When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 7.3 kilometers per second, which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
During the flyby, Juno’s Waves instrument, which is tasked with measuring radio and plasma waves in Jupiter’s magnetosphere, recorded amateur radio signals. This was part of a public outreach effort involving ham radio operators from around the world. They were invited to say “HI” to Juno by coordinating radio transmissions that carried the same Morse-coded message. Operators from every continent, including Antarctica, participated. The results can be seen in this video clip at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/archive/PIA17744.mov
Watch Watch Hams Detected From Space by NASA’s Juno Spacecraft
Watch this video depicting the efforts of a few of the many amateur radio operators who participated
One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.
“If Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise said, ‘Take us home, Scotty,’ this is what the crew would see,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio. “In the movie, you ride aboard Juno as it approaches Earth and then soars off into the blackness of space. No previous view of our world has ever captured the heavenly waltz of Earth and moon.”
Watch the Juno Earth flyby movie with a music accompaniment by Vangelis
The cameras that took the images for the movie are located near the pointed tip of one of the spacecraft’s three solar-array arms. They are part of Juno’s Magnetic Field Investigation (MAG) and are normally used to determine the orientation of the magnetic sensors. These cameras look away from the sunlit side of the solar array, so as the spacecraft approached, the system’s four cameras pointed toward Earth. Earth and the moon came into view when Juno was about 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) away — about three times the Earth-Moon separation.
During the flyby, timing was everything. Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2 rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn’t make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format.
“Everything we humans are and everything we do is represented in that view,” said the star tracker’s designer, John Jørgensen of the Danish Technical University, near Copenhagen.
“With the Earth flyby completed, Juno is now on course for arrival at Jupiter on July 4, 2016,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
The Juno spacecraft was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 5, 2011. Juno’s launch vehicle was capable of giving the spacecraft only enough energy to reach the asteroid belt, at which point the sun’s gravity pulled it back toward the inner solar system. Mission planners designed the swing by Earth as a gravity assist to increase the spacecraft’s speed relative to the sun, so that it could reach Jupiter. (The spacecraft’s speed relative to Earth before and after the flyby is unchanged.)
After Juno arrives and enters into orbit around Jupiter in 2016, the spacecraft will circle the planet 33 times, from pole to pole, and use its collection of science instruments to probe beneath the gas giant’s obscuring cloud cover. Scientists will learn about Jupiter’s origins, internal structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Radio Hams Say Hi To Juno
Thanks to Andy Thomas G0SFJ for spotting this item.
The 2U ESTELLE will accommodate the QB50 scientific payload and an experimental miniaturized cold gas thruster module with four thrusters and 50 grams of fuel.
This mission is a partnership between Estonia, Sweden, Latvia and Slovenia. The general hardware design will improve upon the single unit ESTCube-1, launched on May 7, 2013.
Cold gas propulsion system is seen as a very attractive solution for the CubeSats, as the standard limits the use of pyrotechnics and high-pressure systems. The propulsion module, developed by NanoSpace, uses butane under 2-5 bar pressure. This should be in accordance with the next CubeSat standard revision. The 0.3 unit module will be located at the opposite end from the QB50 payload. It contains four thrusters, which are placed on the same side for maximum delta-v capability (40 m/s). This delta-v capability can be used to alternate the orbit in order to enhance the scientific return of the QB50 mission by extending the satellite’s lifetime.
An experimental high data rate transmitter (HDRT) is envisaged if it fits within the system margins to include it on-board the satellite. It would operate on S, C or X band amateur radio frequencies and use BPSK modulation. Up to 10 Mbit/s data rates can be achieved with 3 W of operating power.
Proposing a UHF GMSK/BPSK downlinks up to 19k2 bps and a series of HDRT experiments including a 2.4 GHz downlink using GFSK/BPSK at up to 1Mbps, a 5.8 GHz downlink using GFSK and BPSK at up to 10Mbps and a 10 GHz downlink at up to 10 Mbp.
Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) https://www.facebook.com/SSC.SwedishSpaceCorporation
Communication link design at 437.5 MHz for a nanosatellite
In a post on the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) Andy Thomas G0SFJ informs us of a presentation on Tuesday, December 10 regarding the amateur radio “Say Hi to Juno” project.
American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting
Science from Juno’s Earth Flyby
Tuesday, 10 December 10:30 a.m. PST (18:30 UT)
In October, the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft did a flyby of Earth before its long journey. The Juno team presents a low-resolution Earth flyby video as well as data acquired by the spacecraft as it zipped past the home planet. Team members will also discuss results from the mission’s outreach campaign inviting amateur radio operators to “Say Hi to Juno” as the spacecraft passed, and the scientific goals for the mission once it reaches Jupiter.
Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, USA;
John Joergensen, Juno star-camera team lead, Danish Technical University, Copenhagen, Denmark;
Bill Kurth, co-investigator for the Juno Waves Investigation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
Sessions: SM21E, SM33B
Radio Hams Say Hi To Juno http://amsat-uk.org/2013/10/09/radio-hams-say-hi-to-juno/
AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/maillist/
We are trying to determine the charging characteristics of the power system. The three team members all live above 40 degrees north and the satellite does not warm up enough during nighttime N-S passes to allow charging to begin. None of us are usually around during the daytime S-N passes and we would particularly appreciate telemetry reports when the satellite is in daylight.
Any form of report is welcome: decode of the fast Morse (120 WPM), RTTY demod, audio recording or I/Q capture from a FUNcube or RTL dongle would be greatly appreciated.
A link to a detailed description of the communications package can be found on the $50SAT website, http://www.50dollarsat.info/. The last distribution of Keps from AMSAT contain good elements for $50SAT.
$50SAT is one of the smallest amateur radio satellites ever launched at 5x5x7.5 cm and weighs only 210 grams. Transmitter power is just 100 mW.
Howie DeFelice AB2S
$50SAT has been a collaborative education project between Professor Bob Twiggs, KE6QMD, Morehead State University and three other radio amateurs, Howie DeFelice, AB2S, Michael Kirkhart, KD8QBA, and Stuart Robinson, GW7HPW.
The $50SAT team plan to make all the software and hardware designs freely available to anyone who wants them for personal or educational use. For further information see the $50SAT Dropbox at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l3919wtfiywk2gf/-HxyXNsIr8
There is a discussion group for $50SAT at:
HOPE RFM22B FSK transceiver http://www.hoperf.com/rf/module/fsk/RFM22B.htm
PICAXE-40X2 microcontroller http://www.picaxe.com/Hardware/PICAXE-Chips/PICAXE-40X2-microcontroller/
Revolution Education http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/
$50SAT Eagle2 PocketQube Operational
Dnepr satellites http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/dnepr-november-2013/
Dr. Sara Seager, KB1WTW, Class of 1941 Professor of Physics and Planetary Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology addressed the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States House of Representatives December 4, 2013.
Invited witnesses were:
Dr. Mary Voytek
Senior Scientist for Astrobiology, Planetary Science Division
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Dr. Sara Seager KB1WTW
Class of 1941 Professor of Physics and Planetary Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Steven Dick
Baruch S. Blumberg Chair of Astrobiology, John W. Kluge Center
Library of Congress
Dr. Sara Seager KB1WTW highlights the importance of CubeSats in education at 0:46 into this video.
Watch Astrobiology: Search for Biosignatures in our Solar System, House Space Committee, Dec 4, 13
This video was uploaded to YouTube by SpaceKSC http://www.spaceksc.com/ Twitter @SpaceKSCBlog
Testimony of Dr. Sara Seager KB1WTW, Hearing on Astrobiology
Concord resident earns Genius Grant http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/news/x1868848071/Concord-resident-earns-Genius-Grant
Inflatable Antenna Could Give CubeSats Greater Reach
How a Pocket-Size Satellite Could Find Another Earth
Thanks to David J. Mercado KK4MND for spotting this item.
The publication by the British Astronomical Association Radio Astronomy Group (BAA-RAG) can be downloaded in both hi-res and lo-res versions.
Issue 2 and the previous Issue 1 can be downloaded from the BAA-RAG site at http://www.britastro.org/radio/downloads.html
Join the BAA-RAG Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baa-rag
The AMSAT News Service (ANS) reports Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK has been working the new AO-73 satellite from his back yard. Most of the time, he has been using his normal portable all-mode satellite station – two Yaesu FT-817NDs, Elk handheld 2m/70cm log periodic antenna. On November 30 he replaced one of the FT-817NDs with a Kenwood TH-F6A – using its all-mode receiver to copy the downlink. December 1 he used an Icom IC-R20 receiver for the downlink. He’s used these radios in the past on other satellites, and for some hamfest demonstrations on VO-52 Patrick had used the FT-817ND/TH-F6A combination. He has made a series of videos (satellite audio combined with slideshows) from several AO-73 passes he has worked. They are available at:
One of the AO-73 videos contains audio from two passes, and is about twice as long as the others which have audio from a single pass.
Watch WD9EWK working AO-73/FUNcube-1 from Scottsdale AZ (DM43bn) – Dec 1, 2013 0542 UT
After working these passes, he is convinced that this new satellite performs as well as VO-52, for both its uplink and downlink. This is a very good thing! AO-73 hears very well, as long as you’re careful to match the polarization of the satellite’s antennas. The downlink is strong enough to allow the use any of these radios as the receiver on higher passes. For lower passes, he will probably use his second FT-817ND for the downlink receiver. It is good to know that, at least on the higher passes, there are lots of options for a downlink receiver. On the same higher passes, he learned that he can cut the power down from 5W to 1W and even 500mW. High power is not necessary to be heard through the transponder.
Patrick’s next project with AO-73 will be using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ as the downlink receiver, for both the transponder and telemetry, while working the transponder with an FT-817ND as his transmit radio. He reinstalled HDSDR and its ExtIO DLL for the Pro+ Dongle on his 64-bit Windows 7 laptop, and it is working well. He will be installing the FUNcube-1 Dashboard software. Patrick has an old netbook running Linux, and is curious to see how the dongle works with that operating system. His hope is to be able to use the dongle and a laptop as the downlink receiver, without being wiped out by the 5W signals from an FT-817ND.
If all is successful, he believes he will have a new combination for his all-mode satellite station that he can use for upcoming demonstrations. Using the dongle and dashboard software during daytime AO-73 passes at hamfests would be something different, and a great thing to show off to the hamfest crowds.
Patrick thanks all who worked on getting this satellite built and launched. “Even with the transponder on only for the nighttime passes, it has been fun to be on a new satellite so soon after its launch.”
ANS thanks Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK for the above information
AMSAT News Service (ANS) http://ww2.amsat.org/?page_id=443
Rizwan Merchant KF5BNL writes: I am pleased to announce the first public release of the CAPE-2 GroundStation Software Lite Edition has been released. The software will help decode, receive data and send limited commands to the satellite in orbit. For more information, refer to the link below.
For all users, please use this program when tracking CAPE-2, and try issuing both commands, and send us back the results. The data obtained from these commands are very valuable to the team, and we appreciate the help and support from everyone the past few weeks.
UPDATE: Following the requests from the community to allow users to input custom baud rates for the serial settings, I have released a newer version of the ground station software. Please uninstall your old copies, and install the new one.http://ulcape.org/cape-2-ground-station-software-lite-edition/
Thanks and please email me at Rizwan at DigitalPhoenixProductions dot com if you need any help with the software.
Rizwan Merchant KF5BNL
CAPE website http://ulcape.org/
CAPE-2 Text-to-Speech heard in Japan
Minotaur-1 ELaNa-4 satellites http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/elana-4-cubesats/
An incredibly enthusiastic, intelligent, visionary, and motivated young woman, Abigail Harrison is setting her sites on being the first astronaut to land on Mars. Starting in 5th grade with the GEMS program (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science) to being invited as guest blogger for NASA’s ISS blog, corresponding with Italian astronaut Luca Parmatano KF5KDP / IR0ISS, and attending the legendary Russian Soyuz space launch as a VIP guest, Abby is well on her way. Currently, she juggles dual high school and college courses, gymnastics, blogging, and public appearances. With a deep appreciation for space exploration of the past, Abby has already embraced its future.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Watch What’s your Mars? Abigail Harrison at TEDxTampaBay
Astronuat Abby http://AstronautAbby.com/
BBC News: US Teenager’s Space Ambitions
Italian radio ham in quarantine prior to launch to ISS
High School Student’s RocketHub Project
The British Amateur Television Club (BATC) has made available videos from the RSGB Centenary event held on December 5, 2013 at Imperial College, London.
Three videos are available from the batc.tv site:
- “Amateur Radio: a 100 years of introducing technology” by Peter Chadwick, G3RZP
- “Amateur Radio: looking to the future” by Lee Hudson, M0LMH
- Questions & Discussion and closing remarks by Bob Whelan, G3PJT, RSGB President
You can either watch them online or download them to a PC, by following these steps:
1) Go to http://batc.tv/
2) Click on the “Film Archive” icon near top left
3) Select “RSGBIET Meeting” from the Category drop down menu
4) Click on the “Select Category” button
5) Select the video required from the Stream drop down menu
6) Click on the “Select Stream” button
7) Click the play button or download from the link under the video
Further information on the BATC can be found at http://www.batc.org.uk/
The Sleaford Standard newspaper reports that a school science club is turning pupils into amateur radio fans after they were given the technology to communicate with a satellite.
The group of students based at St George’s Academy in Ruskington have been gathering data from space since the FUNcube satellite was launched on November 21.
The club was started up in September by ICT technician and licensed radio operator Paul Dickson 2E0CUP [newspaper has wrong name] and they have been provided with an antenna and a computer attachment to receive the signals thanks to support from the Friends of St George’s Ruskington and sponsorship from an educational group called STELAR. They were only one of five schools sponsored by STELAR to have a FUNcube Dongle USB radio receiver.
Read the Sleaford Standard story
St George’s Academy – Aiming high to achieve excellence for all
Schools Working With STELAR
Science and Technology through Educational links with Amateur Radio (STELAR)
FUNcube Yahoo Group http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/
BBC TV visit FUNcube station at RSGB National Radio Centre
At 07:14:30 UT on Friday, December 6, 2013 a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 3-East (SLC-3E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base on California’s Central Coast.
In addition to a classified satellite for the US spy satellite agency the National Reconnaissance Office it carried 12 CubeSats four of which have amateur radio payloads.
Justin Foley KI6EPH has made available these TLE’s for the CubeSats:
1 00001U 13340.43204282 .00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 00000
2 00001 120.4882 227.3527 0301576 340.0281 093.1359 14.65461765000012
1 00003U 13340.43620949 .00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 00004
2 00003 120.4882 227.3673 0301594 340.0232 115.1268 14.65472149000014
1 00005U 13340.44037616 .00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 00000
2 00005 120.4883 227.3812 0301504 340.0132 137.1239 14.65467927000012
Further information on the CubeSats on the Atlas V GEMSat Launch 2013 http://cubesat.org/index.php/missions/upcoming-launches/134-l39-launch-alert
Follow the launch day chat on the #cubesat IRC channel see
Space Flight Now story http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av042/131206launch/
MCubed-2 Live Telemetry and Tracking http://exploration.engin.umich.edu/blog/?page_id=1933
Delfi Nanosatellite Program Manager, Jasper Bouwmeester PC4JB, provides this update on the Delfi-n3Xt satellite which was launched November 21 and carries a 435/145 MHz linear transponder.
Dear Radio Amateurs,
Here is a status update about Delfi-n3Xt operations.
New DUDe telemetry client
Attached is an improved DUDe client. The phase locked loop is a bit more improved and the signal indicator is adjusted. The previous version indicated a center frequency of 1600 Hz, which was some heritage from Delfi-C3. The transmitted bandwidth of Delfi-n3Xt is about 4500 Hz, so with a center frequency of 1600 Hz the lower part of the band which would ‘virtually’ be below 0 Hz is actually reflected back inverted in the low audio frequencies causing more perceived noise. The best tuning center frequency is about 2200 Hz.
I have received many questions in the past weeks, so here are some hints to increase successful packet demodulation.
- The carrier frequency of the ITRX, which is currently the transmitter being on, is really close to 145.870 MHz. Please note however that the carrier is suppressed and we are actually transmitting in upper side band (USB). The receiver should thus be in upper side band and tuned to 145.870 MHz plus/minus Doppler. The center tuning frequency is the center of the USB signal, not the carrier. If your equipment allows this you can automate Doppler correction with e.g. WXTrack.
- The most optimal input level is when the signal strength indicator reaches about 25% of the slider. If the slider hits the red, distortion of the signal is already present. But even just below the red, we have discovered that packet loss is significant. In a next DUDe version we will adjust this slider such that it becomes intuitive again. If signal level is too high, adjust the gain of your receiver audio output first as if you are just adjusting the line-in or mic input of your sound card in the record volume control you may still overdrive your signal. This hint of course only applies to people which are not successful in receiving any other satellite (like Delfi-C3 ) yet with the same setup.
- The standard filter in the ICOM 910 receiver is about 2.5 kHz. This is too narrow for Delfi-n3Xt and demodulation becomes difficult. You will not reach a continuous packet demodulation if you do not have a bandwidth of at least 3.5 Khz. Most optimal is about 4.5 kHz.
- In case you use a software defined radio (e.g. the FunCube dongle) you can best record about 25 kHz and put a digital 4.5 kHz bandwidth filter around the signal. HDSDR software can support automated Doppler correction in combination with WXtrack.
- The TLEs have now named correctly “Delfi-n3Xt” in the TLE-new list.
- You may replay and SDR recording with DUDe open if during the pass you were not able to demodulate many packets. However, for our server it would be better to do this only once as otherwise the database will be flooded by duplicates. You can off course practice a bit first with an offline DUDe client. You can simply do this by extracting the attached zip file to a different folder an not using your log in details. In principle, an automated Doppler correction with the latest TLEs will already yield a very good result which can hardly be beaten by manual tuning.
- We kindly ask you not to share audio or SDR recordings with other radio amateurs, or at least ask them not to log in to our server with DUDe as we really would like to correlate the data to geographical location as well as the origin (see also the contest below).
Radio Amateur Contest
We are very grateful to all radio amateurs who are collecting telemetry or are attempting to. So far, we have seen less data coming from around the world than with our previous satellite Delfi-C3. Probably one of the main reasons is buggy telemetry client we have released before and the difficulties of demodulation a 2400 bit/s with many equipment. I hope the new DUDe client and the hints above will help many of you to demodulate Delfi-n3Xt data. A possible second reason is that we are not unique anymore with the tens of CubeSats being launched in the past months. Therefore we would like to do something back to the radio amateurs taking the effort to receive our latest satellite. We will soon announce a contest where we will provide prizes to radio amateurs with high packet rates in our database. You can see the top 50 here: http://delfi-n3xt.lr.tudelft.nl/statistics.php . Prizes and rules are still to be determined, but you can already start increasing your packet rates as we will start counting from the launch date. Our own ground station is of course excluded.
In the past weeks we have seen that the batteries became more and more discharged. Also during passes we noticed that the incoming power was fluctuating more than expected, sometimes even causing the satellite going in to eclipse mode with the radio off in the Sun. We have discovered the cause of this. The maximum power point trackers go into an sleep mode if there is insufficient power to overcome their own consumption for 15 seconds. It is activated every 25 seconds to check the latest power status. If the satellite is tumbling more than 14 degrees/s, this is not a problem as we reach sufficient power within 15 seconds (hence no sleep mode). If the satellite is however tumbling between 1 deg/s and 14 deg/s, the power tracker is many times in sleep mode and misses part of the incoming energy because of the 25 seconds wait time. Below 1 deg/s the problem becomes less again. As we are successfully detumbling to about 2-4 deg/s, but have not yet been able to tweak attitude parameters such that we go below 1 deg/s we have this issue. We have decided to turn of the power hungry subsystems, including attitude control and S-band transmitter to recharge the batteries and think of a more sustainable solution. Don’t be shocked if you see a lot of odd parameters, like undeployed solar panels, as these are just zeroes in the data. Please note that the S-band transmitter is currently off, so there is no signal at 2405 MHz.
Jasper Bouwmeester PC4JB
Delfi Nanosatellite Program Manager &
Researcher Small Satellite Technology
Chair of Space Systems Engineering
Delft University of Technology
Telemetry reception http://www.delfispace.nl/operations/delfi-n3xt-telemetry-reception
Dnepr Yasny launch http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/dnepr-november-2013/
The Mid Ulster Amateur Radio club will be hosting the special event callsign GI100RSGB over the weekend Dec 6-8
We hope to be active on most operational satellites from Friday 3pm UT, however the current storm blowing in N. Ireland may slow down antenna setup.
An ideal opportunity to work this special event call on a rare mode
Updates will be posted at
73 Pete Mi0VAX
Mid Ulster Amateur Radio Club
How to work SSB satellites
How to work FM satellites
RadCom article – Getting started on satellites
Satellite Tracking http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/
Triton-1 was launched on a Dnepr on November 21, it has a 435/145 MHz FM to DSB transponder which is expected to be available for amateur radio use about 3 months after launch. The PI9CAM report says:
On November 29 we had an exciting day at PI9CAM.
We were asked to rescue a satellite!
On November 21, 14 satellites were launched. One of them is TRITON-1, built by the Dutch ISIS group.
First all was OK, but when a transmitter was switched on to keep the temperature on board high enough something went wrong. Harmonic noise of that transmitter desensed the receiver in such a way that the command station could not get any commands into the satellite….
It’s rather normal that satellite software resets every now and then. But it appeared this satellite software was very stable. Not one reset took place……
To try to regain command over the satellite PI9CAM was asked to help. The link budget predicted we might just be able to ‘cut through’ the noise with our 25 m dish and 400W on 70 cm.
So people from ISIS and CAMRAS met in Dwingeloo at PI9CAM in the early morning of November 29.
Mr. Murphy decided to join us that day….
First we found out that we connected the wrong cable up in the focusbox when we last worked on the frontend.
So we had no power on 70 cm….
It was raining and there was strong wind but the only way to get this right was to go up to the focusbox at 15 m high with the elevator….
We worked as fast as we could to prevent much water going into the focusbox.
I have never been so wet…..
But we managed!
Due to this we missed the first good pass of the satellite….
During the second pass the wind was really strong and probably because of that something went wrong when the dish started tracking the satellite at AOS. It more or less was blown into maximum safety position. This can only be reset by doing manual elevation. So we lost the second pass and two people got very wet by elevating the dish manually. But again we managed….
The third pass was only available at 21.00 so we had a lot of time to test tracking and to play with the freshly installed satellite tracking software. Even a few bugs were found and removed going through the software.
At 21.00 we were ready for it and everybody was very tense….
As soon as the satellite was above our TX limit of 10 degrees elevation we started transmitting. After 10 seconds we received good news from the ISIS ground station. We successfully switched off the transmitter of the satellite and the groundstation had control over the satellite again!
Everybody was very happy! We even had some champagne to celebrate this successful collaboration!
And we were all very proud of ‘our’ 57 year old and restored dish. Old, but still going strong!
(PE4WJ (ISIS), PA3CEG, PE1NUT, PE2HRM, PE0SHF, PE1CHQ, PA3DSS and PA3FXB)
Thanks to PE0SAT for passing on this information.
ISIS Triton-1 amateur radio operator page http://www.isispace.nl/HAM/
ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space http://www.isispace.nl/
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket is set to launch from Space Launch Complex 3-East, or SLC-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base on California’s Central Coast. As well as a classified satellite for the US spy satellite agency the National Reconnaissance Office it will carry 12 CubeSats four of which will have amateur radio payloads. Justin Foley KI6EPH writes:
We are pleased to announce the launch of 12 CubeSats, currently scheduled for Friday, December 6, 2013 at 0713 UT from Vandenberg AFB in California, USA. Several of the CubeSats are carrying beacons in the amateur frequencies and we invite all who are able to track to participate.
For more information please keep an eye on http://spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av043/status.html and http://cubesat.org/index.php/missions/upcoming-launches/134-l39-launch-alert
As usual we will be using the #cubesat IRC channel to coordinate object identification.
Justin Foley KI6EPH
CubeSats on the Atlas V GEMSat Launch 2013 http://cubesat.org/index.php/missions/upcoming-launches/134-l39-launch-alert
Follow the launch day chat on the #cubesat IRC channel see
The project’s Kickstarter page says:
Space exploration has traditionally been expensive, many spacecraft launched today are the size of a truck and can cost over $1 billion dollars. CAT will be tested on a CubeSat, a small satellite the size of a loaf of bread. CubeSats cost 1,000 to 10,000 times less to develop and launch than conventional satellites. As scientific and commercial space technologies get exponentially smaller, it becomes easier (and less expensive) to place small but powerful sensors on a CubeSat platform. The CAT engine can propel this miniaturized equipment to exciting new locations previously unreachable at such a low price.
Traditional university research funding starts with seed data, a small seed grant, a government grant and a large number of gates to go through over many years. We’d like to leverage Kickstarter funds to compress that timeline and go from initial seed data to flight in about 18 months, a much faster time scale than is possible with traditional grants. We love the idea of “Citizen Explorers” helping fund this project and are excited to have our backers be part of the journey.
While we have obtained some external funding, this mission may never happen without your help. Research funding is notoriously slow and filled with red tape. Technology demonstration missions can take over ten years to go from concept to launch. We want to do more faster, getting CAT from the drawing board to space in record time. With your help, we will be assembling everything into one compact thruster unit and testing integrated components in the lab, then in Earth orbit. If we reach stretch goals, we could be testing CAT in interplanetary space at a destination of your choice!
Our base funding goal of $50,000 is enough to add specialized equipment to the satellite to observe the plasma plume ejected by the CAT engine. Integrating a high-resolution camera and associated subsystems is critical to validate our theories on plasma flow along a magnetic nozzle and complete our test matrix when CAT is on-orbit. Because this is an entirely new type of engine, we need a camera in order to directly observe how the super heated plasma follows the magnetic nozzle and then detaches to create thrust. Without a camera we can’t know precisely when the plasma is being created. Basically, we need to see the engine actually creating plasma to verify our assumptions. On Earth it’s easy for us to observe the plasma during testing, but in space it’s much more difficult.
Watch CAT: Launch a Water-Propelled Satellite into Deep Space
Read a New Scientist story at
Craig Kief KE5VSH posted this on the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB):
Jin KB3UKS and I launched two CubeSats a week or so ago. The first is Trailblazer (mine) and the second is DragonSat (Jins). Trailblazer is from the Configurable Space Research at the University of New Mexico (KE5VSH) and DragonSat is Drexel University.
Our problem is that we haven’t heard from our satellites yet.
There could be a variety of different reasons. First, the satellite didn’t survive delivery. Second, our antennas didn’t deploy or third, we have poor ground stations. As you can imagine, I am hoping for the third. I am pasting the TLE which is openly available on space-track and Celestrak in this email. It is very close (I believe) to our birds.
If you have a chance, could you please keep your ears open in case you might hear us.
Please email any packets for Trailblazer to myself at craig.kief<at>cosmiac.org and for DragonSat to Jin Kang KB3UKS at kang<at>usna.edu
Thanks again most sincerely,
Trailblazer 437.425 MHz, AX.25, 9600 bps (there is another satellite with the same tx freq as mine there as well).
On my packets, if you see C0 00 A8 84…. You will provide me with a wonderful gift. I beacon every 50 seconds
DragonSat 145.870 MHz, AX.25, 9600 bps. Beacons every 30 seconds.
1 39382U 13064C 13325.87382098 .00041511 00000-0 18318-2 0 39
2 39382 40.5103 239.5017 0004316 318.4599 41.5592 15.20995117 275
Satellite Tracking http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/
Minotaur-1 ELaNa-4 launch http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/elana-4-cubesats/
AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/maillist/
The N2YO satellite tracking website provides live video streaming from the International Space Station (ISS) alongside a track showing the position of the ISS over the Earth.
The Ustream video from the station is available only when the complex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communications antenna and NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. During “loss of signal” periods, you will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it sees a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but also may provide spectacular views of city lights below.
Live streaming from the ISS http://www.n2yo.com/space-station/
HD Video Cameras sent to ISS November 25, 2013 http://www.urthecast.com/launch
The US segment of the ISS uses a data link in Ku band to connect to a NASA server. The link provides a data rate of 10 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload available about half the time through a network of ground stations.
In October 2012 the first laser communication link with the Russian segment of the ISS was established paving the way for higher speed broadband links to the ISS in the future. Read the RIA Novosti article in Google English.
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.
An additional advantage is that the PDF should be available for download up to 2 weeks before the paper copy is posted.
The Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.
If you join after July 31 of any particular year, then you will receive complimentary membership for the whole of the following year, i.e. join on November 12, 2013, and you have nothing more to pay until Dec 31, 2014.
Now is a very good time to join.
Take out an Electronic membership 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
A sample issue of OSCAR News can be downloaded here.