Antares CubeSat Launch Scrubbed

The planned launch of the Antares rocket carrying three CubeSats with amateur radio payloads has been postponed.

Space Flight Now report the countdown for the launch of the first Antares rocket was halted with 12 minutes on the clock after a second stage umbilical prematurely separated.

The test flight is to prove the booster’s reliability before future flights to service the International Space Station. A new launch date has yet to be announced.

Space Flight Now

Antares CubeSat Launch

Antares Rocket Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Antares Rocket Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The launch of Antares carrying three CubeSats with amateur radio payloads is expected to take place on Wednesday, April 17.

ANS reports that three PhoneSat cubesats will be aboard the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares(TM) rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in eastern Virginia scheduled for April 17 at approximately 5:00 p.m. (EDT). The launch will be shown live on NASA TV at and also at

The three PhoneSats carry amateur radio payloads on 437.425 MHz, each transmits at intervals so all three should be receivable during a pass.

The callsign will be KJ6KRW all three satellites will transmit using AFSK (1200 bps) modulation, AX.25 packet coding. The two PhoneSat 1.0 satellites, Graham and Bell, transmit with a periodicity of respectively 28 seconds and 30 seconds. The PhoneSat 2.0 beta satellite, Alexandre, transmits with a periodicity of 25 seconds.

PhoneSat was chosen as one of the winners in the Aerospace category for the Popular Science magazine “Best of What’s New 2012″ awards. The PhoneSat is a technology demonstration mission consisting of three 1U CubeSats intended to prove that a smartphone can be used to perform many of the functions required of a spacecraft bus.

The satellite is built around the Nexus smartphone which will be running the Android operating system and will be enclosed in a standard 1U CubeSat structure. The main function of the phone is to act as the Onboard Computer, but the mission will also utilize the phone’s SD card for data storage, 5MP camera for Earth Observation, and 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis magnetometer for attitude determination.

One of the nanosatellites, powered by the HTC Nexus One smartphone, will send back pictures of Earth. The other two, running on the Samsung Nexus S, will have two-way S-band radio allowing them to be controlled from Earth.

With a short lifetime of only about one week, the satellites have no solar cells and operate on battery only.

An updated website with telemetry info is now available. Please note the launch date/time may change.

The Antares launch includes the commercial DOVE-1 satellite, a technology development experiment. The satellite had requested IARU coordination for a 1 watt transmitter on 145.825 MHz to downlink a 1200 baud AFSK AX.25 beacon with telemetry and health data. The AMSAT News Service reported in ANS-027 that according to the IARU DOVE-1 will no longer be using frequencies in the amateur radio bands.

It appears the USA FCC granted the experimental callsign WF9XKA for the use by Dove 1, it is believed it may use a downlink on 2420 MHz. Search for Cosmogia at
Dove-1  information
Dove 2 is slated to launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on April 19 on a Soyuz-2-1a,


TLEs / ‘Keps’ for recent launches

Check the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) for the latest information

Thanks to AMSAT News Service (ANS), AMSAT-NA, AMSAT-UK and Samudra Haque N3RDX / S21X for the above information.

Attracting the next generation

PhoneSat Stand at 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire

PhoneSat Stand at 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire

In Aviation Week Michael Mecham reports the world’s university students come to work at Ames, which takes a leadership role in several areas for NASA, including smallsats, astrobiology and super computing.

“We have lots of internationals,” says NASA Ames Research Director Peter Wooden, referring to his young talent pool. “This is where opportunity comes for them. The ideas are what matters. It’s not your nationality.”

That opportunity arises because they stand such a good chance of getting their hands on a project like the PhoneSat-1/-2, a pair of cubesat-sized (10 cm square) nanosats due for launch Apr. 17 out of Wallops Island on an Antares, the new commercial launcher from Orbital Sciences.

The big deal about the PhoneSats is that they use the computing guts of smart phones bought at a big box store. They’re early tests of a low-risk, low-cost approach to satellite manufacturing that emphasizes the exploitation of off-the-shelf materials without a lot of fuss about whether they are “space proven.”

Worden says the aim is to arrive at the day when anyone with an idea can find a way onto a satellite by developing a “satellite app.”

Read the Aviation Week story by Michael Mecham at

Aviation Week

All three PhoneSats will be transmitting on 437.425 MHz. TLE’s and further information should be available at

Antares-110 Amateur Radio CubeSat Integration Completed

Antares-110 CubeSat Integration - Image Credit Spaceflight Inc

Image Credit Spaceflight Inc

Several CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads are planned to launch on the Antares-110 mission in April.

On the CubeSat mailing list Jason Andrews President and CEO of both Spaceflight Inc and Andrews Space posted:

Spaceflight Inc recently completed CubeSat integration activities for the Antares demonstration mission including deployment dress rehersal.  Spaceflight has two ISIPod deployers on this mission.  One contains three 1U spacecraft for NASA Ames Research Center and the other contains a 3U spacecraft for a commercial customer.  An image of the integration activity can be found here:

Among the amateur radio CubeSats on the launch are three Phonesats which will all carry Google Nexus smartphones similar to the pioneering UK smartphone satellite STRaND-1 that was launched in February. There will be two PhoneSat 1.0’s and one PhoneSat 2.0 on the launch.

PhoneSat 1.0 cost about $3500 and is built around the Nexus One smartphone, it operates on battery power only with a mission lifetime of approx 1 week.

PhoneSat 2.0 is more expensive at $8000. It is built around the Nexus S smartphone and has solar panels on each face and a mission lifetime until de-orbit of approximately 2 weeks.

The IARU amateur satellite frequency coordination panel have coordinated frequencies of 437.425 MHz and 2401.2-2431.2MHz for the PhoneSats.

Also on the launch is the Dove-1 CubeSat. The Antares-110 launcher is expected to deploy the satellites into a 250 km 51.6° inclination orbit.

Nexus S PhoneSat v2 Plans Summer 2013 Launch

PhoneSat v2 is a technology demonstration mission intended to increase the functional capabilities of PhoneSat v1 and demonstrate complete satellite functionally in a low cost package.

The satellite is built around the Nexus S smartphone which will be running the Android operating system and will be enclosed in a standard 1U CubeSat structure.

Continue reading

Phonesat – Popular Science Magazine Winners

Phonesat ConstructionPhonesat, which hopes to launch in December carrying an amateur radio payload on 437.425 MHz, has been chosen as one of the winners in the Aerospace category for the Popular Science magazine “Best of What’s New 2012” awards.

Continue reading