UK STRaND-1 CubeSat Video

Dr Chris Bridges and STRaND

Dr Chris Bridges and STRaND hardware

In this video Surrey Space Centre’s Dr. Peter Shaw talks us through the anatomy of the highly advanced UK CubeSat STRaND-1.

The innovative amateur radio STRaND-1 CubeSat aims to carry a NEXUS Android Smartphone into space to demonstrate the feasibility of using cheap Smartphone electronics to control a spacecraft.

A software-based speech synthesiser will be included to pay homage to the UOSAT family of satellites (OSCAR-9 and OSCAR-11) that were launched in the 1980′s.

STRaND-1 will carry an amateur radio payload with an AX.25 packet radio downlink on 437 MHz using data rates of 9k6 or 19k2 bps.

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More Optical Beacon Tests From FITSAT-1

(C) Tsuyoshi Watanabe Ebina City, Kanagawa Japan 1:24:23-1:24:25JST, 12 Dec 2012
Takahashi e160, Diameter short focus telescope 16cm (F=530mm, F3.3)
Nikon D800E, ISO12800, 2 seconds exposure

Further transmissions from the optical LED beacon on the amateur radio CubeSat FITSAT-1 are planned for January 10-15. Weather permitting the satellite beacon should be visible using binoculars.

2013, Flashing LED Schedule (times GMT):
10th Jan. 23:57:30 – 23:59:30  New Delhi India        (10Hz Green 2min)
11th Jan. 13:52:30 – 13:54:30  San Francisco USA  (10Hz Green 2min)
12th Jan. 22:00:30 – 22:02:30  Bangalore India        (10Hz Green 2min)
13th Jan. 14:41:30 – 14:43:30  Melbourne Australia (10Hz Red     2min)
14th Jan. 11:03:30 – 11:05:30  Oklahoma USA         (10Hz Green 2min)
15th Jan. 22:27:30 – 22:29:30  Wulumuqi China       (10Hz Green 2min)

The FITSAT-1 CubeSat was developed by students at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology (FIT) in Japan. As well as the optical LED experiment the satellite carries several amateur radio payloads: a CW beacon on 437.250 MHz, a telemetry beacon on 437.445 MHz and a high-speed data downlink on 5840.0 MHz.

Information on how to see the optical beacon signal can be found on the Visual SAT-Flare Tracker 3D site at

FITSAT-1 website

FITSAT-1 Optical Beacon video

Further information and pictures of FITSAT-1 and the other CubeSats deployed from the ISS on October 4, 2012 is at

Appointment of Frank Bauer, KA3HDO as AMSAT VP-Human Spaceflight Programs

AMSAT-NA President Barry Baines is pleased to announce that effective August 1, 2012, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, will be returning as AMSAT’s Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs. This role will include AMSAT’s leadership on the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program and amateur radio operations pursuits on other Human Spaceflight vehicles proposed by NASA, International Space Agencies and domestic and international commercial spaceflight organizations.

Bauer made the following comment regarding his reappointment: “I look forward to working again with AMSAT as we bring the excitement of human space exploration pursuits and amateur radio communications into the communities of the world, inspiring youth to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers”. Continue reading

KySat-2 Kentucky Space-Blog

Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer at Kentucky Space, has agreed to provide regular updates to blog readers on the progress of the next satellite now that the X-ray hunter, “CXBN,” has flown. His first installment can be read below. Enjoy.

Here at Kentucky Space we are furiously at work on the consortium’s next satellite. While our engineering work is moving along on KySat-2 (drawing below) we wanted to start “K2 Tuesday’s” to update readers on the progress of the spacecraft, as well as introduce them to basic satellite systems and some of the people who will be working on it. I wanted to start with a little history of Kentucky Space’s orbital satellite program.

Kentucky Space began as a consortium of universities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2006. From the beginning students worked on KySat-1, the state’s first orbital satellite. Through the next few years the students and university faculty learned the in’s and out’s of spacecraft design, testing and communication. KySat-1 (pictured on clean room bench, Above) was eventually selected as one of three primary satellites on NASA’s first ELaNa mission which was eventually launched in March of 2010, along with the NASA GLORY spacecraft. KySat-1 was a one-unit (1U) CubeSat that rode to orbit as a secondary payload. Sadly, due to a launch anomaly with the rocket, none of the payloads made orbit. But Kentucky Space and its partner institutions have continued to work, and Morehead State University’s “CXBN” satellite was launched just weeks ago.

KySat-2, or “K2,” will fulfill the original mission of KySat-1, but will incorporate even better components and the added knowledge acquired the past few years by Kentucky Space. K2 will include an attitude determination system, which will also serve as a camera that will take pictures of both the earth and star fields. Additionally the spacecraft will transmit telemetry in the amateur radio spectrum allowing HAM radio operators to capture it and check the health of the spacecraft as it makes its way around the globe every 90 or so minutes.

Currently KySat-2 is serving as a backup secondary payload on two NASA missions slated for launch in Q3 of 2013. This means delivery dates to the launch site in April or May of 2013. The satellites subsystem are currently being designed with prototypes being ordered this week. Within the next six weeks we will be putting together a FlatSat version of KySat-2 to test communication between its subsystems and refining the spacecraft software. We will keep you up to date through the entire process.


I’ll be back next Tuesday with another update. Until then,

Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer, Kentucky Space


Assembled Amateur Radio 2m Filtered Pre-Amps Now Available

This is the completely assembled version of the 2m filtered preamplifier from G0MRF. The connectors supplied are a high quality PTFE insulated reduced flange Ntype for the connection to the antenna and a chassis mounted female BNC for the RF output to the receiver, this also carries the 5 V DC input from a FUNcube Dongle or the DC supply from an external bias tee or radio. *** LIMITED AVAILABILITY *** When they are gone, they are gone!

Read the Measurement Report here.

Buy the assembled 144 MHz pre-amp from the AMSAT-UK shop at

The pre-amp is also available in kit form, read the Construction Notes here.

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ LF/MF/HF/VHF/UHF Software Defined Radio Video

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Software Defined Radio

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Software Defined Radio

The FUNcube Dongle Pro+ SDR is a complete redesign of the original FUNcube Dongle with many performance improvements and additional features.

It covers LF, MF, HF, VHF, UHF and L Band (coverage is 150kHz-240MHz and 420MHz to 1.9GHz), and has an increased frequency span of 192kHz.

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