AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
ANS is a free, weekly, news and information service of AMSAT North
America, The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS reports on the
activities of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an
active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating
through analog and digital Amateur Radio satellites.
Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to:
In this edition:
* AMSAT Fox-1 Cubesat Selected for NASA ELaNa Launch Collaboration
* Vega Launch on February 13 With Eight Amateur Band Cubesats
* ARISS Contact to Celebrate 50th Anniversary John Glenn Over Perth
* Open Mission Control Software for CubeSat Project Teams
* NASA astronaut Janice Voss, KC5BTK Passes
* SumbandilaSat SO-67 Amateur Transponder Recovery Work in Progress
* AMSAT Notes:
* International Space Station (ARISS) Status Report February 6, 2012
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-043.01
ANS-043 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 043.01
From AMSAT HQ SILVER SPRING, MD.
February 12, 2012
To All RADIO AMATEURS
AMSAT Fox-1 Cubesat Selected for NASA ELaNa Launch Collaboration
Project ELaNa, NASA's "Educational Launch of NanoSat" managed by the
Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center, announced on
February 10 that the AMSAT Fox-1 cubesat has been selected to join the
NASA will work with AMSAT in a collaborative agreement where NASA will
cover the integration and launch costs of satellites deemed to have
merit in support of their strategic and educational goals.
AMSAT teamed with the ARRL to write and deliver the 159 page educa-
tional proposal to NASA. Letters documenting the importance of AMSAT's
satellites in the education programs at the ARRL and also at the Clay
Center for Science and Technology at the Dexter and Southfield schools
in Brookline, MA, were important parts of our proposal.
AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW said, "The ELaNA Launch opportunity
marks AMSAT's return to space after the conclusion of the successful
ARISSat-1/KEDR flight. We need to get the flight Fox-1, along with an
operational flight backup satellite, built, integrat- ed, tested, and
delivered. Our ability to provide a spacecraft and get it launched is
dependent upon the active support of our donors who wish to see Fox-1
AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX noted this
will provide a launch opportunity for AMSAT's next generation of FM
repeater satellites with features and operation beyond the experience of
AO-51. AMSAT's Fox-1 Engineering Team is making progress developing the
advanced satellite that will provide these features:
+ Fox-1 is designed to operate in sunlight without batteries once
the battery system fails. This applies lessons learned from AO-51
and ARISSat-1 operations.
+ In case of IHU failure Fox-1 will continue to operate its FM
repeater in a basic, 'zombie sat' mode, so that the repeater
+ Fox-1 is designed as the immediate replacement for AO-51. Its U/V
(Mode B) transponder will make it even easier to work with modest
+ From the ground user's perspective, the same FM amateur radio
equipment used for AO-51 may be used for Fox-1.
+ Extending the design, Fox-2 will benefit from the development work
of Fox-1 by adding more sophisticated power management and Software
Defined Transponder (SDX) communications systems.
The Fox-1 Project presents an opportunity to literally put your call-
sign on the Fox hardware. AMSAT is looking for major donations to help
underwrite the cost of solar cells/panels, one of the more significant
expenses of the project.
These solar cells are needed for the flight unit as well as for the a
flight spare. As Fox-1 will have solar cells on all six sides of the
spacecraft and given the relatively small surface area available on each
side (at most 4" by 4" per side), AMSAT needs to invest in high
efficiency solar cells to gain as much power as possible to operate the
Several opportunities to make your donation to keep amateur radio in
+ Return the form sent with the letter to reply with your donation
for the Fox-1 Project.
- All donations over $40 will receive a Fox pin.
- Donations of $120 or more qualify you for AMSAT President's Club
+ Call Martha at the AMSAT Office +1-888-FB AMSAT (1-888-322-6728)
+ Paypal donation widget on the main page at: http://www.amsat.org
+ Paypal donation widget for Project Fox at:
+ You can also go to the Paypal site and send your donation to
+ The AMSAT Store: http://www.amsat-na.com/store/categories.php
Project Fox web site provide a good overview of the technical progress
of the new satellite: http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/fox/
[ANS thanks AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, AMSAT Vice-President
of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX and AMSAT's Project Fox Engineering
team for the above information]
ESA Vega Launch Includes 8 Amateur Band Satellites
Vega is scheduled to launch on February 13, at 1000 UTC with eight
student built amateur radio satellites. Internet video streaming of the
launch will be available at:
The launcher will first deploy the main payload LARES, the Laser
relativity Spacecraft and will then make an additional firing of the
final OVUM stage before deploying the secondary cubesat payloads. The
planned timing for these deployments, in order of ejection, are as
= T0+ 4245.30secs 1st PPOD, with XatCobeo, [email protected]
, and Goliat.
= T0+ 4255.30secs 2nd PPOD, with Robusta, MaSat-1 and PW-Sat.
= T0+ 4265.30secs 3rd PPOD, with UniCubeSat.
= T0+ 4275.30secs AlmaSat-1.
The Cubesats will not deploy their antennas until >1800 seconds after
they leave their PODS.It is not known how soon AlmaSat-1 will start
transmitting after deployment.
Vega Launch Cubesat Amateur Band Frequencies:
+ AlmaSat-1 437.465 MHz 1200 bps FSK, 2407.850 MHz
+ [email protected]
437.445 MHz 1200 bps AFSK
+ Goliat 437.485 MHz 1200 bpx AFSK
+ MaSat-1 437.345 MHz GFSK 625/1250 bps, CW
+ PW-Sat 435.020 MHz FM uplink, 145.990 MHz DSB downlink
+ Robusta 437.325 MHz 1200 bps FM telemetry
+ UniCubeSat 437.305 MHz 9600 bps FSK
+ XaTcobeo 437.365 MHz FFSK with AX.25
Links to the home pages of the satellite teams are included on the
page. Extensive coverage of the launch and the
satellites can also be found on the AMSAT-UK web:
An ESA video of all of the satellites aboard the Vega Maiden Flight can
be viewed on YouTube at: http://tinyurl.com/ESA-Vega-Cubesats
The university cubesat teams welcome reception reports. All observ- ers
are invited to submit reports via amsat-bb and to also join the CubeSat
Internet Relay Chat channel to pass on their news and com- ments in
realtime. You will need an IRC client such as the ChatZilla addon for
FireFox or mIRC to join the cubesat chat:
1. Connect to the irc.freenode.net
2. Once connected to the server the /join #cubesat command will
bring you into the channel.
3. Many users set their chat nickname to "name_callsign".
ChatZilla AddOn for Firefox:
[ANS thanks the CubeSat Teams for the above information]
ARISS Contact to Celebrate 50th Anniversary John Glenn Over Perth
On the 20th of February 1962 a Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft called
"Friendship 7" was launched. In the hot-seat was Astronaut, John Glenn.
The objective was to place a man into earth orbit, observe his reactions
to the space environment and safely return him to earth to a point where
he could be readily found.
During the first orbit of three, the spacecraft came into radio range of
the Muchea Tracking Station where the first Australian space radio
contact was made by Gerry O'Connor who spoke with John Glenn as he
One of the questions that was posed for this flight was "Can you see the
cities of Earth from space?" To help answer that question, the people of
the City of Perth all turned their lights on as John Glenn flew over.
The answer to the question was a resounding "YES!", and Perth was
nicknamed "The City of Light".
Fifty years later on February 20, 2012 young people from Western
Australia will have the chance to ask a question of an astronaut or
cosmonaut currently residing on the International Space Station.
There will be a live radio and video connection to the space station at
the Northbridge Piazza in Perth, Western Australia. Ten lucky winners of
the student competition, selected from primary and secon- dary schools,
will get to ask questions, and receive their answers in real time as the
space station flies overhead.
From a technical perspective, ARISS will configure a
radio link between the ISS and ham operator, Dick Flagg, AH6NM, in
Honolulu. In Perth, members of the Hills Amateur Radio Group will
provide a phone link between AH6NM and Northbridge Piazza so the stu-
dents can converse with the astronaut. Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, ARISS
Mentor for Australia is conducting the behind the scenes preparation.
The event begins at 17:00PM Perth time (0900 UTC) on February 20. The
currently scheduled contact time is approximately at 10:22 UTC, sub-
ject to last minute change depending upon events aboard the ISS or orbit
In addition to the ARISS contact, web-streaming and other space act-
ivities such as a radio telescope, optical telescopes, museum exhibi-
tions, an address by the Lord Mayor of Perth, a video message from John
Glenn and a presentation by the Western Australia Chief Scientist are
The press release of the City of Lights ARISS event, issued by the
Government of Western Australia can be read on=line at:
Web pages with more information of the event can be found at:
[ANS thanks Richard, G4TUT and David Jordan, AA4KN, ARISS Public
Relations, Australia ARISS Coordinator Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI for the
Open Mission Control Software for CubeSat Project Teams
CubeSat developers may be interested in learning more about the Open
Mission Control software, an open source, open access software for
monitoring and controlling small spacecraft. The software is designed to
provide an application and framework that can be adapted quickly and
easily to support a variety of spacecraft including CubeSats,
myPocketQubs and NanoLab experiments, and sounding rocket and high
altitude balloon experiments. The team include students, space pro-
fessionals, educators and enthusiasts from around the world, all working
together to build a great mission control application for small
The Open Mission Control framework consists of the application and
graphical user interface which contain the basic structure of the
program, and the Open Mission Control toolbox, which provides a number
of ready to use functions typically required for mission control
The Open Mission Control application and graphical user interface can be
adapted to a project quickly and easily, by populating them with
elements from the Open Mission Control toolbox and other stan- dard
library elements. This approach allows also users with limited
programming experience to create sophisticated mission control soft-
ware by building on a solid basic implementation.
Use and verification.
Designed to work with any spacecraft project, the first flight mis- sion
that is expected to use Open Mission Control is myPocketQub 442.
myPocketQub 442 was selected to fly as a pocket spacecraft attached to
UKube-1, the first United Kingdom Space Agency CubeSat. It is expected
to be the first mission controlled by Open Mission Control and to
demonstrate and verify various use cases:
+ The first use case is for professional monitoring, command and
control of a real spacecraft.
+ The second use case involves schools and universities using Open
Mission Control to upload their virtual payloads for their Open-
Space365 projects, monitor their experiments as they run and down-
load the data for analysis.
+ The third use case involves the use of Open Mission Control as
monitoring software for the various scientific and engineering
sub-payloads that will fly on myPocketQub 442. The students con-
ducting these experiments will use Open Mission Control to access
and store the data from these payload experiments for analysis
+ The fourth use case is communication with engineering models of
the real spacecraft which will be made available on the Internet.
These engineering models are duplicates of the flight hardware and
allow Open Mission Control to command and monitor them and their
sub-payloads in real time and to simulate different critical mis-
sion phases under real conditions.
Additional information and links are available on the Open Mission
Control webpage at: http://openmissioncontrol.wordpress.com/
[ANS thanks the Open Mission Control Team for the above information]
NASA astronaut Janice Voss, KC5BTK Passes
NASA astronaut Janice Voss passed away from cancer overnight. One of
only six women who have flown in space five times, Voss' career was
highlighted by her work and dedication to scientific payloads and
exploration. Janice supported SAREX during her flights on the Space
Shuttle. She was a phone-in speaker during one of AMSAT's multi-media
Dayton Forum presentations with Roy Neal as MC. Janice held the callsign
Voss began her career with NASA in 1973 while a student at Purdue
University. She returned to NASA in 1977 to work as an instructor,
teaching entry guidance and navigation to space shuttle crews. After
completing her doctorate in 1987, she worked within the aerospace
industry until she was selected as an astronaut in 1990.
Voss' first spaceflight mission was STS-57 in 1993, the first flight of
the Spacehab module. She next flew on STS-63 in 1995, a mission to the
Mir space station, and third flight of Spacehab. She also flew as a
payload commander on STS-83 in 1997 with the Microgravity Science
Laboratory, but the mission was cut short due to problems with one of
the orbiter's three fuel power generation units. Voss, the crew and MSL
flew again as the STS-94 MSL-1 Spacelab mission, focused on materials
and combustion science research in microgravity.
Her last mission was STS-99 in 2000, a flight to the International Space
Station as part of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission which mapped
more than 47 million square miles of the Earth's land surface.
In total, Voss spent more than 49 days in space.
Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office said, "By improving the way
scientists are able to analyze their data, and establishing the
experimental methods and hardware necessary to perform these unique
experiments, Janice and her crew ensured that our space station would be
the site of discoveries that we haven't even imagined."
For Voss' complete biography, please visit:
[ANS thanks Frank Bauer, KA3HDO and SpaceRef.com
for the above
SumbandilaSat SO-67 Amateur Transponder Recovery Work in Progress
It would appear that prior reports on the demise of South Africa's
SumbandilaSat were 'greatly exagerated' (with apologies to author Mark
A report on the Southern African AMSAT website says partial recov- ery
is possible for Amateur Radio Operation to possibly resume in March
"We have not given up on our efforts to get SumbandilaSat working again
even if it is only partially", said Johan Lochner ZR1CBC who is spending
much time on the recovery process and many nights burn- ing the midnight
oil working on new and more intelligent algorithms.
He and his colleagues are making every effort to get the satellite
SumbandilaSat experienced a corruption in the programme memory of one of
the power switches. This is the interface unit which con- trols a robust
orientation control implementation system which is using output from the
magnetic sensors to point the solar panels to- wards the sun in a safe
mode scenario when for example communica- tions with the ground segment
was not possible for a few days.
The corruption of the program memory prevented the magnetic inter- face
unit from automatically switching on after power-up and thus
preventing access to measurements taken by the magnetometer.
Johann said, "As a result of the malfunction of the magnetic control
unit the satellite started to slowly point away from the sun with
intermittent sun eclipses. When there was no power flowing from the
solar cells the batteries drained and we could not in a safe way
communicate with the satellite, so we backed off. Once we determined
this pattern we stopped communicating with the satellite when we did
not see sufficient charge on the batteries. At other times we had good
communication when could diagnose what was going on. Dur- ing good
communication windows that could last 2 or 3 days we tried to diagnose
the exact nature of the problem in the same way as we had done before
and we started to implement a fix. The particular power switch that
failed was already the redundant one so we were in a worse state than
SumbandilaSat controllers implemented automated ground segment soft-
ware to make contact with the satellite from both SANSA Space Opera-
tions and the Electronic Systems labs at SU. The objective was to
contact the satellite automatically and to try to implement the recovery
procedure and also notify the team if any contact was made.
Johann continued, "By mid-November 2011 we again made contact with
SumbandilaSat and set in place a planned recovery procedure. Within
3-4 days we came to the conclusion that the main battery had failed.
Earlier the intermittent contact was because the battery could not be
fully charged and that satellite power bus was too low for the
processors and transmitter to function. We surmised that during the
month that we had no contact that the battery must have gone open
circuit. With the battery no longer on the power bus, the voltage on the
bus would rise to 28.5 volts and supply enough current to support
operations when SumbandilaSat was in full sunlight."
The SumbandilaSat concludes, "We are determined to get this working and
to maintain the scientific value of the satellite as much as possible.
Johann's focus is now on getting the amateur radio trans- ponder
working, which with the loss of AO-51 will be a great asset to amateur
radio satellite activity. By the end of February we hope to achieve
Uplink: 145.875 MHz (no tone required)
Downlink: 435.345 MHz
for full coverage of
[ANS thanks SA AMSAT and Johan Lochner, ZR1CBC for the above
AMSAT Fox Project Flyer
Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK has put together a nice 4 page pdf description
of the Fox project. This is available directly from this URL:
or the link
can be found midway down the Fox page on the AMSAT Web site.
More detailed information about the Fox project can be found in the Fox
area of the AMSAT Web site.
AMSAT Annual Meeting dates set
The 2012 AMSAT Annual Meeting and Symposium will be held Oct 26-28,2011
at the Holiday Inn Orlando Airport. More details as they become
AMSAT at Dayton 2012
The AMSAT Dayton team is busy preparing for the AMSAT presence at this
years Hamvention - May 18-20, 2012. Same booth spaces next the the ARRL
area, outdoor satellite demonstration area and it looks like the AMSAT
Forum will be Saturday morning. Additional information and web site area
[ANS Thanks Gould, WA2SXM, for this information]
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Status Report
February 6, 2012
1. Upcoming School Contacts
An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact was
successful for Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada on
Wednesday, February 8 at 15:18 UTC via telebridge station AH6NM in
Hawaii. The school has formed a space club through which students are
learning about the ISS via videos, the internet and guest speakers. They
are learning how to track the ISS and are completing space-related
projects. Radio usage and protocol have been discussed. First Air and
the Makivik Corporation are the sponsors that ensure ARISS contacts are
supported in the remote areas of Northern Canada.
Soumuta Elementary School, located in Kagoshima, Japan scheduled for an
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact on
Saturday, February 11 at 10:33 UTC was successful. The school was
established in 1972 and has a current enrollment of 479 students.
Students are learning about the mission of the ISS and will experience
amateur radio concepts through their contact.
2. Polish Students Experience Successful ARISS Contact
On Saturday, February 4, students attending the Zespol Szkol nr 8 in
Walbrzych, Poland participated in an Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station (ARISS) contact with Don Pettit, KD5MDT on the ISS. Radio
station W6SRJ in California provided the telebridge connection.
Greetings were exchanged and students were able to get through all the
space-related questions they had prepared. The contact was integrated
into a curriculum covering electronics, microprocessor systems and
English and drew interest from the school's robotics and amateur radio
clubs. Contact audio was fed into EchoLink and IRLP (Internet Radio
Linking Project). Representatives from radio and television stations
provided media coverage.
3. ARISS-U.S. to Review Proposals Submitted
The NASA Teaching From Space office received over 100 inquiries about
the U.S. proposal process for ARISS contacts that will be scheduled
during the July 2012 - January 2013 time frame. Twenty-three schools met
the January 30 deadline and submitted proposals. The next step is for
the U.S. Selection Committee to review the proposals and select the U.S.
schools in about one month. Another window of opportunity for U.S.
schools and organizations to submit proposals will open later in the
4. AMSAT News Service on ARISS
The February 5 AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation) News Service
bulletin (ANS-036) included an item about the successful amateur radio
satellite, SuitSat, titled, "Remembering Mr. Smith - SuitSat-1 February
3, 2006." Another piece covered the recent ARISS contact with El Dorado
County students. To view the articles, see:
5. Amateur Radio Newsline Covers ARISS
On February 3, Amateur Radio Newsline posted the winners of the ARISSat
Chicken Little Contest in its report #1799. To read, "Ham Radio in
Space: Winners of ARISSat-1 Chicken Little Contest Announced," see:
In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the
President's Club. Members of the President's Club, as sustaining donors
to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive additional benefits.
Application forms are available from the AMSAT Office.
This week's ANS Editor,
Dee Interdonato, NB2F
Nb2f at amsat dot org