AMSAT-NA Opportunity for Rideshare to Geostationary Orbit

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MSS_Photo

(L-R) Sonya Rowe, KK4NLO; Jerry Buxton, N0JY; Bob McGwier, N4HY; Franklin Antonio, N6NKF; Tom Clark, K3IO; Michelle Thompson, W5NYV; and Phil Karn, KA9Q standing next to the Aquila M8 Bus flight article. (Click photo for larger image.)

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 Structure.

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 opportunity.

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 Space@VT 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.

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Fox-1A Has Final Checkout (Photos)

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AMSAT Fox-1A undergoing the Cubesat Acceptance Check at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, California prior to P-POD integration.

AMSAT Fox-1A undergoing the Cubesat Acceptance Check at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, California prior to P-POD integration.

Clean room

Clean room

More testing

More testing

AMSAT Vice President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY with Fox-1A during cubesat acceptance and integration.

AMSAT Vice President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY with Fox-1A during
cubesat acceptance and integration.

Jerry, N0JY prepares Fox-1A for insertion into the P-POD

Jerry, N0JY prepares Fox-1A for insertion into the P-POD

The paperwork says Fox-1A is ready for the P-POD

The paperwork says Fox-1A is ready for the P-POD

In line for P-POD loading.

In line for P-POD loading.

A big thank you to Jerry Buxton, N0JY for the great pictures.

New Format Coming for AMSAT 20 Meter Net

edit_microphoneKeith Pugh, W5IU and Larry Brown, W7LB, Net Control stations for the AMSAT 20M International net have announced changes to the net operation. Keith wrote, “The AMSAT 20 Meter Net will be changing format effective 9 November 2014. It will start with check-ins at 1900 UTC on 14.282 MHz and proceed with Satellite Q&A and other topics.”

Continuing, he adds, “The weekly AMSAT Bulletin Titles will be read and an offer will be made to read or discuss specific bulletins by request. We encourage check-ins from operators who are very active on the satellites, and especially, operators that are new to the satellites and/or ham radio. The activity will generally be over by 2000 UTC. We realize that not everyone has 20 meter capability but we need more activity to continue running this net. Dust off your HF gear, put up a 20 meter dipole, and join us or let the net die a natural death.”

VO-52 “Hamsat” end of mission

From an email to AMSAT-bb email list today:

Dear Friends,

With heavy heart, I sadly convey, that our little angel ‘HAMSAT VO-52’ would no more be able to offer her services to the ‘Amateur Radio Fraternity. HAMSAT VO-52 succumbed in Space on 11th July 2014, while she was on her 49,675th orbit, due to the failure of on-board lithium ion batteries that have met their end of life.

Although her desires were to be at work with other systems and sub-systems working normal as per the latest telemetry received, the on-board computer recurring to ‘Reset’ mode due to the failure of batteries is preventing her to do so.  Hence, it is decided not to expect any more meaningful and reliable services from HAMSAT VO-52.

Since 11th July, every best possible effort has been put in by the spacecraft controllers here in ISTRAC Bangalore to revive her back to life and to help her with work load, so she won’t be swamped when she returns, but with no luck.  Though it is hard, the HAMSAT VO-52 designers and controllers insist that the time has come to let the little angel free in space to go drifting on her own from their care and custody.

Thus, today 21st July 2014, ISRO have decommissioned ‘HAMSAT-VO52′

We all here in ISRO do definitely hope that ‘HAMSAT VO-52’ worked tirelessly and was a good friend to the ‘Amateur Radio Fraternity’

around the World. We are sure that HAMSAT was loved by all who worked through her. Though, we are deeply saddened by the loss of HAMSAT VO-52, but she will never be forgotten and far from our hearts, minds and memories.

HAMSAT VO-52 will always be remembered by all of us here in ISRO as one of the greatest satellites of ours.

Dear ‘HAMSAT’, looking at the sky, we all say ‘Good Bye’ to you.

You’ll be greatly missed. Rest in Peace.

Nevertheless, at this point of time, on behalf of the World Amateur Radio Fraternity, we thank each and everyone who contributed to the great success of ‘HAMSAT’.

Particularly, our sincere thanks to the Chairman ISRO, Dr. K.

Radhakrishnan, past chairmen Dr. Kasthurirangan, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, Director-ISAC Dr. S.K.Shiva Kumar, past ISAC Directors Dr. P.S. Goel, Dr.

Shankara, Dr. T.K. Alex, Director-ISTRAC Shri. B.S. Chandrasekhar, scientific secretary Dr. Koteshwar Rao, Project Director-Shri. J.P. Gupta, Deputy project Directors, Mission Director-Shri. R.Suresh, Operations Director-Shri. Parimalarangan and each and every person directly or in-directly contributed.

At this point of time, we also thank AMSAT-India and in particular, late Shri. Nagesh Upadhyaya-VU2NUD,  Shri. B.S. Gajendra Kumar-VU2BGS, Shri.

Prathap Kumar-VU2POP, Air Commodore. Subramanian-VU2UV, Shri.  V.P.

Sandlas-VU2VP, Dr.R. Ramesh-VU2RMS, Shri. Nitin-VU3TYG, Mr. Williams Leijenaar PE1RAH and each and every member.

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Pasted below is the message from Mr. R. Suresh, Mission Director:

HAMSAT, the first small satellite by ISRO has been Decommissioned after nearly a decade of service to the World Ham community.

A true masterpiece among small satellites, designed for one year mission life, but exceeded all expectations by serving for almost 10 years. A truly autonomous satellite, with “Zero maintenance“ in terms of Mission operations, it provided a springboard to test many new concepts such as BMU. LI-ion based power system, automatic Spin rate control and Auto SAOC for maintaining the Satellite attitude without any ground commanding.

HAMSAT known as “OSCAR-52” among the Amateur HAM operators has been very popular because of its high sensitivity receiver and strong transmitter. Indian Radio Amateurs on many occasions conveyed to us that they have been greatly honored to share the adulations showered on ISRO and INDIA by the International Radio Amateur for gifting this wonderful satellite “HAMSAT”.

I take this opportunity to applaud the HAMSAT teams at ISAC, ISTRAC and other centre for their efforts and  support, which has made ISRO proud among the HAM users across the globe.

R,SURESH

MISSION DIRECTOR

HAMSAT

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Mani [VU2WMY/KJ6LRS]

Secretary & Station-In-Charge

Upagrah Amateur Radio Club VU2URC

ISRO Satellite Centre

HAL Airport Road, Bangalore-560 017.

VO-52 "Hamsat"

VO-52 “Hamsat”