AMSAT at the Dayton Hamvention – Image Credit ARRL
NASA announced on May 13, 2013 that AMSAT’s Fox-1 amateur radio spacecraft has been assigned for launch in November 2014 on the ELaNa XII mission. The expected orbit is 470 x 780 km at 64 degrees inclination. This orbit has a lifetime of about 11 years.
AMSAT Vice President Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX, reported that the software development team successfully brought up the Fox-1 system software on the Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU). The IHU is the brains of the Fox-1 satellite and it has a 32-bit, STM32L microprocessor. The operating IHU card was shown in the AMSAT Engineering booth at the Dayton Hamvention.
The Fox-1 Engineering Team will deliver the satellite for integration with the launch vehicle during May, 2014 with the launch scheduled for November, 2014. Tony commented, “While this is later than we had hoped, it is well within the normal variance of ELaNa launch dates and the extra time will be most welcome for additional satellite testing. This is very exciting news and really puts the focus on finishing the satellite and ground station software development.”
President Barry Baines says, “AMSAT’s focus on STEM education and development of a CubeSat platform capable of flying a science mission with a reliable communications link resulted in the selection of Fox-1 in the third round and RadFxSat (Fox-1B) in the fourth round of NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative.”
All Fox CubeSats are designed to host advanced science payloads to support future science missions that help us to continue qualify for NASA ELaNa (free) launches. The Phase 1 Fox satellites are 1-Unit CubeSats. They each include an analog FM repeater that will allow simple ground stations using an HT and an “arrow” type antenna to make contacts using the satellite. This was the mode made so popular by AO-51. The Phase 1 CubeSats also have the capability of operating in a high-speed digital mode for data communications. Phase 2 Fox satellites will include software-defined-transponders (SDX) like the one tested on ARISSat-1. These will be able to operate in a wide variety of analog and digital communications modes including linear transponders. Since this requires more power for reliable operation, these will probably all be 3-Unit CubeSats.
AMSAT-DL reports that on April 2, 2013, the two NASA STEREO space-based observatories switched to Turbo Codes to transmit their real-time space weather data permanently. A network of four ground stations, located at the IUZ in Bochum/Germany, CNES in Toulouse/France, NICT in Koganei/Japan and amateur radio station DL0SHF in Kiel-Ronne/Germany receives this data, and uses turbo-decoding software written by AMSAT-DL.
The Bochum station is run by AMSAT-DL e.V. and IUZ Bochum Observatory, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and DLR.
Said Doug Biesecker, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center:
“Thanks to the wonderful work of our colleagues running the station in Bochum and the support of DLR, we can now be sure of receiving real-time data from the NASA/STEREO satellite throughout the life of the mission. The STEREO data has proven to provide significant benefits to space weather forecasting and is used by NOAA on a daily basis to ensure the best possible forecasts. Space weather increasingly threatens the technological infrastructure of our modern world, with demonstrated impacts on global positioning, power grids, and high frequency communication systems.”
The switch to Turbo Codes has improved reception capabilities of the ground stations by about 2 dB, which is a very welcome improvement giving the increasing distances – 269 and 286 million kilometers respectively – that need to be covered.
The STRaND-1 build and test phase took just 3 months
The UK smartphone satellite STRaND-1 is expected to launch from India on Monday, Feb. 25 at 12:25 GMT. You can follow the launch on Twitter or watch live video.
STRaND-1 and other CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads are planned to launch on the ISRO PSLV-C20 rocket into a 785 km orbit.
STRaND-1 carries an amateur radio 9600 bps AX.25 packet radio downlink on 437.568 MHz. It is hoping to be the first ever satellite to carry a smartphone into space and is also believed be the first satellite to use a part produced with a 3D Printer.
ShindaiSat is a 20 kg spacecraft approx 300 by 300 by 350 mm which is planning to use bright LEDs for Space to Earth optical communication using Morse code. It also carries an optical lens system for receiving modulated LED light from the ground station.
The article says “A launch of ShindaiSat as a secondary payload is manifested for mid-2014 on the primary GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) mission of NASA and JAXA. JAXA is providing the launch on the H2A vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.
E-members of AMSAT-UK can now download the PDF of the Winter edition of the OSCAR News magazine here. (As well as the earlier 2012 issues)
The paper edition is at the printers and should be posted to members within 2 weeks.
In this issue
• IARU Region 3 Chairman Michael Owen, VK3KI (SK)
• Amateur Radio Satellites – The First 25 Years
• G3CVI column “Haven’t got a callsign?”
• Low Noise Cavity Pre-Amplifier 70 cm EME and satellites by Domenico Marini, i8CVS
• Early Editions of Oscar News
• FUNcube Update
• Currently Active Spacecraft
The AMSAT-UK Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.
AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch
Membership of AMSAT-UK is open to anyone who has an interest in amateur radio satellites or space activities, including the International Space Station (ISS).
E-members of AMSAT-UK are able to download OSCAR News as a convenient PDF that can be read on laptops, tablets or smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Join as an E-member at Electronic (PDF) E-membership
Clyde Space have successfully completed Thermal Vacuum Testing, where the UKube-1 Flight Model was operated in a simulated space environment (i.e. no air and at temperature extremes)
UKube-1 the UK Space Agency’s (UKSA) first satellite has ‘booked’ its journey into space on a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket. The launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan is expected to take place in the 3rd quarter of 2013. UKube-1 has also completed Thermal Vacuum Testing to verify the spacecraft operation in a simulated space environment.
UKube-1 will carry a set of AMSAT-UK FUNcube boards to provide a 435/145 MHz linear transponder and a 145.915 MHz BPSK telemetry beacon for educational outreach.