Three PhoneSat cubesats will be aboard the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares(TM) rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in eastern Virginia. Orbital Sciences reports on their website the soonest that the Antares rocket can be ready to retry the launch is April 19. The launch on April 20 was postponed because of unfavorable weather conditions. The next launch attempt is currently scheduled for April 21 at 2100 UTC. The launch will be broadcast on NASA TV. The April 17 launch attempt was scrubbed.
Phonesat carries an amateur radio payload on 437.425 MHz, 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. Continue reading →
Dr Chris Bridges from the Surrey Space Centre has advised that the amateur radio beacon on their STRaND-1 CubeSat, the first UK CubeSat became intermittent over the Easter weekend. STRaND-1, was launched on February 25 at 1231 UT on the PSLV-C20 rocket from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Satish Dhawan space centre. Both Mike Rupprecht DK3WN and Nader Omer ST2NH have reported that no signals have been heard since Sunday.
Radio amateurs are asked to listen for STRaND-1 transmitting a 9k6 bps AX.25 signal around 437.568 MHz (+/- Doppler) over the next few days. Please report any positive results to C.P.Bridges[at]surrey.ac.uk
Photo of the combined MIHS, Cal Poly, and NASA teams as they did their first integrated testing of the StangSat satellite at Kennedy Space Center.
Information Week published news of the Merritt Island High School team who developed StangSat.
The fourth round of selections in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative also included a team of high school students at the Merritt Island High School in Brevard County, Florida. They plan to build a cubesat containing two accelerometers to measure the amount of vibration in the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer, or P-POD case that holds the cubesats during launch and then deploys them.
Congratulations to Hector Martinez, CO6CBF and Joe Murphy, EI5EV for completing the first satellite contact between Cuba and Ireland on April 3, 2013 on FO-29.
The distance between CO6CBF and EI5EV is 6955.1 km. Both stations had a 66 second window within the FO-29 footprint. Hector wrote, “Doppler is always in play. We did the calculations based on the great feature implemented on SatPC32 V12.8b using the option of seeing the frequency you are at the satellite receiver. This was our common reference point. I was very satisfied when I heard Joe exactly on the frequency I was expecting!”
Jim Tittsler ZL2IA/AI8A/7J1AJH has posted photos of New Zealand’s KiwiSAT at the 2013 Auckland Technology Convention hosted by the Auckland VHF Group. Fred ZL1BYP and Ian ZL1AOX brought the satellite in its “clean cabinet” to the convention so that the audience would have a chance to see it. Ian had brought along his station (and dummy loads) and demonstrated commanding the satellite and collecting telemetry.
KiwiSAT will carry both amateur radio communications including linear and FM transponders; and a scientific experiment for small satellite attitude control The mission also carries a special beacon which will be used by radio amateurs around the world to collect data for environmental monitoring. KiwiSAT development is completed ready for launch into a LEO orbit with a target launch date in mid 2013. The project is funded by radio amateurs through personal and club donations, and by membership ofAMSAT-ZL. Donations may be made via a link to PayPal on this page.
AMSAT’s focus on STEM education and development of a cubesat platform capable of flying a science mission with a reliable communications link resulted in our previous selection of Fox-1 in the third round and RadFxSat (Fox-1B) in the recent fourth round of NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative. Actual launch vehicle selections are dependent on the availability of auxiliary payload space and on what orbits are required.
AMSAT VP Engineering Tony Monteiro reports that he has been in conversation with NASA about our orbital preferences/priorities and we’re awaiting a response from NASA as to a specific launch selection. In the meantime, the engineering team expects to complete Fox-1 in 2013 and have RadFxSat ready in the 2nd half of 2014 in order to take advantage of launch opportunities that may be offered by NASA.