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

Summer issue of OSCAR News now available

OSCAR News Issue 230 June 2020 Front CoverE-members of AMSAT-UK can now download the June 2020 edition of OSCAR News, issue 230, here.

The paper edition edition will be sent to postal members and should arrive in the next 2-3 weeks.

In this issue:
• From the Secretary’s Keyboard
• Meetings & Events
• Filtered 2400 MHz Driver Amplifier Kits Now Available
• AMSAT-UK Shop Update
• AREx – Gateway Amateur Radio Exploration
• AMSAT-UK Sunday Morning Nets
• Schedule released for E2STAYHOME satellite operation
• A Filtered S-Band Driver Amplifier for Software Defined Radios
• FUNcube-1 in continuous transponder mode
• The “Ekran” Heli-yag, a hybrid antenna for circular polarisation
• Huskysat-1 Transponder is Open
• Raspberry Pi FUNcube satellite telemetry decoder now available
• SMOG-P: A Successful Space Project
• Report from the IARU Region 1 Satellite Coordinator – July 2020

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

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 the quarterly publication 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

PDF sample copy of “Oscar News” here.

Join AMSAT-UK using PayPal, Debit or Credit card at

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News here.

Raspberry Pi FUNcube satellite telemetry decoder now available

RPi decoder receiving telemetry from JY1Sat in Interactive mode

RPi decoder receiving telemetry from JY1Sat in Interactive mode

The FUNcube Team has announced the availability of FUNcube CubeSat satellite telemetry decoder software for the popular Raspberry Pi computer board.

The original FUNcube telemetry decoder and Dashboard was designed to run on Windows devices and the FUNcube team did publish the telemetry format in accordance with the Amateur Satellite Service traditions and requirements. The Team had planned to opensource the Telemetry Decoder and provide an implementation on Linux, but several new missions after the original FUNcube-1 delayed their plans somewhat.

Late 2019, the Team had the opportunity to develop a low power/low impact ground station, based on Docker containers, for use at the Neumayer III Antarctic base at DP0GVN. This led us to evolve the code such that it would run on a Raspberry Pi.

The Linux implementation is suitable for use on Raspberry Pi versions from 2B+ to 4 and with a FUNcube dongle (Pro or Pro+). The software will tune a dongle to search for and track all three FUNcube compatible spacecraft currently operational. The Telemetry Decoder is configured with five active decoders operating concurrently so it can deal with situations where more than one of the spacecraft are overhead at the same time.

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

The decoder and warehouse uploader run as a Docker container for convenience shell scripts have been provided to launch the container in one of two modes:

• “Interactive Mode” is when the Telemetry Decoder operates in the foreground , when FUNcube compatible telemetry is received, the corresponding hex data is displayed on the terminal screen.

• “Background Mode” allows the telemetry decoder to run as a Docker image in the background where it operates much like any other background service on Linux. This mode allows for the automatic restarting of the telemetry decoder after a shutdown or reboot of the Raspberry Pi, therefore making it suitable for a remote deployment situation.

*Both modes, when connected to the internet, will upload the received data to the FUNcube Data Warehouse and the totals displayed on the Ranking Page in the normal manner.

*Uploading to the warehouse requires online registration with the FUNcube Data Warehouse.

All the code for the telemetry decoder, and the scripts to build the Docker images, are now published online under a GPL Open Source License at the FUNcube-Dev GitHub account

Alternatively, it possible to buy a pre-formatted microSD card for the Pi from the AMSAT-UK shop at

Full instructions PDF can be downloaded from

FUNcube Data Warehouse

Indian radio amateur starts petition for licence change

Department of Telecommunications India LogoRohit Bokade VU3OIR has started a petition requesting a change to the Amateur Radio licence in India to permit all grades of licence to use the amateur radio satellites.

In India holders of the Restricted grade of licence (VU3 prefix) are not permitted to use amateur radio satellites or communicate with the International Space Station. The exam requirements for a Restricted licence are of a similar level to the UK Intermediate.

Rohit says:

“Last decade has seen a rapid increase in Amateur Satellites, especially the ones made by educational institutes. As we are slowly moving towards an era when Space will be democratized, more and more students are becoming interested in joining the Amateur radio community.”

“By keeping the amateur radio service bound to General grade license, we are preventing a vast majority of restricted grade operators consisting of a major portion of students yet to get general grade license, from operating these satellites even if it is possible to operate them within the power bounds of restricted grade. We request you through this petition to allow restricted grade operators to operate amateur satellite service within their emission power bounds.”

Read the full petition text at

Rohit Bokade (VU3OIR)

The two grades of licence in India are General (400w HF, 25w VHF/UHF) and Restricted (50w HF, 10w VHF/UHF). The exam syllabus and licence regulations can be downloaded from

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications, released the 2018/19 Amateur Radio statistics in their Annual Report. See page 60 (PDF page 62) at

Previous Annual Reports

15 Canadian CubeSats to launch from 2021

Canadian CubeSat Teams - credit Canadian Space Agency

Canadian CubeSat Teams – credit Canadian Space Agency

Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) report 15 CubeSat satellites are being built by students in Canada, all are expected to carry amateur radio payloads.

The RAC post says:

The Canadian Space Agency has been providing support and guidance to 15 teams of university and college students across Canada who are building satellites. These satellites are in the “CubeSat” format, based on a standardized architecture of 10 centimetre cubes. All 15 proposed satellites will be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS), possibly starting in 2021.

RAC is involved in explaining how, and under what conditions, Amateur Radio can be used for communications with these spacecraft, and a requirement of the frequency coordination process with the International Amateur Radio Union is an endorsement from RAC.

We were aware that the suspension of university classes due to the global pandemic could affect the teams’ progress, but I am pleased to report that all of the teams have chosen to use Amateur Radio communications and we continue to receive requests from them, although at a slower rate than in the past. About half of the teams have now received endorsements for their projects from RAC and have sent their proposals to the IARU for frequency coordination.

Designing and constructing CubeSats is a complicated, multi-year process. These projects will develop the students’ skills in many facets of engineering, science, technology, business and project management. Once in orbit, the satellites will also assist pure and applied scientific research and some may offer facilities that Amateurs across Canada and around the world can use.

Source RAC

Canadian CubeSat Project Teams