SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-116.01
ANS-116 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 116.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
DATE Month Day,
To All RADIO AMATEURS
AMSAT-NA Opportunity for Rideshare to Geostationary Orbit
AMSAT is excited to announce that we have accepted an opportunity to
participate in a potential rideshare as a hosted payload on a geostationary
satellite planned for launch in 2017. An amateur radio payload, operating in
the Amateur Satellite Service, will fly on a spacecraft which Millennium
Space Systems (MSS) of El Segundo, CA is contracted to design, launch, and
operate for the US government based on their Aquila M8 Series Satellite
A meeting to discuss this potential rideshare took place on April 13 at
Millennium Space Systems that included Dr. Bob McGwier, N4HY; Franklin
Antonio, N6NKF, co-founder of Qualcomm; Jerry Buxton, N0JY, AMSAT Vice
President of Engineering and member of the board for AMSAT-NA; Dr. Tom
Clark, K3IO, Director and President Emeritus of AMSAT-NA; Phil Karn, KA9Q;
and Michelle Thompson, W5NYV.
Hosting the meeting for MSS were Stan Dubyn as founder and chairman of MSS,
Vince Deno as president of MSS, Jeff Ward, K8KA, of MSS as VP for Product
Development, formerly with SSTL and University of Surrey Space Center, and
Ryan Lawrence of MSS as Project Manager on the spacecraft mission. Attending
by telephone were Dr. Jonathan Black, Associate Research Director of Hume
Center for Aerospace Systems and Associate Professor of Aerospace and Ocean
Engineering and Dr. Michael Parker, KT7D, founder of RINCON Research Corp.
Following the meeting, Dr. Bob McGwier, N4HY, Director of Research at the
Hume Center for National Security and Technology of Virginia Tech, and
former director and former VP Engineering of AMSAT, described this as an
opportunity to go forward with "AMSAT-Eagle" which, in the 2006-2008
timeframe, evolved into a microwave payload to be flown to geostationary
orbit as a hosted payload. It would have provided digital communications to
small terminals on the ground and a linear bent pipe transponder had it
flown. This failed to go forward in part due to lack of an affordable flight
McGwier outlined the next steps toward developing this mission:
1) To organize an effort at Virginia Tech to make a firm proposal
to MSS and its US government sponsor, and organize an effort
to raise sufficient funds to pay for development of the mission.
2) Enable Dr. Jonathan Black to lead the construction project at
Virginia Tech in the [email protected]
Center. Sonya Rowe, KK4NLO, Project
Manager at the Hume Center will be the project manager.
3) Work for development of a low-cost microwave ground station for
amateur radio still needs to be determined.
4) Dr. Michael Parker, KT7D, will solicit the cooperation of the
Rincon Research Corp. for development of the software radio
technology for this payload.
The AMSAT Board of Directors has accepted the invitation to participate in
this potential rideshare payload opportunity. AMSAT expects to be involved
in the development of the ground station and the payload RF development, and
will serve as the amateur radio (hosted) payload operator once the satellite
has been launched.
McGwier summarized, "The launch is currently scheduled for 2017 and the
payload must be delivered for testing and integration by Spring of 2016. It
is an ambitious schedule and all involved will have to gain and maintain a
serious level of commitment to that which they agree to undertake." AMSAT
President, Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said, "The AMSAT leadership is excited to
fly a Phase-IV geostationary amateur satellite payload. This is an evolving
development as we collaborate with the VT Hume Center with a project that
provides technical challenges to create a new amateur radio capability in
space that will provide a variety of benefits not only for amateurs but also
for emergency communications and STEM educational outreach."
The transponder is expected to support a wide range of voice, digital, and
experimental advanced communications technologies. A decision is expected
soon specifying the microwave uplink and downlink bands.
Additional information on the Aquila M8 Series Satellite can be viewed
AMSAT has posted a photo of the GEO opportunity team with the Millennium
Aquila satellite at: http://www.amsat.org
[ANS thanks Bob McGwier, N4HY and AMSAT-NA for the above information]