat1

LitSat-1
• SSB Transponder Uplink 435.180 MHz Downlink 145.950 MHz
• AX25 Uplink 437.550 MHz Downlink 145.850 MHz
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/palydovas

ArduSat-2
• 9k6 MSK CCSDS data format downlink 437.? MHz
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/575960623/ardusat-your-arduino-experiment-in-space

UAPSAT
• AX.25 Packet Radio uplink 145.980 MHz downlink 437.385 MHz
http://www.uapsat.info/ Twitter https://twitter.com/uapsat Facebook https://www.facebook.com/uapsat

Chasqui-1 (Peru) was launched to the space station on February 5, 2014. It is understood that it is scheduled to be hand-deployed during a future Russian Extravehicular Activity (EVA).
• AX.25 Packet Radio downlink on 437.250 MHz http://www.chasqui.uni.edu.pe/eng.html

Two Planet Labs Dove CubeSats deployed from the ISS February 11, 2014

Two Planet Labs Dove CubeSats deployed from the ISS February 11, 2014

Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA https://twitter.com/Astro_Wakata

NanoRacks https://twitter.com/nanoracks/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nanoracks

Close-up of Planet Labs Dove CubeSats leaving NanoRacks deployer February 11, 2014

Close-up of Planet Labs Dove CubeSats leaving NanoRacks deployer February 11, 2014

Planet Labs https://twitter.com/planetlabs

A Dove in Space https://twitter.com/adoveinspace

Southern Stars https://twitter.com/south_stars

Video of NanoRacks interview: Deploying CubeSats from the Space Station
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/01/31/video-deploying-cubesats-from-the-space-station/

February 11, 2014 ISS CubeSats deployed
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/02/11/cubesats-deployed-from-international-space-station/

Jonathan’s Space Report (JSR) has been covering robotic and human spaceflight activity for 25 years
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/02/09/a-quarter-century-of-jonathans-space-report/
Twitter http://twitter.com/planet4589

Astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA prepares NanoRacks CubeSat Deployers

Astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA prepares NanoRacks CubeSat Deployers

Brazilian students talk to Space Station using Amateur Radio

ARISS PV8DX students at Escola Estadual 'Gonçalves Dias'

ARISS PV8DX students at Escola Estadual ‘Gonçalves Dias’

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact took place at 17:24 UT on Thursday, February 13, 2014.

International_Space_StationStudents at Escola Estadual ‘Gonçalves Dias’, Boa Vista, Brazil, using the station of Paulo PV8DX, were able to talk to astronaut Michael Hopkins KF5LJG who was using the callsign OR4ISS. The contact lasted about 9 minutes and took place in English on 145.800 MHz FM.

The school, founded in 1977, works in two shifts, morning and afternoon with a total of 800 students. The school has a specialty program dedicated to Computer Science and related areas – students in this area were directly involved in the ARISS event. These same students were involved in the development of questions and related studies. The school has 70 teachers and 30 administrative support staff.

International Space Station ISS 2011The students asked these questions:

1. Why did you decide to be an astronaut?
2. How long can a person live in space?
3. How do you communicate with your family?
4. After the mission, what are the most critical physical and psychological effects on your body and mind?
5. If someone is critically injured on the ISS, what would you do with  them?
6. In case of illness, how is aid provided?
7. What kind of research are you doing on the ISS?
8. Do you feel disoriented when you return home?
9. Given the incredible committment to become an astronaut, do you ever doubt your choice?
10. How do you bathe on the ISS?
International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-2311. What is the most interesting thing you have seen in Space?
12. Is oxygen recycled continually on the ISS or do supply vehicles bring up new oxygen?
13. What is a typical day like on the ISS?
14. Since there are people from different countries on the ISS, what is the language spoken on the Station and what kind of food do you eat?

A recording of part of the contact made by PY2TNA can be heard here .

Michael Hopkins KF5LJG / OR4ISS

Michael Hopkins KF5LJG / OR4ISS

Media coverage can be seen at

http://g1.globo.com/rr/roraima/noticia/2014/02/estudantes-de-rr-fazem-contato-com-astronauta-em-estacao-espacial.html

http://g1.globo.com/rr/roraima/jornal-de-roraima/videos/t/edicoes/v/estudantes-roraimenses-tem-contato-com-astronauta-por-meio-de-projeto-da-nasa/3147827/

http://www.rr.gov.br/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12994:no-espaco-comunicacao-entre-estudantes-de-roraima-e-astronauta-americano-foi-um-sucesso&catid=198:2014fevereiro&Itemid=210

Sign up for the SAREX maillist at http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/sarex

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station http://www.ariss.org/

ISS Ham Video Commissioning – Blank Transmissions

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

As announced December 22, 2013 the Ham Video transmitter is onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and stored in the Columbus module. It is slated to be installed February 5, 2014 by Michael Hopkins KF5LJG. Hopkins will also install the camera and the supporting Bogen arm.

The Ham Video transmitter will be connected to the ARISS 41 antenna and to the KuPS power supply. The installation procedure comprises a check of the electrical connections. The transmitter will be powered on and will transmit a signal on 2.422 GHz. This check will be very limited in time, just enough to verify that the control LEDs are nominal. Then Ham Video will be powered off, ready for the first Commissioning Step.

New HamTV Antennas for ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

New HamTV Antennas for ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD

January 23 and 24, Commissioning Simulations were again performed by ESA, in collaboration with ARISS. The ARISS Team, in charge of receiving the signals during the Commissioning, worked with B.USOC, simulating the four scheduled Commissioning Steps. The procedure was an update of the Simulations performed 5-6 September 2013, as reported in HamTV Bulletin #2.
( All HamTV Bulletins are archived at http://www.ariss-eu.org/ ).

The four Commissioning steps are scheduled February 8, 15 and 16 and March 5. These dates are still to be confirmed and this depends on the signature of the Flight Rules relative to Ham Video (see HamTV Bulletin #4).

Blank Transmissions will start immediately at the conclusion of Commissioning Step 1 and will continue till Commissioning Step 4. This means that the Ham Video transmitter will operate continuously during 25 days.

The DATV signal parameters will be:
* Downlink frequency: 2.395 GHz
* DVB-S standard (QPSK modulation)
* Symbol rate: 1.3 Ms/s
* FEC : ½
* Video PID = 256
* Audio PID = 257
* RF radiated power : approximately 10 W EIRP
Ham Video will operate with a Canon XF-305 camera, but the camera will be turned off during the Blank Transmissions.

ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

Blank Transmissions

A « blank » DVB-S signal contains all the data of normal DVB-S. The information tables describing the content and the content itself, i.e. the video (black) and the audio (silence), are the same as for the image and the sound produced by a camera.
Receiving a black image and silent sound may seem uninteresting but, from a technical perspective, the digital signal offers an important source of information.

The decoded signal provides many data :
* the video stream can be measured (Tutioune + TS reader)
* the audio stream can be measured (Tutioune + TS reader)
* the DVB tables can be decoded (satellite receiver (Set Top Box) or Tutioune or TS reader or VLC …)

The DVB tables mention the PIDs (content identification numbers) as well as the SDT (Service Description Table) with the TV channel name, which will be « HAMTV »

Even without decoding, several measurements of the received signal provide valuable information:
* analogic HF signal strength  (dBm)
* analogic Signal/Noise ratio (dB)
* digital Signal/Noise ratio = MER (dB)
* error/correction ratio = Vber, Cber …
* validation of the received transport stream = TS

Reception Reports

Ground stations with S-band capability can provide valuable information, which will be much appreciated. Basic data such as:
* noise level without signal
* AOS time (UTC)
* maximum signal level during pass
* LOS time (UTC)
can be reported by ground stations without the need of special DATV hardware and software.

ARISS is preparing a Ham Video Internet Reporting Program for collecting reception data from volunteering ground stations. These most needed reception reports will be gratefully accepted.

Basic DATV receiver

A “Set Top Box” or a Television receiver with satellite tuner can be used for receiving Ham Video signals during a pass of the ISS.

When scanning the 2.395 GHz frequency, the DVB stream can be decoded. When this is successful, the channel name « HAMTV » will appear on the TV screen.

Windows computer with TechnoTrend TT S2-1600 card and Tutioune software

A Windows computer with TT S2-1600 receiver card can be used for Ham Video reception. See appended Block Diagram of N6IZW Station.

The Tutioune software, developed by Jean Pierre Courjaud F6DZP, measures and records the Ham Video signals second by second:
* HF signal level
* digital Signal/Noise level = MER (dB)
* error/correction = Vber
* validation of the received transport stream = TS

The recorded file can be examined and forwarded to ARISS.

Better even, the data can be forwarded during an ISS pass to the TiouneMonitor on the http://www.vivadatv.org/ website. In other words, the data can be observed worldwide, real time.

Tutioune also shows the constellations during signal reception (see HamTV Bulletin #4). The TS stream can be recorded, but this is less interesting since richer information is already available.

Tutioune also decodes the DVB tables and provides the PIDs and the channel name  (« HAMTV ») recovered from the SDT table.

73,

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS-Europe chair

Annex: http://www.ariss-eu.org/N6IZW_Station.pdf

ARISS minutes regarding ISS HAMTV frequencies http://www.ariss.org/1/post/2013/05/may-18-2013.html

ARISS-Europe http://www.ariss-eu.org/

Space Station orbit live on Channel 4 TV

International Space Station ISS 2011

International Space Station – Image credit NASA

BBC News reports that Channel 4 TV is to screen a live broadcast featuring a complete orbit of the International Space Station (ISS), later this year.

Luca Parmitano KF5KDP / IR0ISS  on Expedition 36 EVA July 9, 2013 - Image credit ESA

Luca Parmitano KF5KDP / IR0ISS
on Expedition 36 EVA July 9, 2013 – Image credit ESA

The show, hosted by Dermot O’Leary, will link live to the astronauts from mission control in Houston as they make a 90-minute circuit of the Earth.

The ISS, which orbits 400 km above the Earth, will send back High Definition live images of the planet.

The show Lap of the Planet screens in March as part of a space season.

It will also feature contributions from Professor Stephen Hawking and UK astronaut Tim Peake, who is due to join the crew of the ISS next year.

Read the full BBC story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25680706

Channel 4 TV streams its shows live to the web but overseas viewers may need to use a Proxy Server / VPN to get around geographic blocking. Watch Channel 4 at http://watchlive.channel4.com/C4

ExpatShield http://download.cnet.com/Expat-Shield/3000-2092_4-75211377.html

Our thanks to Peter M0PWW for spotting this item.

ISS Ham Video Commissioning

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

As announced August 21,  2013 the Ham Video transmitter is onboard the International Space Station and stored in the Columbus module.

September 10, 2013 we informed about the Experiment Sequences Test (EST) and the Simulations performed by the European Space Agency in collaboration with ARISS.

September 20, 2013 we announced the Ham Video Launch Campaign and described a simple station for Ham Video reception.

New HamTV Antennas for ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

New HamTV Antennas for ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

The Commissioning of the Ham Video transmitter needs to cover different configurations involving 2 antennas, 4 frequencies and 2 symbol rates. As announced earlier, the signals transmitted during the Commissioning steps will be received by the Matera ground station, located in south Italy (see HamTV Bulletin #2).

Moreover, during the Commissioning period, the Ham Video transmitter will transmit permanently for several days (weeks). This will allow ground stations to test their equipment and to provide useful information concerning the efficiency of the transmitter.

For these transmissions, no camera will be used. The so-called “blank” transmissions will nevertheless provide a complete DVB-S signal, as described hereafter.

We hoped that the Commissioning of the Ham Video transmitter would be planned October 2013. It appeared that the “Flight Rules” regarding ARISS activities, which cover VHF and UHF transmissions, needed to be updated for S-band.

One of the Columbus Module  2.4 / 1.2 GHz Antennas

One of the Columbus Module 2.4 / 1.2 GHz Antennas

Writing Flight Rules and having them verified, accepted and signed by all parties involved is a process that takes time. ARISS matters have low priority among the countless activities that populate the International Space Station. Unforeseen events, such as the recent failing of a cooling system, evidently cause further delay.

Finally, the January – February 2014 time frame seems a reasonable guess for the Ham Video Commissioning.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

73

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS-Europe chairman
December 22, 2013

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Hamtvproject

HamTV Bulletins are available at www.ariss-eu.org
See left side column : HamTV Bulletin 4 (with annexes)

Young radio hams at Fontana school anticipate ISS link

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-23

Ten year-old radio amateurs Maribel Laguna KK6IGY and Laisha Vergara KK6HZH hope to link up with the International Space Station next year.

The San Bernardino Sun newspaper reports both are students at the Dorothy Grant Elementary School in Fontana. The school has a popular amateur radio club with nearly 50 members which was founded by teacher Beverly Matheson KJ6RSX.

Beverly said originally she looked at the club as a platform to get students interested in cultures in other lands.

Using the club’s high frequency radio and portable antenna, students set up outside the classroom and take down after their weekly meetings — students have made contact with amateur radio operators such diverse places as Hungary, Maldovia, Japan and the Falkland Islands.

But now Beverly said she wants to personally, and with her students, delve more into science with ham radio as a platform for a STEM program at the school.

Along those lines, next year — before the end of school — the Grant Elementary School Amateur Radio Club will be talking with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Read the full San Bernardino Sun story at
http://www.sbsun.com/media/20131213/young-radio-amateurs-at-fontana-school-anticipate-space-station-link

48 students sat their amateur license exam on November 7, 2013
http://www.k3lp.com/dges_field_day_3.htm

Live Video Streaming from the ISS

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-23 - Credit NASA

The N2YO satellite tracking website provides live video streaming from the International Space Station (ISS) alongside a track showing the position of the ISS over the Earth.

The Ustream video from the station is available only when the complex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communications antenna and NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. During “loss of signal” periods, you will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it sees a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but also may provide spectacular views of city lights below.

Live streaming from the ISS http://www.n2yo.com/space-station/

HD Video Cameras sent to ISS November 25, 2013 http://www.urthecast.com/launch

The US segment of the ISS uses a data link in Ku band to connect to a NASA server. The link provides a data rate of 10 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload available about half the time through a network of ground stations.

In October 2012 the first laser communication link with the Russian segment of the ISS was established paving the way for higher speed broadband links to the ISS in the future. Read the RIA Novosti article in Google English.

ISS CubeSats Deploy Tuesday and Wednesday

Pico Dragon CubeSat - Image credit VNSC

Pico Dragon CubeSat – Image credit VNSC

Four CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads will be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) by the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD). Three of them, Pico Dragon, ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-2 will be deployed on Tuesday, November 19, and the fourth Cubesat, TechEdSat-3p, will be deployed Wednesday.

The CubeSats:
Pico Dragon developed by the Việt Nam National Satellite Center (VNSC), University of Tokyo and IHI aerospace. 437.250 MHz CW beacon and 437.365 MHz 1200 bps AFSK AX.25 telemetry.
ArduSat-1 developed by NanoSatisfi. 437.000 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink.
ArduSat-X developed by NanoSatisfi. 437.345 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink .
TechEdSat-3 developed by interns at the NASA Ames Research Center. 437.465 MHz 1200 bps packet radio beacon transmitting 1 watt to 1/4 wave monopole. It plans to test an Iridium Satphone modem and has a deployment mechanism to de-orbit in 10 days.

They are 1U in size (10*10*10 cm) except for TechEdSat-3 which is 3U (30*10*10 cm).

As well as the ISS deployment next week also sees two mass launches of satellites on Minotaur-1 and Dnepr rockets. In total 37 satellites carrying amateur radio payloads are expected to be deployed next week. The frequencies of these satellites can be seen at
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/11/13/three-amateur-radio-satellite-deployments-in-november/

NASA http://www.nasa.gov/content/expedition-38-wraps-up-first-week-on-station/

Australian Foundation licensee Jonathan Oxer VK3FADO talks about the ArduSat satellites that he helped develop in this video
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/09/15/eevblog-ardusat-arduino-cubesat/

Teenage radio ham takes lead on ISS school contact

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-2316 year-old Rebecca Rubsamen KJ6TWM led the amateur radio contact between students at Rancho Romero Elementary School and astronaut Mike Hopkins KF5LJG on the International Space Station.

The Contra Costa Times newspaper reports:

“This is going to be the biggest science experiment we’ve done with the school — and my career as principal,” proclaimed Skye Larsh, principal of Rancho Romero Elementary School.

The lead engineer in the whole grand experiment: 16 year-old Rebecca Rubsamen of Alamo, a sophomore at Bentley School in Lafayette who built her own VHF radio and crafted two large antennas in her backyard.

A licensed amateur radio operator, Rebecca wanted to return to her elementary alma mater to let students talk to astronauts in space. She applied for permission to do the direct contact through NASA’s Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. Since 1983, the program has connected schools and universities with astronauts in space to encourage interest in math and science — and youth to become future astronauts.

NASA grants about 50 such permissions a year for amateur radio enthusiasts to make contact with the International Space Station. This year, there have been about 68 granted internationally. Rancho Romero’s is one of 20 in the United States this year and just the third in California, said Ashle Harris, a NASA spokeswoman.

Tim Bosma W6MU, a NASA volunteer who helps to mentor amateur radio buffs through the program, said Rebecca was among the youngest people to act as a lead operator for such a radio communication for a school.

Read the full story at http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_24517766/headline

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) http://www.ariss-eu.org/