AMSAT-NA Board Approves Technology Development Seed Funding

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The AMSAT Board of Directors met on December 2, 2014. As a part of AMSAT’s “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge, the Board of Directors approved $5000, within the 2015 engineering budget, to be used as seed money for future satellite development. Additional fund raising sources will also be investigated and pursued.

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said, “We’re prepared to return to space starting in 2015 with a fleet of satellites that will equal, if not exceed, the performance, and availability to the average ham, of our previously popular AMSAT OSCAR 51. Meanwhile, we are preparing for the future looking to potentially leverage new technologies, to provide the best opportunities for enhancing amateur radio’s presence in space.”

Director Tom Clark, K3IO, noted the need for a defined future systems program. Tom said, “We saw a significant number of both new and old members who want to see the development of critical system elements for future opportunities by 2018-20. As I see it, critical ‘tall poles’ in applying potential technologies require significant work to begin now to ensure success.”

AMSAT is interested in supporting technology ideas that enhance the utility of using the CubeSat form factor to support more robust amateur satellite capabilities.   The scope of potential interest in not limited; some examples of  technology enhancement might include:

+ Microwave technology suitable for use in amateur spacecraft. This   includes the need to identify optimum frequency bands.

+ Complementary, low-cost ground systems, including an effective ~1º antenna pointing system.

+ Define and develop optimum coding and modulation schemes for low power microwave use.

+ Attitude determination & control systems to point the spacecraft   antennas towards the user while maximizing solar panel production.

Individuals interested in learning more about this initiative should contact AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY (n0jy at amsat.org).

Meanwhile, the development of AMSAT’s current series of the Fox-1 cubesats continues on schedule. AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY reported during the Board meeting that construction and testing of five Fox satellites is on schedule:

+ Fox-1A will launch on a NASA ELaNa flight during the 3rd quarter of 2015 from Vandenberg AFB,

+ Fox-1B will fly with the Vanderbilt University radiation   experiments expected in 2016.

+ Fox-1C will launch on Spaceflight’s maiden mission of the   SHERPA multi-cubesat deployer during the 3rd quarter of 2015.   This flight was purchased by AMSAT.

+ Fox-1D is a flight spare for Fox-1C. If not needed as a spare   it will become available to launch on any open launch slot which   becomes available and be submitted in a CSLI proposal in 2015.

+ Fox-1E is built as a flight spare for Fox-1B but has been   included in a student science proposal as part of the November,   2014 Cubesat Launch Initiative (CSLI) for an ELaNa flight slot.   If selected the Fox-1B spare will fly as Fox-1E.

More details of the “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge can be found on-line at:
http://www.amsat.org/?p=3395 – and – in the November/December 2014 AMSAT Journal, currently in-transit to your QTH.

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Board Of Directors for the above information]

AMSAT Annual Meeting Remote Participation via EchoLink

The 2014 AMSAT Symposium will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Oct 10-12 in Baltimore.  The Annual Meeting will be held Saturday afternoon from 15:45 – 17:15 EDT (19:45z – 21:15z) and will be broadcast via EchoLink on the *AMSAT* channel.  The Annual Meeting includes a report to the membership by the President and Senior
Officers and includes a question and answer session where members may ask senior officers and BoD members questions.  Echolink participants may send questions using the text messaging feature of EchoLink.
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AMSAT 2014 Space Symposium’s Keynote Speaker will be Jan King, W3GEY

AMSAT Founding Member Jan King, W3GEY

AMSAT Founding Member Jan King, W3GEY

The AMSAT Space Symposium’s Keynote Speaker with be Jan King, W3GEY, founding member of AMSAT and former member of the Board of Directors & V.P. of Engineering. Jan’s keynote speech, entitled “Never, Never, Never Give Up!” will be presented during the Symposium banquet on Saturday October 11. As a teaser for his speech, Jan shared the following with our symposium team:

” So very much has changed in 45 years! For starters, our hobby of 1968 has become an industry. Launch vehicles can’t be had for the price of a NASA Administrator’s letter anymore. Launch costs are $100K per kilogram now.  ITAR? Not worth discussing. So, what do we do? Is it time to say, “We had a really good run at this” and let it go? We showed some people who cared and wanted to listen that you can do a lot with a little. Should we call it quits and give it up? There are those who ask me questions that start with, “Back in your day….?” It is particularly those people, I’d like to show…that we really

Jan King, W3GEY, prepares AMSAT-OSCAR 7 for a vibration test.

Jan King, W3GEY, prepares AMSAT-OSCAR 7 for a vibration test.

are made of the right stuff. We still have things we know that Government Experts and wide-eyed university graduate students don’t. Silicon Valley is now filled with satellite experts who aren’t. The average university graduating electrical engineer still can’t make a 2 meter pre-amp with a 1 dB noise figure, and wouldn’t know how to start. Unless, of course, they figured it out from the Internet. Ah yes, the Internet! Another small change since 1968. We’ll talk about it in October. Hope to see you in Baltimore. W3GEY.”