CHESS CubeSat Constellation to carry FUNcube transponders

CHESS CubeSat - Credit EPFL Spacecraft Team

CHESS CubeSat – Credit EPFL Spacecraft Team

In 2020, a project between AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-NL and Swiss universities started with the aim of equipping two Swiss satellites with a linear transponder for amateur radio.

CHESS - Three Unit CubeSat

CHESS – Three Unit CubeSat

With a linear transponder, several QSOs can take place simultaneously. The satellites can be operated in CW/SSB with the simplest equipment. The satellites also include features for classroom demonstrations and experiments. In numerous teleconference discussions, the technical possibilities could be sounded out and the realisation prepared.

The CHESS [Constellation of High Energy Swiss Satellites] project includes two satellites, which will be built simultaneously and later launched as a constellation. Both will provide a linear transponder for amateur radio use. The first satellite will have a nearly circular orbit at an altitude of 400 km. The second will have an elliptical orbit with an altitude of 350×1000 km.

The satellites themselves are a project of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) with support from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU – Institute of Electrical Engineering IET), the University of Bern, the Valais University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HES-SO), the Haute École Neuchâtel and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich. The amateur radio payload is a project of AMSAT-UK/-NL.

On 18 December 2020, the successful system requirements review took place. The project coordination between CHESS and AMSAT lies with the Amateur Radio Association of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Technology & Architecture, Horw.

The Swiss AMSAT Operators provide information about the CHESS project at

EPFL Spacecraft Team

CHESS - Three Board Stack

CHESS – Three Board Stack

AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E Launched

LauncherOne Drop Test July 2019 - Credit Virgin Orbit

LauncherOne Drop Test July 2019 – Credit Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne Launch Demo 2 mission carried AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E to orbit on Sunday, January 17, 2020.

On January 19 AMSAT issued this RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E Status Update

At 22:28 GMT, Jan 17, Virgin Orbit Tweeted:

Payloads successfully deployed into our target orbit! We are so, so proud to say that LauncherOne has now completed its first mission to space, carrying 9 CubeSat missions into Low Earth Orbit for our friends @NASA. #LaunchDemo2

RadFxSat-2, like RadFxSat / Fox-1B, now AMSAT-OSCAR 91, is a partnership opportunity between Vanderbilt University and AMSAT and will carry a similar radiation effects experiment, studying new FinFET technology.

RadFxSat-2 is the fifth and final Fox-1 satellite built by AMSAT. The RadFxSat-2 spacecraft bus is built on the Fox-1 series but features a linear transponder “upgrade” to replace the standard FM transponder in Fox-1A through D. In addition, the uplink and downlink bands are reversed from the previous Fox satellites in a Mode V/u (J) configuration using a 2 meter uplink and 70 cm downlink. The downlink features a 1200 bps BPSK telemetry channel to carry the Vanderbilt science data in addition to a 30 kHz wide transponder for amateur radio use. Telemetry and experiment data can be decoded using FoxTelem version 1.09 or later.

FoxTelem is available at

Participation in telemetry collection by as many stations in as many parts of the world as possible is essential as AMSAT Engineering looks for successful startup and indications of the general health and function of the satellite as it begins to acclimate to space. AMSAT will send a commemorative 3D printed QSL card to the first station capturing telemetry from RadFxSat-2.

TLE’s of satellites on the launch are at

RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E Frequencies:

Telemetry Downlink – 435.750 MHz 1200 bps BPSK
Inverting Linear Transponder Uplink – 145.860 MHz – 145.890 MHz
Inverting Linear Transponder Downlink – 435.760 MHz – 435.790 MHz

[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information]

Source AMSAT News Service

Video of EIRSAT-1 talk

Some of the EIRSAT-1 Team

Some of the EIRSAT-1 Team

The EIRSAT-1 CubeSat, built by students at University College Dublin, is due for launch on the Vega rocket in early 2021 and you can help!

The South Dublin Radio Club was honored to host a talk by David Murphy EI9HWB and Fergal Marshall of the EIRSAT-1 team. In this video, they give a comprehensive technical run-through of the satellite’s payload, subsystems and onboard communications.

From an amateur radio and hobbyist point-of-view, there is a full run-through of the uplink and downlink schemes including detailed flow charts (including demodulation and decoding). For details go to 14:30

This followed by a detailed proposal as to how amateur radio operators can contribute to ground station operations via SatNOGs and gr_satellites GNU Radio. For details go to 34:05

EIRSAT-1 particularly wants help with signal acquisition just after launch… the riskiest part of the mission. They want help from amateur radio operators, listeners, scanners, makers, etc… to expand the mission’s ground segment.  For details go to 39:50

There is then a very informative Q&A.

Watch You can help Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1!

EIRSAT-1 – 437.100 MHz

South Dublin Radio Club

Vega launch of three satellites with ham radio payloads

Vega VV16 launch

Vega VV16 launch

Three satellites with amateur radio payloads were on the Vega VV16 launch that took place at 01:51:10 GMT on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

Earlier on the AMSAT Bulletin Board Christophe Mercier had posted:

The Vega rocket (VV16) is scheduled to leave Kourou on 02 September 2020 at 3h36 CEST [launch was postponed until 01:51 GMT on Sept 3] with 53 satellites on board.

One of the satellites that will be leaving is the Amicalsat satellite built by the CSUG (Centre Spatial Universitaire Grenoblois). The measurements made by the satellite will be available to all. They will allow radio amateurs to use them for propagation predictions.

The project’s website (in English) has just been put online

The Amsat-Francophone supported this project

A software (Linux & Windows) is provided for decoding the telemetry and sending it to the database (SatNogs). The user manual is available (in English)

UHF 436.1 MHz AFSK 1200 RS17S
S band 2,415.3 MHz GFSK 1000 kb/s

Reports are welcome. Thank you for your help.

The first 5 people who receive a frame from AmicalSat will receive a gift.
To submit your frame uses the satnogs SIDS or email

Two other satellites :

UHF 437.405 MHz AFSK 1200 UPMST2

Primary 435.450 MHz 1k2 and 9k6 and CW
Secondary 10465.000 MHz OPSK 62.5 kbs and 20 Mbs,%20MektorySAT%201,%20H%C3%A4marik)%20.html


Christophe Mercier
Amsat-F chairman

AMSAT Bulletin Board

Vega Flight VV16

Watch the Vega VV16 launch live at

AMSAT Partners with UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab to Develop MESAT1 CubeSat

CubeSat in Space - Image Credit University of Maine WiSe-Lab

CubeSat in Space – Image Credit University of Maine WiSe-Lab

The University of Maine Wireless Sensing Laboratory (WiSe-Net Lab) and AMSAT have signed an agreement to collaborate on building and operating MESAT1, Maine’s first small satellite, to be launched in space in the next three years.

MESAT1 is Maine’s first CubeSat — one of 18 small research satellites selected by NASA to carry auxiliary payloads into space between 2021–23. It is part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative that provides opportunities for nanosatellite science and technology payloads built by universities, schools and nonprofit organizations to ride share on space launches.

UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab, established in 2005, is involved in aerospace and space research. The lab was founded by Ali Abedi, KB1VJV, assistant vice president for research and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. Lab researchers have developed the first wireless sensor network for NASA’s lunar habitation project and launched wireless leak-detection to the International Space station.

The MESAT1 initiative will enable K–12 students and teachers in Maine to access space data for educational and research purposes, and encourage students to pursue STEM careers.

AMSAT will provide a Linear Transponder Module (LTM) along with integration and operational support for MESAT1. AMSAT’s LTM incorporates a VHF/UHF telemetry beacon, command receiver, and linear transponder. It will be available for radio amateurs worldwide to use when the satellite is commissioned.

AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, celebrated the announcement.
“This is a great day for AMSAT and UMaine’s Wise-Net Lab. This partnership is a true win-win for both education and the amateur radio community. The collaborative effort under AMSAT’s engineering and operations teams has once again succeeded to bring another opportunity to AMSAT.”

[ANS thanks AMSAT and UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab for the above information]

AMSAT News Service

NASA selects Maine’s first small research satellite for launch in next three years

Maine’s CubeSat research satellite mission

UWE-4 News: Successful first demonstration of orbit control on a 1U CubeSat

Altitude of UWE-4 since launch on December 27, 2018

Altitude of UWE-4 since launch on December 27, 2018

The University Wuerzburg Experimental Satellite 4 (UWE-4) successfully used its propulsion system in order to conduct orbit control. The 1U CubeSat, developed and built at the Chair for Robotics and Telematics, is equipped with the electric propulsion system NanoFEEP which has been developed by TU Dresden.

UWE-4 LogoSeveral manoeuvres have been performed within 11 days between June 23rd – July 3rd 2020 such that the altitude of the CubeSat was reduced by more than 100 m, compared to an average of 21 m with natural decay. This marks the first time in CubeSat history that a 1U CubeSat changed its orbit using an on-board propulsion system.

As chance would have it, the team of UWE-4 received a conjunction data message (CDM) in the morning of July 2nd 2020 from the United Air Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron. A conjunction of UWE-4 with a non-operational Iridium satellite (ID: 34147) in the morning of July 5th 2020 with a minimum range of about 800 m was a threat to the safety of UWE-4. An analysis has shown that the altitude of UWE-4 would already be below the Iridium satellite at the time of conjunction. Thus the on-going altitude lowering manoeuvre could only improve the situation and can be considered as a collision avoidance manoeuvre. No further CDMs have been issued regarding this possible conjunction. An analysis of the orbit of the two spacecraft after July 5th 2020 results in a closest approach of more than 6000 m.

Lowering the altitude of a spacecraft in low earth orbit (LEO) is equivalent to a reduction of its lifetime, since satellites in LEO usually burn up during re-entry due to the friction with the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, this experiment is a concept demonstration of a de-orbiting manoeuvre shown at the smallest class of spacecraft in LEO. Today, there is no commitment to carry a propulsion system for spacecraft. However, due to the vastly increasing number of satellites in mega constellations such obligations are being discussed in the space agencies of several space faring countries. The experiment of UWE-4 presents a de-orbiting solution for the fraction of space debris of operational but unused satellites of today and for the mega constellations of tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more updates on UWE-4 and the upcoming launch of NetSat – a formation flying nano-satellite mission from our partner institute Center for Telematics which is expected to be launched September 2020!

Kind regards,

The UWE‑4 Team

UWE-4: First NanoFEEP thruster ignition

UWE-4 435.600 MHz