A quartet of small satellites, better known as CubeSats, flew high above California’s Mojave Desert on June 15, 2013 on a demonstration mission to study the launch environment all the way from liftoff to landing.
The spacecraft are being developed to help simplify and lower the cost of small-satellite missions that could fly on smaller, dedicated rockets. Although the rocket’s parachute deployed prematurely and the vehicle tumbled to a hard landing, the flight is considered a success and a valuable learning opportunity. Teams now are retrieving their data and gearing up for another flight in the coming months.
Watch CubeSat Demo Flight Tests Technologies
Among the CubeSats was StangSat built by students from Merritt Island High School (MIHS). This pre-launch video briefly describes the CubeSats to be launched as well as the new light-weight CubeSat Deployer. There is also an interview with Roland Coelho WH7BE.
Watch CubeSats and Launcher to Test Satellite Innovations
Merritt Island High School Students Build CubeSat http://amsat-uk.org/2013/04/11/merritt-island-high-students-cubesat/
MIHS CubeSat on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/MIHS-CubeSat/110920062311996
The Surrey Space Centre (SSC) Research blog is dedicated to improving access to the cutting edge research output of the Surrey Space Centre. The standard process for disseminating research output through conference and journal publication is a lengthy and cumbersome process.
The blog aims to provide open access to SSC research output by sharing pre-print copies of publications. Each article is presented in its own, individual post, and SSC encourage visitors to comment and provide feedback on their work. This two-way process of sharing will provide their research staff with robust feedback on the work, complimenting reviewer feedback. In return, visitors are able to access our latest research accomplishments, many months before becoming accessible through journals or conference proceedings.
Situated in Guildford, UK, the Surrey Space Centre is a forms part of the Department of Electronics Engineering at the University of Surrey. Research is focused on many areas of space technology, including antenna and RF systems, astrodynamics, autonomy and AI, control systems, on-board data handling, environments and instrumentation, propulsion and robotics. Their website can be found here for further details.
Surrey Space Centre Research blog http://surreyspacecentre.wordpress.com/
The 3rd UKHAS conference is going to take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013 in London. This year the venue will be at Greenwich University on the banks of the river Thames and just down the hill from the Royal Observatory and the (dreaded to HAB) meridian line (the venue is 51.48381, -0.0050) http://goo.gl/maps/KeOyc The event is open to all.
A lecture theatre and adjacent classroom are being hired so will have a lot more space than last time. Lunch will be included as before.
The day plan will be most likely lectures in the morning and then in the afternoon workshops, demos and more informal talks. Provisional talks include:
James Coxon M6JCX – Pico Balloons (3 years on)
Ed Moore M0TEK – How GPS works
John Graham-Cumming – Debugging HABs (Part 2)
Ara Kourchian – US Ballooning
Dave Akerman M6RPI – Pi in the sky + Afternoon workshop
If you would like to do a talk or organise a workshop please contact James Coxon M6JCX directly. Email jacoxon at gmail.com
The conference will start at 0930 and finish 1700, afterwards there will be the traditional pub trip this time into Greenwich.
Greenwich University is easy to get to, it is on the DLR, lots of bus routes, mainline trains, Thames clipper river boat and not too far from the Jubilee line. There is some on street parking in the area but most will be pay and display.
Tickets will be £30 per person but we will offer a reduced price for students of £15, this enables the hire of the lecture theatre, classroom and also provides lunch. Tickets are on sale from HAB supplies.
The UKHAS conference is open to anyone.
This video is the Imperial College Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (ICSEDS) entry to the RBS ESSA bronze awards. It showcases their projects and events throughout the 2012/13 year.
In the video are interviews with Engine Design Group member Madeleine Alexander, High Powered Rocketry Member Zoe Edwards, High Altitude Ballooning member Oscar Woolnough and ISEDS Vice Chair Joseph Dudley.
ICSEDS thank Imperial College London Chemical Engineering Department for their support in our High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Project (434 MHz). Also thanks to Alex Cherney at http://www.terrastro.com and David Peterson for giving permission to use the two spectacular clips in the introduction, of the video.
Watch ICSEDS 2012/13 – Imperial College Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by Google with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas using High-Altitude Balloons (HAB) placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 20 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds.
The solar powered balloons are expected to stay aloft for over 100 days at a time and support not only air-to-ground Internet communications but also balloon-to-balloon communications enabling the signal to be relayed, if required, by several balloons to a ground-based station connected to an ISP, then onto the global Internet.
Google plans to sending up 300 balloons transmitting on 2400 MHz and 5800 MHz around the world at the southern fortieth parallel that would provide coverage to New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina. The company hopes to eventually have thousands of balloons flying in the stratosphere at an altitude of 20 km.
The first 30 balloons are being launched from New Zealand see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10890750
Among those involved in the project is Erin King AK4JG, a student at MIT. She was winner of the 2012 Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year Award. See a video of her earlier balloon project while still at high school and a video of her presentation ‘Launching Radios and Other Cool Stuff into the Stratosphere’ at http://amsat-uk.org/2012/07/03/arnewsline-ham-of-the-year-erin-king-ak4jg/
Google Project Loon http://www.google.com/loon/
The students included senior EE majors:
Bryce Salmi KB1LQC
Brent Salmi KB1LQD
Ian MacKenzie KB3OCF
The project was to develop a Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) circuit which is used to maximize the power obtained from a solar panel by forcing the cells to operate at their most efficient voltage regardless of the voltage required by the payload. One can also think of this as an impedance match. This optimum voltage changes slightly with variations in solar irradiance but changes greatly due to variations in solar panel temperature.
The MPPT utilizes a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller to communicate telemetry data with the Fox satellite Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU) designed by AMSAT for transmission to Earth via ham radio. The senior design group consisting of Brenton Salmi (KB1LQD), Bryce Salmi (KB1LQC), Ian MacKenzie (KB3OCF), and Daniel Corriero successfully implemented an analog MPPT designed for use in orbit over the five year mission intended for Fox-2 providing the amateur radio community with a 3U CubeSat carrying amateur radio communications equipment.
The students completed a working prototype which was on display in the AMSAT engineering booth at Dayton in May.
The project was entered into Texas Instruments’ 2013 Analog Design Contest for university students.
The AMSAT MPPT project was selected as one of the top 10 semi-finalists and the students were invited on an all-expenses paid trip to TI’s contest summit to be held July 21-23 in Dallas where the final winners will be announced.
Congratulations to the Fox-2 RIT MPPT team!
Technical Document (8 pages of technical information HIGHLY recommended reading):
Theory of Operations (In-depth technical documentation):
MPPT Testing Operational Walk-through:
Thanks to Bryce Salmi KB1LQC, ANS and Tony AA2TX for the above information.
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO and AMSAT VP for Human Spaceflight Programs presents an update on the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program.
The presentation was given at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention. Frank takes a quick look at 30 years of amateur radio on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, some changes at NASA that are affecting ARISS, and finishes with how you can become involved.
Watch AMSAT ARISS Program Status, by Frank KA3HDO – 2013 Dayton Hamvention
During the AMSAT Forum at the Dayton 2013 Hamvention, Mark Hammond, N8MH, AMSAT VP for Education Relations gave a quick overview of AMSAT’s recent educational activities, AMSAT’s partnership with the ARRL Education & Technology Program, and how you can become involved.
Watch AMSAT Education and You, by Mark N8MH – 2013 Dayton Hamvention
Please send them to g3wgm [at] amsat.org and/or g3vzv [at] amsat.org
As you will be aware we are presently producing four issues each year so please get in touch with us if you have any concerns about deadlines.
Please submit your articles in any of the following formats:– Text: txt, rtf, rtfd, doc, docx, odt,
Spreadsheets: Excel or OpenOffice,
Images: tiff, png, jpg
(Ideally please send graphics/pics separately, ie not embedded in doc files, etc)
The editors are here to help you so please shout if you have any concerns.
Many thanks in advance for your contributions!
Jim & Graham
E-members of AMSAT-UK can now download the PDF of the Summer edition of the OSCAR News magazine here (as well as previous 2012 issues).
The paper edition should be posted to members soon.
In this issue
• GAMANET: Networking QB50
• Spectrum pressures continue
• Tim Peake to be first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
• CubeSat launches 2013
• OFCOM Consultation
• IARU News
• AMSAT- FOX- launch date announced
• We love the amateur radio enthusiasts!
• D-STAR digital amateur communications in space with OUFTI-1 CubeSat
• FUNcube Report
• The ESEO Project – Spring Update
• Ham Video—a DATV transmitter on Columbus by Gaston Bertels ON4WF
• Raspberry Eye in The Sky
• Shorts and Notices
The AMSAT-UK Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.
Membership of AMSAT-UK is open to anyone who has an interest in amateur radio satellites or space activities, including the International Space Station (ISS).
E-members of AMSAT-UK are able to download OSCAR News as a convenient PDF that can be read on laptops, tablets or smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Join as an E-member at Electronic (PDF) E-membership
PDF sample copy of “Oscar News” here.
Join AMSAT-UK using PayPal, Debit or Credit card at
E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News here.
These frequencies are within, and adjacent to, spectrum planned for release by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD plans to release 40 MHz of spectrum between 2350 and 2390 MHz and a further 150 MHz from 3410 to 3600 MHz for new civil uses. The technical and regulatory aspects of this release will be the subject of a full consultation in due course. In advance of this, we are consulting on proposals to make changes to the Amateur Radio Licence for these bands.
Ofcom say: it is likely that the released MoD spectrum will be used for wireless broadband using 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) or LTE advanced technology.
Based on our technical analysis we believe that the impact and likelihood of harmful interference being caused by amateur uses to new uses in the release band [2350-2390 and 3410-3600 MHz] are sufficiently severe to preclude continued use following the release.
We are also consulting on proposals for the adjacent bands [2310-2350, 2390-2400 and 3400-3410 MHz]. Our current thinking is that amateurs should continue to be granted access to the adjacent bands although with additional terms in the licence which amend the current terms of access to these bands. Continued access would be on the basis that interference may not be caused to new and existing uses in the release and adjacent bands and that no protection from interference from those new uses can be expected.
The consultation closes on July 22, 2013.
The consultation and information on how to respond is available at
The Wireless Waffle site notes that radiomicrophone users were compensated when they there forced out of their spectrum. Read the Wireless Waffle story at http://www.wirelesswaffle.com/
It is worth noting that in some countries amateur radio access to the entire 2300-2400 MHz band has been completely lost to 4G LTE.
Sweden loses 2300 MHz band
Eire to sell 2300 MHz
Australia – LTE in 2300-2400 MHz
Ofcom 2400 MHz Consultation closes June 19
AMSAT-UK representative Howard Long, G6LVB, in his presentation at the AMSAT Forum at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention describes recent activities at AMSAT-UK.
FUNcube-1 and UKube-1 (which carries the FUNcube-2 boards) both have dual STEM education and ham radio missions, including SSB/CW linear transponders. Howard also touches on the FUNcube ground station for schools using the FUNcube Dongle Software Defined Radio (SDR) and preliminary plans for other satellites.
It is expected that FUNcube-1 wil be launched around November 2013 on a Dnepr rocket from from Dombarovsky near Yasny. UKube-1 with the FUNcube-2 boards currently plans to launch in the 3rd quarter of 2013 from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz-2.
Watch FUNcube Satellites, by Howard G6LVB – 2013 Dayton Hamvention
FUNcube Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FUNcube
FUNcube Dongle LF/MF/HF/VHF/UHF SDR http://www.FUNcubeDongle.com/
The first of a number of satellites planned for Project Fox, Tony reviews the motivation for building a CubeSat, the components that comprise Fox-1, and the capabilities and experiments included. He describes the launch assigned by NASA for Fox-1 and gives a brief look at future Project Fox satellites.
The FM voice uplink of Fox-1 will be on 435.180 MHz and the downlink will be 145.980 MHz with an optional sub audible FSK digital carrier channel. The FM transponder is activated by a PL tone (CTCSS) and once triggered, it will stay on and repeat everything for 2 minutes even if there is no PL tone. It also re-triggers the timer every time the PL is detected.
The satellite will carry a camera that can take a VGA (640×480) image of the Earth every minute, it will take 50 seconds to download each image.
Watch Fox-1 Status Update, by Tony AA2TX – 2013 Dayton Hamvention
Further information on Fox at http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/symposium/2012/2012_Symposium_Fox_Overview.pdf
IARU Coordinates Frequencies for Fox-1a Ham Radio CubeSat
It carries an Earth Observation payload with a Geodetic Camera to take pictures and a directive C-band communications antenna for downloading these images to the ground station. For those reasons, attitude and orbit control is very important in the mission when compared to other Cubesat missions.
Politech.1 will also carry Optical Fiber sensing for temperature monitoring and a NASA experiment called WINCS, to monitor the solar wind and its effect on the ionosphere.
The expected life of Politech.1 mission is two years, taking into account that most of the components are not specifically radiation-hardened.
Politech.1 carries two dipoles, one in UHF band for downlink and other in VHF band for uplink, the tube of the telescope for an EO camera accommodating the secondary mirror, and the dual C-band patch antenna for high data rate downlink.
The solar panels are kept in the primary structure; therefore, no further elements protrude the CubeSat standard envelope. The team are proposing to use an AX25 UHF 2-FSK 1k2 downlink @ 700mW and a 5.8GHz high speed 2-FSK downlink @ 115kb.
Planning to fly on a VEGA mission to a 400/500km polar orbit.
IARU Amateur Radio Satellite Frequency Coodination Pages http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru
You can use the predictor at
Founded in 1975 AMSAT-UK is a voluntary organisation that supports the design and building of equipment for Amateur Radio Satellites.
AMSAT-UK initially produced a short bulletin called OSCAR News to give members advice on amateur satellite communications. Since those early days OSCAR News has grown in size and the print quality has improved beyond recognition. Today, OSCAR News is produced as a high-quality quarterly colour A4 magazine consisting of up to 40 pages of news, information and comment about amateur radio space communications.
The new E-membership will provide OSCAR News as a downloadable PDF file and members will have the freedom to read it on their Tablets or Smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
An additional advantage is that the PDF should be available for download up to 2 weeks before the paper copy is posted.
E-membership should be especially beneficial to Overseas members who have suffered from high postal charges and long delivery times.
The AMSAT-UK membership year runs from January 1 to December 31. Why not take the opportunity to renew your 2013 membership as an E-member.
Renew your AMSAT-UK membership as an E-member here http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_8/Existing-Members-Renewal.html
Join as a new E-member here http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_9/Join-Amsat-UK.html
E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News from http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/on
David Mercado KK4MND has produced a video showing how easy it is to receive the amateur radio satellite SO-50.
This video demonstrates how to communicate via Amateur Ham Radio Satellite using an inexpensive £30 Baofeng UV5R Dual Band Radio and MFJ dual band antenna from Amazon. Among the stations heard are Hector Martinez CO6CBF, Dave Beumer W0DHB and James Bayne KI4SIY.
Uplink – 145.850 MHz with 67 HZ CTCSS
(initial 74.4 Hz CTCSS tone required if satellite has not already been activated)
Downlink – 436.800 MHz
SO-50 article by Howard Long G6LVB
Credit Southgate ARC
Fifty years ago, on June 16, 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, a flight undertaken for the propaganda purpose of illustrating the equality of women in the USSR.
Due to the political and social attitudes of the time, it would be another 20 years before the first US female astronaut, Dr. Sally Ride, would fly on the Space Shuttle. Unlike Tereshkova’s one off-flight, though, Dr Ride was the vanguard of a wave of female astronauts, not only from the United States, who would participate in space activities on the same footing as their male colleagues-as Mission Specialists, Pilots, Shuttle Commanders and Commanders of the International Space Station.
On Sunday June 16, 2.00pm – 3.00pm, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first spaceflight by a woman, Kerrie Dougherty, the Powerhouse museum’s Curator of Space Technology, will present an overview of the history of women in space, from the selection of Valentina Tereshkova and the first group of Soviet female cosmonauts to the participation of women as astronauts in space programs around the world today.
The presentation is free with Museum entry. Members no need to book, but should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information at http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/talks/space.php
BBC Radio 4 will broadcast ‘The First Woman in Space’ on Saturday, June 8 at 10:30 BST. Listen on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b026x9mr
First UK astronaut Helen Sharman GB1MIR
Gathering of Female Astronauts and Former Johnson Space Center Director
SpaceKate: The time we took on Unilever – and won!
November 23, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and a Kickstarter project aims to celebrate the event by putting a 30 cm (12 inch) tall model of the TARDIS into Low-Earth-Orbit on an Interorbital Systems Neptune rocket. The aim is to raise the $33,000 needed for the flight by June 29.
A number of satellite projects have already raised funds through Kickstarter but none has been quite like this. The orbiting TARDIS plans to have solar cells to power the flashing light, a camera and transmitter. A magnetic, passive attitude control system will keep the TARDIS’s camera pointing toward the Earth.
Further information is available on Kickstarter at
These satellite projects have already raised money on Kickstarter:
Radio ham Zac Manchester KD2BHC used Kickstarter to raise $74,586 in donations to fund the development and deployment of 200 amateur radio KickSat sprite satellites.
The amateur radio satellite project ArduSat managed to raise donations of $106,330 in just 30 days.
SkyCube which will transmit on 915 MHz in the 902-928 MHz amateur radio band raised $116,890.
Kickstarter is not just about raising large sums of money, for example Sandy Antunes used Kickstarter to raise $2,780 to buy a ham radio transceiver and antennas to create an amateur radio satellite ground station Calliope
Wiki – Doctor Who https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who