The UK Space Agency has issued a public consultation seeking views of stakeholders on proposed changes to the Outer Space Act 1986.
This is in response to the Government Growth Review published in March 2011, in which the Government set out its wish to reform the Outer Space Act 1986 by introducing an upper limit on liability for UK operators.
The Outer Space Act covers all UK satellites irrespective of size, from tiny low cost educational CubeSats up to large commercial £500 million satellites.
The key aspects of the consultation are the proposals to waive the capped liability and insurance requirement for in-orbit operation of any satellite that meets the criteria of a CubeSat and to remove the requirement for unlimited indemnity from satellite operators.
The existing Outer Space Act imposes heavy additional costs (>£50,000 per annum) on those wishing to launch small educational CubeSats. The additional costs act as a major deterrent and to-date no such UK CubeSat has been launched.
The public consultation closes August 31, 2012.
Students at Montana Sate University (MSU) are planning to build their new amateur radio satellite PrintSat with nano-carbon-impregnated plastic using a 3D printer.
David Klumpar KD7MFJ of MSU said 3D printing “will further lower the costs and speed the development of very small satellites, enabling future scientific missions comprised of dozens of satellites flying in formation.”
Jim White WD0E, president of Colorado Satellite Services, explained that “Additive manufacturing (also called 3-D printing) has evolved in the past few years to be a very inexpensive and fast way to make mechanical parts. With PrintSat, the entire structure of the small satellite will be printed. As the first use of additive manufacturing for a satellite, we plan to show it’s not only cheaper and faster, but that we can make parts that cannot be made in traditional ways.”
When in orbit PrintSat will measure and report on the characteristics of the Windform XT2.0 printed material and plating during its mission life in order to verify the utility of additive manufacturing for spacecraft structures and mechanisms.
PrintSat plans to use the same frequencies as RAMPART and use GMSK 9k6 Ax.25 packet radio. It is aiming for a May 2103 launch from the Wallops Flight Facility into a 500km 40 degree inclination orbit.
Other satellites planning to fly on the same launch include Blacknight-1, Spa-1 Trailblazer, Phonesat, Kysat- II, Rampart, NPS-SCAT, Copper, TJSat, Tethersat, Lunar orbiter/lander CubeSat, Swampsat, Cape-2, Dragonsat-1 and Ethersat.
Montana State University Space Science and Engineering Laboratory https://ssel.montana.edu/
Windform XT2.0 http://www.windform.it/windform-xt-2-0-en.html
IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Status Pages http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru
Masat-1, the First Hungarian Satellite made history again when it captured the first satellite space photographs on 8 March 2012 This first photo shows the southern section of the African continent. The next photos were made of Australia and Antarctica, in a quality and quantity unprecedented in the CubeSat realm.
The on-board camera of Masat-1 has a mass of about two Euro coins. The maximal resolution is 640×480 pixels. A width of 1 pixel corresponds to a distance of 1 to 10 kilometres on the photos recorded.
The flawless operation of the passive attitude control system made it possible to capture photographs ahead of schedule, but with this passive system only the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth may be targeted by the camera. As the first month of the mission passed, almost every mission objective was fulfilled. The flawless run of the satellite opens a new scientific and technological horizon for experiments which we plan to perform in the coming months.
There is an increasing demand for Eath observation satellites worldwide both from the public and the private sector, as such spacecraft can capture on-demand, high resolution, up to date images of a specific area of the Earth’s surface. The captured images might be used for disaster relief operations,weather forecast services, crop yield estimation and tracking of agricultural operations, civil transport and cartography applications and also defence purposes.
As part of the ESA Education programme, seven CubeSats designed and built by European universities were placed into orbit by Europe’s new Vega launch vehicle on 13th February 2012.
For more information please visit ESA’s Education CubeSat pages.
The UK’s Alpha team from Bearsden Academy in Glasgow were awarded first place in the second European CanSat Competition. 14 secondary school teams, from different ESA member states, participated in the finals of the competition at the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway.
(JPG, 61 Kb) CanSats are miniature simulation satellites the size of a soda can. The students had to build their own space experiments, fitting all the major subsystems including radio communications on 433/434 MHz and power into just 350ml.
The tiny CanSats were designed to separate from their rocket and conduct their missions as they descended on parachutes to the ground for recovery by the teams. They were launched in pairs from seven small Intruder rockets up to an altitude of about 1km.
(JPG, 68 Kb) Despite very strong winds, all of the CanSats were successfully recovered, with the exception of the Spanish one, which failed to communicate with the ground station.
The UK team received good telemetry data on 434.25 MHz, but were a little disappointed that their miniature rover deployed earlier than planned. The other teams, from Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Romania, Italian, Irish, Greek, Portugese had varying degrees of success.
Once they analysed the results of their missions, the teams were judged by a board composed of technical experts from space agencies and industry. Following the UK team in second place was the Icaromenippus 3D team from the 3rd General Lyceum of Mytilini, Strati Myrivili, Greece, with the Portuguese Azorean Shearwater team from EBS Santa Maria, Vila do Porto in the Azores in third place.
“The standard of the projects was really high and the judges were very impressed by the professional attitude of the students,” said Helen Page, the ESA CanSat Project Coordinator. “They learned an enormous amount about space science, engineering and technology, as well as developing practical skills and experiencing the excitement of a launch campaign at a world-class rocket range.”
(JPG, 72 Kb) The 2012 European CanSat competition was organised by ESA’s Education Office in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education (NAROM). For more details about the teams involved visit the ESA website.
The Scottish CanSat Competition was organised using the STEM Ambassador Network, a list of the Scottish schools involved and 70cm frequencies is at
Scottish CanSat Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scottish-Cansat-Competition/136524309785701
CanSat website http://cansat.eu/