Cassini-Huygens: Odyssey to Saturn and Titan – Sunday Oct 14

Professor David Southwood

Professor David Southwood

At 10:45am on Sunday, October 14, the Chair of the UK Space Agency Steering Board Professor David Southwood will give a presentation on the Cassini-Huygens mission to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Milton Keynes.

More than 35 years ago, a small group of scientists in Europe met with American counterparts to discuss what might be done to explore jointly the outer planets – in particular Saturn, its rings and moons.

At the time, Europe did not have plans to explore the solar system at all. Indeed, many wanted to keep it that way. Nonetheless, in what seems now a very short time, 6 years later, it was agreed that Europe and the US would jointly perform a grand mission, Cassini-Huygens to Saturn and its major moon, Titan with Europe building Huygens, the Titan lander.

In 2017 almost 20 years after Cassini-Huygens was launched to Saturn the programme finally ended with the Cassini mothership deliberately diving into the Saturn atmosphere. The history of the programme and some of its highs and lows will be outlined.

The AMSAT-UK Colloquium is part of the RSGB Convention at the Kents Park Conference Centre, Timbold Drive, Milton Keynes, MK7 6BZ. Colloquium presentations will be in Lecture Room 5. Download the programme schedule from

Tickets to the event are available at the door, details at

There will be a live stream of the Colloquium presentations at

UK Space Industry in Guardian Newspaper

Dr Chris Bridges M6OBC / 2E0OBC working on STRaND-1 - Image credit Surrey Space Centre

Dr Chris Bridges M6OBC / 2E0OBC working on STRaND-1 – Image credit Surrey Space Centre

The Guardian interviewed radio amateur Dr. Chris Bridges 2E0OBC for their story on the growing UK space industry.

Chris 2E0OBC worked on the Surrey Space Centre’s STRaND-1 spacecraft which carries an amateur radio payload. The newspaper also interviewed Steve Greenland, Senior Systems Engineer at Clyde Space, who worked on the UKube-1 spacecraft which carries the FUNcube-2 amateur radio transponder.

Read the Guardian article at

Both Steve and Chris have given presentations to the annual AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium, see the videos from 2014 at


UKube-1 transponder test

Shin’en2 spacecraft designated as Fuji Oscar 82

Shin'en2 on left - ARTSAT2:DESPATCH on right

Shin’en2 (FO-82) on left – ARTSAT2:DESPATCH (FO-81) on right

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO, OSCAR Number Administrator has conferred on Shin’en2 the designation Fuji OSCAR-82 or FO-82.

Shin'en 2 (FO-82) also known as Abyss 2

Shin’en 2 (FO-82) also known as Abyss 2

In reply to Seiji Fukushima’s, JH6RTO, request for an OSCAR number, Bill said, “I along with all in AMSAT-NA and the world’s Amateur Radio satellite community congratulate you and all involved with Fuji OSCAR-82 and trust that it will fulfill all of its mission objectives. FO-82 joins an illustrious line of Fuji spacecraft built and launched by Japan.”

Shin’en2 is a 17 kg satellite measuring 490×490×475 mm built by students at Kagoshima University in Japan. The aims of the mission were:
• To establish communication technologies with a long range
• To establish a new technology of the ultra-light-weight satellite with UHF downlinks

The orbit is quite different from the previous satellites. Shin’en2 headed to a deep space orbit between Venus and Mars. The inclination is almost zero, which means it will stay in the Earth’s equatorial plane.

The distance from the Sun will be between 0.7 and 1.3 AU. An Astronomical Unit (AU) is 149,597,871 km.

Shin’en2 IARU coordinated frequencies listed as:
• 437.505 MHz CW beacon
• 437.385 MHz Telemetry

Shin’en2 launched in the 4th quarter of 2014 with another amateur radio satellite, ARTSAT2:DESPATCH, on a H-IIA rocket with the asteroid explorer Hayabusa 2 as the main payload.

Kagoshima University satellite development team

Shin’en2 English website

Shin’en2 project website

Japanese Asteroid Mission To Carry Amateur Radio

OSCAR Numbers Policy

Thanks to AMSAT News Service (ANS)

Australian radio hams plan winged spacecraft

CAD image of ThunderStruck above the Earth by Jason VK2FJAB

CAD image of ThunderStruck above the Earth by Jason VK2FJAB

The WIA highlights an ABC news story about the spacecraft being developed by radio amateurs Robert Brand VK2URB and his 12-year-old son Jason VK2FJAB.

The WIA news report says:

An Australian man and his 12-year-old son are hoping to make history with the development of the smallest spacecraft able to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and land safely.

Robert Brand VK2URB is the developer of the craft, named ThunderStruck, a small winged re-entry vehicle capable of leaving Earth’s orbit and flying around the solar system, at least as far as Mars or the near-Earth asteroids.

What makes ThunderStruck unique was that it could fly up and back for basic experiments without going into orbit or it could fly into orbit on board a rocket then re-enter, something that was not being done anywhere else.

Robert Brand VK2URB at a recent Lodon space conference

Robert Brand VK2URB at a recent London space conference

Project ThunderStruck has the backing of Australian government bodies and universities and is on the cards to be a fully working spaceship in about five years.

Another unique aspect of Project ThunderStruck would be the involvement of Mr Brand’s 12-year-old son Jason VK2FJAB in the first phase of testing, scheduled for April, the transonic testing phase would attempt to test the 2.5-metre craft at speeds close to Mach 2, faster than the speed of sound.

Mr Brand said his son worked with him releasing and bringing back high-altitude balloons from the stratosphere and had considerable expertise in space technology, in spite of his young age.

Mr Brand said if the project came together it would be unique and give Australia a much-needed boost in space development

Read the full ABC story at

Project ThunderStruck

4M-LXS Lunar amateur radio payload

4M payload under test

4M payload under test- Credit LuxSpace

Beijing plans to launch a Lunar spacecraft on a journey lasting 196 hours that should take it around the Moon before returning and re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. It will carry a 14 kg payload known as 4M-LXS which was developed at LuxSpace. The launch is expected to take place on October 23, 2014 at 1800 UT.

4M stands for Manfred Memorial Moon Mission in memory of Professor Manfred Fuchs, founder and chairman of OHB group, Bremen who passed away on April 27, 2014.

Full Moon 2010 - Credit Gregory H Revera

Full Moon 2010 – Credit Gregory H Revera

The 4M-LXS amateur radio payload will transmit on 145.980 MHz +/- 2.9kHz (-40°C to +125°C), Doppler max: -2200Hz, +1000Hz. The continuous transmissions will start 4670s (77.8 minutes) after launch (-0, +600s). Five successive 1 minute sequences are sent during the 5 minutes cycle. The digital mode JT65B will be used, this can be decoded by radio amateurs using the free WJST software, there will also be ‘human readable’ tone transmissions. See the transmit sequence description on page 14 of 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment.

During the lunar flyby, the range will be 399,636 km at the most and the distance to the Moon will be between 12,000 and 24,000 km depending on the final injection vector. The transmitter produces 1.5 watts to a simple Monopole antenna which should give a Signal to Noise ratio ( S/N) comparable to amateur moon bounce (EME) signals at the Earth’s surface.

LuxSpace wish to encourage radio amateurs around the world to receive the transmissions and send in data. There will be a number of Experiments and Contests with prizes to the winners in each experiment and category. Details are given on page 19 of 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment.

A Java client will be made available to automatically send the WSJT ALL.TXT and the decoded.txt files to a central database.

Delivery convoy - Image credit Xinhua

Delivery convoy – Image credit Xinhua

The orbiter is one of the test models for Beijing’s new lunar probe Chang’e-5, which will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth. The launch is aimed at testing the technologies that are vital for the success of Chang’e-5. The orbiter will be launched into Lunar Transfer Orbit (LTO) then will perform a flyby around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere after 196 hours (9 days).

The orbiter arrived by air in Xichang, Sichuan on Sunday, August 10 and was then transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Read the paper 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment

EME 2014 slides: 4M, A Moon Flyby Mission

Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M)

LuxSpace Sarl on Facebook


The launch will be transmitted by CNTV/CCTV: or or

Beijing to test recoverable moon orbiter

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Pages

Free WSJT Software

OHB mourning the loss of its founder Manfred Fuchs

4M Payload - credit LuxSpace

4M Payload – Credit LuxSpace

ISEE-3 Presentation Video Now Available

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA

ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

Mario Lorenz DL5MLO and Achim Vollhardt DH2VA from AMSAT-DL Bochum gave a presentation on the ISEE-3 (ICE) spacecraft to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford, on July 26, 2014.

The video of the presentation which included a live demonstration of telemetry reception from the spacecraft can now be viewed on the web or downloaded to your PC. The presentation slides and a recording of ISEE-3 telemetry are also available.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) is a NASA spacecraft that was launched in 1978 to study Earth’s magnetosphere. It was repurposed and renamed the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) in 1983 to study two comets and has been in a heliocentric orbit since then, traveling just slightly faster than Earth. It’s finally catching up with Earth from behind with the closest approach expected in August, 2014.

Since NASA no longer has the capability to receive and command the spacecraft a group of amateurs, with NASA’s permission, decided to do it for themselves.

Bochum Amateur Radio Facility

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

On March 1-2, 2014 radio amateurs at the Bochum Amateur Radio Facility in Germany were able to detect the beacon signal from the spacecraft over a distance of 43 million km. After some changes to the ground equipment and aligning the receive antenna to the predicted position in the sky, the 2 GHz beacon signal could positively be identified due to its frequency, the position in the sky and the frequency shift due to the radial velocity (Doppler shift).

The 20m dish at Bochum was used to receive the signals. In 2003, AMSAT-DL converted this former industrial monument into a fully functional groundstation for deep space probes. Since 2009 the facility is being used by volunteers almost full time as ground receive station for data from the STEREO mission with its two spaceprobes monitoring the sun from different viewing angles.

In June Dennis Wingo KD4ETA and other volunteers succeeded in commanding the spacecraft using the Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico.

Links to the ISEE-3 presentation video, slides and a recording of the ISEE-3 telemetry signal are at

Watch 2014 ISEE-3 Reboot Trajectory by Mike Loucks