STRaND-1 Update – Ground Station Improvements Underway

STRaND-1 Ground Station Antennas

STRaND-1 Ground Station Antennas

Surrey Space Centre report that the STRAND-1 satellite is healthy but they have had new ground station teething problems. That has diverted effort and delayed the eagerly awaited switch-on of the Google Nexus One smartphone carried by the CubeSat.

The team are currently scouting University of Surrey rooftops for a better antenna position for STRaND-1.

The STRaND-1 downlink frequency is 437.568 MHz using 9k6 bps AX.25 packet radio. Details of the telemetry format are at https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/strand-1/strand-1-telemetry/

Surrey Space Centre https://www.facebook.com/pages/Surrey-Space-Centre/147861435274871

Follow Surrey Space Centre https://twitter.com/SpaceAtSurrey

Watch Live Video of UK STRaND-1 Smartphone Satellite Launch

The STRaND-1 build and test phase took just 3 months

The STRaND-1 build and test phase took just 3 months

The UK smartphone satellite STRaND-1 is expected to launch from India on Monday, Feb. 25 at 12:25 GMT. You can follow the launch on Twitter or watch live video.

STRaND-1 and other CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads are planned to launch on the ISRO PSLV-C20 rocket into a 785 km orbit.

STRaND-1 carries an amateur radio 9600 bps AX.25 packet radio downlink on 437.568 MHz. It is hoping to be the first ever satellite to carry a smartphone into space and is also believed be the first satellite to use a part produced with a 3D Printer.

On Twitter the Surrey Space Centre @SpaceAtSurrey tweeted:

Official launch hashtag of STRaND-1 spacecraft is #S1Launch. Post launch we will be using #STRaND1 hashtag. Launch time:12.25 GMT 25th Feb 2013 #UniOfSurrey #SSTL

Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) for PSLV – C20 @STRaND mission has cleared the launch on Monday, Feb 25, 2013. @university of surrey #S1Launch

Live video launch feeds for Monday’s PSLV launch http://www.webcast.gov.in/live/ and http://ibnlive.in.com/livetv/

Launch times can and do change at the last minute so follow Twitter for the latest information.

Follow Surrey Nanosats https://twitter.com/SurreyNanosats

Read more about STRaND-1 at http://www.amsat-uk.org/?page_id=12196

STRaND-1 telemetry format http://www.amsat-uk.org/?page_id=12875

STRaND-1 videos http://www.amsat-uk.org/?page_id=12472

Other satellites on the same launch http://www.amsat-uk.org/?p=12180

STRaND-1 on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nanosats

Provisional initial track of STRaND-1

Provisional initial track of STRaND-1

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.

Continue reading

WARP DRiVE for UK STRaND-1 CubeSat

Dr Chris Bridges working on STRaND

Dr Chris Bridges working on STRaND

The SSTL Space Blog reports on WARP DRiVE (Water Alchohol Resistojet Propulsion system), a novel new propulsion system that will help the STRaND-1 cubesat to perform manoeuvres. STRaND-1 is the first cubesat to have two types of propulsion system. As well as the WARP DRiVE, it will be equipped with a pulsed plasma thruster system which will provide full-axis control with low power, mass and volume requirements.

WARP DRiVE works by pushing water alcohol out of a tiny hole (just 0.2mm across) to produce thrust. The main advantage of this system is that it’s much smaller than regular space propulsion systems measuring in at about the same width as a drinks coaster. The WARP DRiVE will also provide more thrust than other similar systems whilst maintaining a comparable specific impulse (the efficiency of the propulsion system).

Read the SSTL Space Blog at http://www.sstl.co.uk/Blog/January-2013/WARP-speed-ahead

STRaND stands for Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration and the programme is intended to be a long-term arrangement between the space company SSTL and academic researchers at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC), with STRaND-1 the first of a long line of STRaND nanosatellites.

STRaND-1 aims to carry a NEXUS Android Smartphone into space and plans to use data rates of 9k6 or 19k2 bps for the AX.25 packet radio downlink on 437.575 MHz. A software-based speech synthesiser will be included to pay homage to the UOSAT family of satellites.

The SSTL employees involved with the STRaND programme are volunteers. It is a condition of the programme that volunteers from SSTL and SSC use their own, free time for STRaND activities (such as lunches and breaks). The project has no budget for staff so is entirely dependent on volunteers.

To watch a presentation about STRaND-1 given by Dr. Chris Bridges to the AMSAT-UK 2012 International Space Colloquium following these steps:
• Go to http://www.batc.tv/
• Click on “Film Archive
• Select “AMSAT 2012″ in the Category box and click on Select Category
• Select “A03 – STRaND-1” in the Stream box and click on Select Stream
• Click the play button on the video player window

The videos can be downloaded for later use, for instance at a club meeting, by clicking on the “Click Here” link underneath the video player.

STRaND-1 CubeSat & BBC Stargazing Live

STRaND-1 CubeSat Plasma Propulsion Test

STRaND-1 CubeSat Plasma Propulsion Test Firing

BBC TV have been filming at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) for an item on the STRaND-1 CubeSat mission for Stargazing Live.

Continue reading

In space no one can hear you scream?

Scream in Space won a competition run by Surrey Satellite Techonology Ltd (SSTL) in 2011 to propose an idea for an app to run on their STRaND-1 smartphone nanosatellite.

With the help of the public, we’re testing the hypothesis that in space no one can hear you scream. It’s a statement that has been well known in popular culture since appearing as the tagline to the 1979 sci-fi film ‘Alien’ – but how many people have really tested this claim? Whilst the conclusion of this experiment may seem clear to many, it is our hope that through this investigation thousands of people worldwide can learn more about several aspects of physics (including orbits, acoustics and much more) and get excited about the field of satellite technology!

In coming up with this idea, we thought about what features the Android phone has which are not usually present on conventional satellites – and naturally the speaker and microphone are two such components. It would seem a shame not to leverage the power of these additions, and so the idea was born…

Read more about the project on the SSTL blog and New Scientist, or listen to the Cambridge University Spaceflight team discussing Scream in Space on the Space Boffins podcast earlier in 2012:

Enter your scream! Here

Vote the best scream here

Hurry only Ten days left to Scream

2012 Cambridge University Spaceflight