FCC rejects AMSAT Orbital Debris Petition

FCC SealARRL reports the FCC has rejected a Petition for Reconsideration that AMSAT filed 14 years ago, seeking to exempt Amateur Radio satellites from the FCC’s satellite orbital debris mitigation requirements.

The ARRL story says:

The Commission took the opportunity in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order on Reconsideration, released on November 19, that revisits its orbital debris rules for the first time since their adoption in 2004. Among other things, AMSAT had argued at the time of its Petition that applying the orbital debris requirements to Amateur Radio satellites would be cost prohibitive, and that the FCC had not indicated what constitutes an acceptable orbital debris mitigation plan.

Acknowledging that time has made some of AMSAT’s arguments moot, the FCC said the costs involved with modifications to comply with post-mission disposal requirements “are justified when balanced against the public interest in mitigating orbital debris.” The FCC said it determined that closer adherence to the disposal methods described in the rules was “warranted in order to limit the growth of orbital debris” in low-Earth orbit (LEO).

“In any event, in the years since the debris mitigation rules were adopted, and notwithstanding any costs imposed by FCC regulations, well over 150 small satellites have been authorized, with at least 20 of those considered amateur satellites,” the FCC said in its November 15 Order on Reconsideration. “It appears that, to the extent that any costs have been incurred, the main contributor to costs for amateur and similar LEO missions has to do with the availability of launches to appropriate orbits.”

The FCC also said that in the years since the FCC issued its Orbital Debris Order, “numerous licensees, including amateur satellites operating in LEO, have successfully satisfied our orbital debris mitigation requirements.

FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order on Reconsideration

2004 AMSAT Petition for Reconsideration

2004 FCC Second Report and Order IB Docket No. 02-54

Source ARRL http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-rejects-2004-amsat-petition-to-reconsider-applying-orbital-debris-rules-to-ham-satellites

Videos of AMSAT Symposium talks

Videos of the presentations given at the 2018 William A. Tynan W3XO Memorial Space Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday/Saturday November 2/3 are now available

Schedule of symposium presentations https://www.amsat.org/call-for-papers/

Watch Friday, November 2

Watch Saturday, November 3

Detailed information on the hunt for XO53

SSETI Express LogoFollowing on from the brief notes provided earlier, AMSAT-UK now have been given exclusive access to the full SSETI Express Phase E 400-800 THz Downlink Report. This report provides a clear insight into the work carried out during their recent campaign and to methods and equipment used.

It is worthy of note that ten years ago there was only one radio amateur in the launch team and that, since then, four of the other five team members have now obtained their licences.

Read the EXPRESS_E_ESA_2015-11-14_-_400-800_THz_Downlink_Report

As the report states, further observations will be much appreciated!

Michael Ossmann AD0NR at Chaos Computer Camp

Rad1o Badge 50-4000 MHz SDR Transceiver given to attendees at the Chaos Computer Camp 2015

Rad1o Badge 50-4000 MHz SDR Transceiver given to attendees at Chaos Computer Camp 2015

The lectures at the Chaos Computer Camp, taking place August 13-17 in Mildenberg, Germany, are being streamed live to the web.

Mike Ossmann AD0NR – Image Credit www.insinuator.net

Mike Ossmann AD0NR – Image Credit http://www.insinuator.net

Among the attendees is radio amateur Michael Ossmann, AD0NR, who was guest speaker at the 2015 Dayton Hamvention AMSAT / TAPR banquet.

The founder of Great Scott Gadgets he grew up as a computer nerd embracing the hacker ethos. Eventually Michael became very interested in the security of wireless systems such as a remote keyless entry, a garage door opener, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. He designed Ubertooth One, a Bluetooth sniffer that was successfully funded on Kickstarter.

Not one to rest, Michael later designed and successfully funded HackRF One, an open source SDR platform that attracted the attention of the amateur radio community.

The @rad1obadge issued to Chaos Computer Camp attendees is a full-featured 50-4000 MHz SDR Transceiver with an output power of 5-7 dBm.

It is based on a Wimax Transceiver which sends I/Q samples in the range of 2.3 to 2.7 GHz to an ARM Cortex M4 CPU.

Michael Ossmann AD0NR at Chaos Computer Camp 2015

Michael Ossmann AD0NR at Chaos Computer Camp 2015

The CPU can then process the samples stand alone for various applications (like FM receiving, Spectrogram display, RF Controlled power plugs, etc.) or send the samples via USB 2.0 to a Computer where they can be processed with the help of GNU Radio.

The extended frequency range is provided by a mixer that can be inserted into the RF path. For immediate usage, the board contains a 2.5 GHz chip antenna which can be replaced with an easily soldered Antenna connector for usage in different frequency ranges. The rad1o also contains an LCD and Joystick as did the r0ket from the last CCCamp.

A talk given on Thursday evening, August 13, covered the inception and creation of this year’s Rad1o Camp Badge. From a description of the hardware including differences to the HackRF one, the software concept and extension possibilities to first projects done by attendees. Michael Ossmann AD0NR makes a guest appearance towards the end of the video.

Watch the @rad1obadge 50-4000 MHz SDR Transceiver talk

Watch the @SatNOGS Open Source Satellite Ground Station Network talk

Chaos Computer Camp 2015 https://events.ccc.de/camp/2015/wiki/Main_Page

Live Streaming https://streaming.media.ccc.de/

Recordings are at https://media.ccc.de/browse/conferences/camp2015/

Schedule https://events.ccc.de/camp/2015/Fahrplan/

Rad1o transceiver with antenna socket - Credit Tom Theisen

Rad1o transceiver with antenna socket – Credit Tom Theisen

Watch the talk Adventures of a Hacker Turned Radio Ham which Michael gave at the AMSAT-TAPR Banquet at Dayton in May 2015.

In it he talks about his unique perspective on the community as an outsider looking in, why he resisted getting an amateur radio license for years, and why he finally decided to join.

Michael shares his thoughts on what it means to be a hacker, what it means to be a ham, and what amateur radio may look like in the decades to come

Michael Ossmann AD0NR on Twitter https://twitter.com/michaelossmann

Antennas at Chaos Computer Camp 2015 - Credit Daniel Cussen EI9FHB

Antennas at Chaos Computer Camp 2015 – Credit Daniel Cussen EI9FHB

AMSAT’s FOX-1 Ham Radio CubeSat

AMSAT FOXIn HamRadioNow episode 85 Gary Pearce KN4AQ talks to a pair of AMSAT Vice Presidents – Tony Montiero AA2TX (Engineering) and Mark Hammond N8MH (Education) who tell us about the new Fox-1 Satellite.

They explain why AMSAT must transition from a bunch of hams who put up satellites for us to use, to a provider of the platform and communications for space science experiments for education (that also happen to have repeaters and transponders we can use).

Fox-1 is scheduled to launch from Vandenburg in November 2014 on the NASA ELaNa XII mission into a 470 x 780 km at 64 degrees inclination orbit. It will employ passive magnetic stabilization and carry a 435.180 MHz to 145.980 MHz FM voice transponder and an optional sub audible FSK digital carrier channel.

Watch HamRadioNow Episode 85: AMSAT’s Fox-1 Satellite

IARU Coordinates Frequencies for Fox-1A Ham Radio CubeSat

Fox-2 MPPT Team Selected In TI Design Contest

AMSAT FOXAMSAT sponsored a senior design project at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) this academic year.

The students included senior EE majors:
Bryce Salmi KB1LQC
Brent Salmi KB1LQD
Ian MacKenzie KB3OCF
Dan Corriero

The project was to develop a Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) circuit which is used to maximize the power obtained from a solar panel by forcing the cells to operate at their most efficient voltage regardless of the voltage required by the payload. One can also think of this as an impedance match. This optimum voltage changes slightly with variations in solar irradiance but changes greatly due to variations in solar panel temperature.

The MPPT utilizes a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller to communicate telemetry data with the Fox satellite Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU) designed by AMSAT for transmission to Earth via ham radio. The senior design group consisting of Brenton Salmi (KB1LQD), Bryce Salmi (KB1LQC), Ian MacKenzie (KB3OCF), and Daniel Corriero successfully implemented an analog MPPT designed for use in orbit over the five year mission intended for Fox-2 providing the amateur radio community with a 3U CubeSat carrying amateur radio communications equipment.

The students completed a working prototype which was on display in the AMSAT engineering booth at Dayton in May.

The project was entered into Texas Instruments’ 2013 Analog Design Contest for university students.
See: http://tinyurl.com/mf6nzhr

The AMSAT MPPT project was selected as one of the top 10 semi-finalists and the students were invited on an all-expenses paid trip to TI’s contest summit to be held July 21-23 in Dallas where the final winners will be announced.

Congratulations to the Fox-2 RIT MPPT team!

Main Documentation:

Technical Document (8 pages of technical information HIGHLY recommended reading):

Theory of Operations (In-depth technical documentation):

PCB Picture:

MPPT Testing Operational Walk-through:


Thanks to Bryce Salmi KB1LQC, ANS and Tony AA2TX for the above information.