FUNcube-1 / AO73 celebrates 3 years in space

FUNcube Team Monitor Launch

FUNcube Team Monitor Launch

Monday, November 21, 2016, marked the third birthday in space for the 985 gram spacecraft FUNcube-1 / AO73.

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

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

FUNcube-1 was launched at 07:10 UT on November 21, 2013 and its first signals were received immediately after deployment over the Indian Ocean by amateurs in South Africa. Since then it has been operating continuously in either its education mode or, with the transponder active, in amateur mode when in eclipse and at weekends.

The FUNcube team are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing their telemetry records to the Data Warehouse and also to those who are using FUNcube-1 for educational outreach to schools and colleges around the world. This important part of our mission is intended to encourage young people to develop an interest and passion in all STEM subjects for their future.

FUNcube-1 Launch Day Mug

FUNcube-1 Launch Day Mug

The spacecraft is operating nominally – the telemetry indicates that all the sub-systems are fine. The battery voltages, solar panel charge currents and on board temperatures are virtually unchanged since launch.

In addition to FUNcube-1, there are now similar FUNcube transponders operating in low earth orbit on the UKube-1 and EO79/QB50p1 CubeSats.

The team has recently contributed to the development of Nayif-1, which is presently awaiting launch, and is currently working on a number of further CubeSat and microsat projects.

Happy Birthday AO73!

Get your 73 on 73 Award, details at https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) website https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-website/

FUNcube Yahoo Group https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

EO79 FUNcube-3 transponder commences regular operation

EO79 (QB50p1) FUNcube-3 Transponder Passband - Credit David Bowman G0MRF

EO79 (QB50p1) FUNcube-3 Transponder Passband – Credit David Bowman G0MRF

AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL working with ISIS BV are delighted to announce that the FUNcube 435/145 MHz SSB/CW transponder, on the 2U CubeSat QB50p1 (EO79), has now been activated with a regular schedule.

EO79 (QB50p1) CubeSat - Credit ISIS

EO79 (QB50p1) CubeSat – Credit ISIS

Due to power budget constraints the transponder cannot be operational 24/7 and an orbit specific schedule has been developed. The transponder will commence operation 27 minutes after the spacecraft enters sunlight and will stay on for a period of 25 minutes. This schedule may be modified over the forthcoming weeks as a result of experience.

The transponder nominal frequencies are:
Uplink: 435.047-435.077 MHz LSB
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz USB
The output power is approximately 400mW.

David Bowman G0MRF has been attempting to characterize the actual operating frequencies of the EO79 Transponder and suggests that the operational bandwidth of the transponder might be considered to be 25 kHz rather than 30 kHz. His report is available here. On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

From observations, there seems to be no downlink below 145.946 MHz. By taking readings at Time of Closest Approach (TCA) on low elevation passes, which for me is about 20 minutes into the 25 minute schedule. The transponder appears as follows:

Downlink.
Lower limit is quite well defined at 145.946.
Upper limit roles off slowly above 970. But 145.971 seems a reasonable limit. Very strong signals are visible to 973 but are heavily attenuated.

Uplink
Upper limit (for 145.946) = 435.0723
Lower limit (for 145.971) = 435.0473

This suggests the transponder has a nominal bandwidth of 25 kHz. My best guess at a translation frequency is 581.0183MHz

Qb50p1 (EO79) was launched in June 2014, as a collaborative effort led by the von Karman Institute and ISIS-BV, into a sun synchronous 620×600 km polar orbit as a precursor spacecraft for the QB50 mission. The primary function of the satellite was to test a number of the systems and science payloads. This phase has now been completed and we are grateful to VKI and ISIS BV for carrying this transponder into space and, again, to ISIS, for developing and uploading the new, required, flight code.

We hope you have lots of fun using EO79!

ESEO Project Update October 2016

Dr Chris Bridges 2E0OBC and Pete Bartram from Surrey Space Centre with the AMSAT-UK payload and some of the ESEO electronics

Chris Bridges 2E0OBC and Pete Bartram from Surrey Space Centre with the AMSAT-UK FUNcube-4 payload and some of the ESEO electronics

A team of three from AMSAT-UK and Surrey Space Centre visited Forli in Italy in mid-October where the Engineering Model of the ESEO satellite is being assembled.

ESEO, The European Student Earth Orbiter, is a 50 kg satellite from ESA Education incorporating payloads from AMSAT-UK and Universities around Europe.

The AMSAT-UK FUNcube-4 payload will provide a 1260/145 MHz FM transponder and 145 MHz 1200 bps BPSK telemetry beacon to provide a telemetry downlink that can be easily received by schools and colleges for educational outreach purposes. The data will be displayed in an attractive format and provide stimulation and encouragement for students to become interested in all STEM subjects in a unique way.

The target audience is primarily students in Secondary and Higher education, the project includes the development of a simple and cheap “ground station” operating on VHF frequencies in the Amateur Satellite Service. The ground station would comprise an omni-directional antenna feeding a FUNcube DonglePRO+ SDR receiver which will receive the signals direct from the satellite and transfer the data to specially developed graphical software running on any Windows laptop.

David Bowman G0MRF holds the ESEO bottom plate during the fit check of the L band patch antenna

David Bowman G0MRF holds the ESEO bottom plate during the fit check of the L band patch antenna

During the visit to Forli, the team began work integrating the AMSAT-UK payload into a FlatSat version of ESEO at the facilities of Sitael, who are the prime contractor for the mission. One of the main objectives was to check communication between the payload’s CAN bus, the ESEO On-Board Data handling system (OBDH) and the science payloads. Until now the communication between units, using the CAN-Open protocol had only been simulated as each part of the satellite had been assembled in a different part of Europe. After a tense few hours and a few inevitable refinements to the firmware, data started flowing as planned and another milestone had been achieved.

When on orbit, the ESEO AMSAT-UK payload will transmit telemetry on 145.930 MHz at 1200 bps for educational outreach in a similar way to the FUNcube-1 satellite (AO-73). Additionally, In the event of a failure of the main 2.2 GHz S-Band transmitter, the payload will act as a redundant communications system for transmitting science data. To achieve this the payload can increase its transmission rate to 4800bps.

The team also carried out a fit check for the circular polarised L band patch antenna and checked out the L band to VHF FM transponder.

The flight model of ESEO is due to be delivered at the end of  the 2nd quarter of 2017. An Invitation to Tender for the launch has been issued by ESA.

Watch An RF look at ESEO by David Bowman G0MRF

2016 International Space Colloquium Presentations Playlist
https://www.youtube.com/user/AMSATUK/playlists

ESEO https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/eseo/

FUNcube transponder on EO-79 active

QB50p1 and QB50p2 - Image Credit ISIS

EO-79 and EO-80 – Image Credit ISIS

On March 25, 2016, the EO-79 SB/CW transponder was activated and will be available during Easter.

The FUNcube transponder subsystem on QB50p1 (EO-79) had been provided by AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL and is a similar subsystem as on FUNcube-1, but without the telemetry downlink circuitry.

The current software running on EO-79 does experience occasional reboots. When these reboots happen, the transponder is automatically turned off and will have to be turned back on by a command station. The FUNcube team has selected a few command stations to do so, but be advised the transponder may be off.

TLEs:
AMSAT keps name: EO-79
Celestrak keps Name: QB50P1
Celestrak file: cubesat.txt
NORAD #    40025
COSPAR designator    2014-033-R

Frequencies:
Uplink: 435.035-435.065 MHz LSB
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz USB

EO-79 has been set to only beacon the normal AX.25 beacon every 30 seconds instead of 10 seconds. The beacon frequency is 145.815 MHz and consists of AX.25 frames on BPSK. more details about the downlink can be found on the ISIS HAM page at http://isispace.nl/HAM/qb50p.html

Just like FUNcube-1, the crystal oscillator circuits exhibit drift with temperature. This means manual tuning will probably work best.

Lastly, the commanding team availability will be limited over Easter, so please report the transponder being on or off on the status page of AMSAT: http://www.amsat.org/status/
It does not appear in the table, but it does in the reporting drop-down.

73 and have FUN

Wouter Weggelaar, PA3WEG
AMSAT-NL
AMSAT-UK

2013 QB50 Precursor CubeSat announcement
https://amsat-uk.org/2013/07/20/qb50-amateur-radio-transponder-payloads-to-launch-2014/

Video: Inside a Satellite Clean Room

Tom Scott and FUNcube-1 Engineering Model

Tom Scott and FUNcube-1 Engineering Model

Tom Scott was given a tour of the Innovative Space Logistics clean room facility by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG. He got to see the FUNcube-1 Engineering Model and the new Nayif-1 CubeSat which carries an amateur radio SSB/CW linear transponder.

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

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

Tom Scott writes:

Welcome to Innovative Space Logistics, in the Netherlands: they invited me inside their clean room to see an actual CubeSat satellite that’s going into space soon! (No, this isn’t a sponsored video: I paid my own way there!) Go look at their site: http://isilaunch.com/ – and if you need to send something into space, get in touch with them!

The satellite model I’m holding is holding is the engineering model of FUNcube-1 and the flight satellite that I definitely couldn’t hold is Nayif-1, a cooperation between the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the American University of Sharjah.

Watch Inside a Satellite Clean Room

If there’s something cool at your university or company, get in touch! https://www.tomscott.com/contact/

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch Rev4 20100609

FUNcube Mission Patch

Tom Scott
https://tomscott.com/
https://facebook.com/tomscott
https://twitter.com/tomscott
https://instagram.com/tomscottgo/

FUNcube http://funcube.org.uk/
Nayif-1 https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/nayif-1/

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Find an amateur radio training course near you https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/

AO-73 in continuous transponder mode

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

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

The amateur radio satellite AO-73 will be operating in continuous transponder mode throughout the festive season until the evening of Sunday, January 3.

Why not take full advantage of this activation and get your 73 on 73 Award, details at https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) website https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-website/

FUNcube Yahoo Group https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/