AMSAT Fox-1 Ham Radio CubeSat Announcement

Fox-1 CubeSat at the Dayton Hamvention - Image Credit ARRL

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.

AMSAT FOXThe 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.

Source: AMSAT News Service (ANS)

A 1U CubeSat, Fox-1a will serve as a communications relay for radio amateurs worldwide via the onboard FM repeater system. Fox-1a will also carry an experiment consisting of a 3-axis MEMs gyro developed by Penn State University. The communications and experiment missions will run concurrently. An uplink on 435.180 MHz for FM voice and a downlink on 145.980 MHz with FM voice and an optional sub audible FSK digital carrier channel has been coordinated. Fox-1a will employ passive magnetic stabilization.

For more information see

Fox-1a is planning to launch from Vandenburg during 2014 on the NASA ElanaXII mission with ARC1, BisonSat, Lightsail and R2S(NEO)

AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB)