What’s Next for Fox-1A?

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The video linked below was provided to all of the GRACE mission CubeSat teams by Justin Foley of Cal Poly.

Justin says “A few years back we put together a video that outlines the process we go through to get CubeSats on the Atlas V. This video follows the payload we put on NROL-36, aka OUTSat, which launched from VAFB and carried 11 cubes. The process is very similar to what your satellites are going through now.”

You saw the photos of the P-POD integration in the Cal Poly clean room yesterday, which is where this video begins the story. The last two CubeSats were being integrated in their P-POD today (March 26). All of the P-PODs will then head up to the Naval Postgraduate School next week for integration in the NPSCuL and acceptance testing, and then be sent on to Vandenberg (cue video) –

(Thanks to Justin D. Foley for the YouTube video link.)

Fox-1A Has Final Checkout (Photos)

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AMSAT Fox-1A undergoing the Cubesat Acceptance Check at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, California prior to P-POD integration.

AMSAT Fox-1A undergoing the Cubesat Acceptance Check at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, California prior to P-POD integration.

Clean room

Clean room

More testing

More testing

AMSAT Vice President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY with Fox-1A during cubesat acceptance and integration.

AMSAT Vice President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY with Fox-1A during
cubesat acceptance and integration.

Jerry, N0JY prepares Fox-1A for insertion into the P-POD

Jerry, N0JY prepares Fox-1A for insertion into the P-POD

The paperwork says Fox-1A is ready for the P-POD

The paperwork says Fox-1A is ready for the P-POD

In line for P-POD loading.

In line for P-POD loading.

AMSAT and University of Iowa News

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AMSAT and University of Iowa Partner on Scientific Payload for Fox-1D

AMSAT and the University of Iowa have agreed to include the University’s
HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping
experiment on Fox-1D. According to Don Kirchner, KDØL, Research Engineer at
the University of Iowa, “HERCI is intended to provide a mapping of radiation
in a low earth orbit. This is of scientific interest for planning CubeSat
test flights for low energy X-Ray detectors.”

“The instrument consists of a digital processing unit (DPU) derived from
processors currently in orbit around Saturn on Cassini and on the way to
Jupiter on the Juno spacecraft,” says Kirchner. “The DPU was shrunk to a CubeSat
form factor with funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.”

The University of Iowa’s history in spaceflight research dates back to the
earliest satellites. As Kirchner puts it, “HERCI can be considered a direct
descendent of the first University of Iowa spaceflight instrument flown on
Explorer I in 1958. The instrument is being constructed as a Senior Design
Project by four Electrical Engineering students from the UI College of
Engineering, under supervision of Space Physics engineering staff from the
Department of Physics and Astronomy.”

AMSAT’s VP of Engineering, Jerry Buxton, NØJY, noted the win-win benefits of
the agreement, stating, “This partnership with the University of Iowa
illustrates our strategy of leveraging the new CubeSat design to assist
universities that need a way to fly scientific payloads while providing a
viable ongoing platform for amateur radio.”

 

HERCI_photo_1

In a Space Physics laboratory in Van Allen Hall, University of Iowa senior Electrical Engineering students Patrick Maloney, KD9CPD; Tyler Dunkel, KE0CHR; Kevin Klosterman, KD9CPF; and Bryan Senchuk, KD9CPE inspect the HERCI development boards.

HERCI_photo_2

The HERCI Engineering Model boards prior to initial test. The boards will be tested before installation of the radiation detector and hybrid circuits. The digital processor board is the first use of the Y90 microprocessor firmware which was donated by Monte Dalrymple,KR6DC, of Systemyde Corporation.

 

Photos courtesy of William Robison, KC0JFQ.

AMSAT Antenna Deal

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AMSAT-NA and M2 Antenna Systems Announce Member-Only Special Pricing

M2 Antenna Systems, Inc. of Fresno, CA introduced the new satellite antenna
LEO-Pack using their 436CP16 and 2MCP8A yagis during the 2015 HamCation in
Orlando, FL.

The 436CP16 and 2MCP8A are light weight, circularly polarized antennas
optimized for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite communications or other applications
where a small circular polarized antenna is required. Optimum match and gain
designed for the satellite band.

Rear mounted for easy coaxial cable routing. A preamp (not included) can be
mounted close to the antenna for almost no coax loss before the preamp,
maximizing your receive performance.

Computer design techniques help keep spurious side lobes down for optimum
signal to noise rations. Both the 436CP16 and 2MCP8A feature the same CNC
machined, O-ring and silicone-gel sealed, driven element assemblies common to all M2Yagi Antennas. This insures years of trouble free performance regardless of weather.

M2 designed a custom LEO cross boom to pair these two antennas together for
a very manageable amateur satellite ground station.

AMSAT-NA and M2 Antenna Systems are pleased to announce that the LEO-Pack
system is being offered to members only at $499, shipping included (US only). Non-
members can join AMSAT-NA at time of purchase to participate in this special
purchase. The M2 list price is $545.99.

To place your order, visit the AMSAT store at:
http://store.amsat.org/catalog/

M2 Antenna System’s LEO-Pack page can be found at:
http://tinyurl.com/nyhgmcr

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

AMSAT-NA Board Approves Technology Development Seed Funding

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The AMSAT Board of Directors met on December 2, 2014. As a part of AMSAT’s “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge, the Board of Directors approved $5000, within the 2015 engineering budget, to be used as seed money for future satellite development. Additional fund raising sources will also be investigated and pursued.

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said, “We’re prepared to return to space starting in 2015 with a fleet of satellites that will equal, if not exceed, the performance, and availability to the average ham, of our previously popular AMSAT OSCAR 51. Meanwhile, we are preparing for the future looking to potentially leverage new technologies, to provide the best opportunities for enhancing amateur radio’s presence in space.”

Director Tom Clark, K3IO, noted the need for a defined future systems program. Tom said, “We saw a significant number of both new and old members who want to see the development of critical system elements for future opportunities by 2018-20. As I see it, critical ‘tall poles’ in applying potential technologies require significant work to begin now to ensure success.”

AMSAT is interested in supporting technology ideas that enhance the utility of using the CubeSat form factor to support more robust amateur satellite capabilities.   The scope of potential interest in not limited; some examples of  technology enhancement might include:

+ Microwave technology suitable for use in amateur spacecraft. This   includes the need to identify optimum frequency bands.

+ Complementary, low-cost ground systems, including an effective ~1º antenna pointing system.

+ Define and develop optimum coding and modulation schemes for low power microwave use.

+ Attitude determination & control systems to point the spacecraft   antennas towards the user while maximizing solar panel production.

Individuals interested in learning more about this initiative should contact AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY using the contact form found here.

Meanwhile, the development of AMSAT’s current series of the Fox-1 cubesats continues on schedule. AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY reported during the Board meeting that construction and testing of five Fox satellites is on schedule:

+ Fox-1A will launch on a NASA ELaNa flight during the 3rd quarter of 2015 from Vandenberg AFB,

+ Fox-1B will fly with the Vanderbilt University radiation   experiments expected in 2016.

+ Fox-1C will launch on Spaceflight’s maiden mission of the   SHERPA multi-cubesat deployer during the 3rd quarter of 2015.   This flight was purchased by AMSAT.

+ Fox-1D is a flight spare for Fox-1C. If not needed as a spare   it will become available to launch on any open launch slot which   becomes available and be submitted in a CSLI proposal in 2015.

+ Fox-1E is built as a flight spare for Fox-1B but has been   included in a student science proposal as part of the November,   2014 Cubesat Launch Initiative (CSLI) for an ELaNa flight slot.   If selected the Fox-1B spare will fly as Fox-1E.

More details of the “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge can be found on-line at:
http://www.amsat.org/?p=3395 – and – in the November/December 2014 AMSAT Journal, currently in-transit to your QTH.

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Board Of Directors for the above information]

Design The Next AMSAT Satellite!

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At the 2014 AMSAT Space Symposium AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton announced the plan for the next generation of AMSAT satellites. “The door is open for everyone, to submit their ideas. AMSAT Engineering has a long term strategy and this is the first step.”

The Engineering long term strategy includes the following goals

  • Advancement of amateur radio satellite technical and communications skills
  • Enhance international goodwill
  • Grow and sustain a skilled pool of amateur radio satellite engineers
  • Establish and maintain partnerships with educational institutions
  • Develop a means to use hardware common to all opportunities

With respect to the last goal Jerry said “Within the bounds of the type of satellite it takes to achieve any of the various orbit opportunities, let’s consider in those plans the possibility of developing a platform that can suit any and all orbits.  Perhaps a modular CubeSat, using a common bus as we did in Fox-1, which gives great flexibility in building and flying different sizes and configurations of CubeSats with simple common-design hardware changes.”

Submissions should be thorough and contain the following information.  The purpose of the proposal is not just in suggesting an idea; being an all-volunteer team AMSAT needs your help in carrying out the idea.

  • Design
  • Implementation – CubeSat platform
  • Estimated timeline
  • Cost – volunteer resources, commercial (COTS) units
  • Launch – how does it get to orbit
  • Strategy – how it fits into AMSAT’s Engineering long term strategy

As mentioned above the idea should be based on the CubeSat platform. This is the standard through which we will look for launches in the foreseeable future.

Continue reading

New Challenge Coin Premium for AMSAT Fox Donations

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AMSAT is excited to announce that a new premium collectable is now available for qualifying donations to the Fox satellite program. AMSAT has commissioned a unique challenge coin for donors who have contributed at the $100 level or higher. This challenge coin is shaped as an isometric view of a Fox-1 CubeSat, complete with details such as the stowed UHF antenna, solar cells, and camera lens viewport. Struck in 3mm thick brass, plated with antique silver, and finished in bright enamel, the coin is scaled to be approximately 1:4 scale, or 1 inch along each of the six sides. The reverse has the AMSAT Fox logo.

10665294_827617400594275_1401063514767949235_nThe coins are scheduled for delivery just prior to the 2014 AMSAT Space Symposium, and will be first distributed to donors attending the Symposium. Coins will also be made available to qualifying donors that have contributed since the Fox-1C announcement on July 18, 2014 upon request. Donations may be made via the AMSAT website, via the FundRazr crowdsourcing app at http://fnd.us/c/6pz92/sh/561Zd, or via the AMSAT office at (888) 322-6728.

The Fox program is designed to provide a platform for university experiments in space, as well as provide FM repeater capability for radio amateurs worldwide. Fox-1A and 1C are set to launch in 2015, and Fox-1B (also known as RadFXSat) is awaiting NASA ELANA launch assignment. Further information on the Fox project can be found at http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=1113.

You may donate here via PayPal. Donations will be marked specifically for Fox-1C. Note that PayPal usually allows you to donate with a credit card, even if you do not have a PayPal account. However, PayPal requirements differ depending on your country. We have no control over this issue.

Fox-1 Goes to Cal Poly

Fox-1 is headed to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA for integration into the P-POD that will later be mounted in the NPSCuL* and on the launch vehicle.

While the NPSCuL may be coach class, Fox-1 gets to travel first class to San Luis Obispo with some express assistance from the friendly TSA at DFW Airport.  AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, worked with the TSA and a supervisory officer will meet him at the security checkpoint Tuesday morning in order to provide safe passage and handling of Fox-1 through the TSA security checkpoint and inspection process.  ESD protection and gloves are required as well as gentle handling, so everything is in the box with Fox.  Fox-1 needs to be guaranteed a safe arrival at Cal Poly for integration.

Photos below show Fox-1 in her final steps for shipping, with the last set of solar panel covers added (thanks to all who contributed to the solar panels!) and packed in her own Pelican case for the ride.  An small entourage of support equipment is still required including a way to safely return the solar panel covers to Texas to later be delivered to their donors, so the bigger “all in one” case still goes as checked baggage.

Stay tuned for more news as Fox-1 undergoes integration on Wednesday, March 25!

*Please see http://tinyurl.com/lcmfndc for a pdf describing the NPSCuL

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