ARISS Celebrates School Contact #1000!

March 10, 2016: Today the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station team (ARISS team) proudly celebrated its 1000th school radio contact!

The very first ARISS contact took place in 2000, and Astronaut Tim Kopra, amateur call sign KE5UDN, on the International Space Station (ISS) did the honors for today’s 1000th link-up to the University of North Dakota. Kopra spoke in real time to excited scholars in Grand Forks at the event organized by the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium (NDSGC). An additional program milestone—this was the first amateur radio contact with the ISS that has been hosted in North Dakota.

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RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) Selected for Participation in NASA’s CSLI

radiationOn February 18, 2016 NASA announced the selection of RadFxSat-2, the Space Radiation Effects CubeSat, for participation in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.  RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) is another partnership opportunity between Vanderbilt University ISDE and AMSAT, similar to RadFxSat (Fox-1B) which is scheduled to launch in January 2017.  Vanderbilt University, with cooperation from AMSAT, submitted the RadFxSat-2 CSLI proposal in November 2015.

Out of 21 proposals, NASA is recommending 20 for participation in the CSLI opportunity.  RadFxSat-2 is prioritized #1 out of the 20 selected and has been offered an opportunity for a launch date.  The opportunity is being evaluated by Vanderbilt University and AMSAT to determine if it meets our mission and orbital parameters.

RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) will carry a radiation effects experiment similar to RadFxSat (Fox-1B) but will study new FinFET technology.

The Fox-1E spacecraft bus will be built on the Fox-1 series but will feature a linear V/U (Mode J) transponder “upgrade” to replace the standard FM repeater which Fox-1A through D have carried.  The downlink will feature a 1200 bps BPSK telemetry channel to carry the Vanderbilt science in addition to a 30 kHz wide transponder for amateur radio use.

Further details of the mission and timeline will be published as they become available and are cleared for public release.

KG5CCI & PY2RN New Distance Record on AO-7

Dave Swanson, KG5CCI reported that on February 10th, at 2009UTC he made a scheduled contact with Eduardo Erlemann, PY2RN, using AO-7 Mode B, from Shinnal Mountain just west of Little Rock, Arkansas.  His 10 digit grid locator for the contact was EM34ST20SC, and Eduardo’s station is located at GG66LW77JQ in Vinhedo/SP, Brazil. Using this mapping website for reference, this equates to 8030.895 km which we believe to be a new record for AO-7 Mode B.

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Fox-1Cliff & Fox-1D in Pre-launch Environmental Testing

Slated for launch in 2016 on the inaugural Spaceflight SHERPA mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, Fox-1Cliff and -1D carry university experiments from Pennsylvania State-Erie, Vanderbilt, University of Iowa, cameras provided by Virginia Tech, as well as amateur radio voice repeaters capable of U/V or L/V operation.

Fox-1Cliff_Boards These are the boards of Fox 1 Cliff (Fox 1 C renamed as a memorial dedicated to Cliff Buttschardt who turned Cal Poly into Cubesat central and caused the explosion of cubesats onto the world). In the upper left, you can see the darker board has a VT on it. This is the Virginia Tech camera which is functional, has been integrated into the flight software and into the stack. Continue reading