Did you know that Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D will be using different camera image resolutions?
While they both have the same model imager and camera system design, the Virginia Tech students decided that they wanted to try a smaller resolution with their camera because of the need to take two quick successive images in order to get the full 640×480 image. This can cause a “distortion” if the subject of the image is moving, as we saw in Fox-1Cliff EM testing.
A video showing the deployment of Fox-1A from the P-POD aboard the Centaur stage of the NROL-55 launch has been made available.
As each P-POD deployed, the deployment was recorded on video. The video is only about 3 seconds long, so it goes quickly. Jerry Buxton, N0JY, edited the video to add a 1/8 speed “slow motion” of the deployment which immediately follows the original in this YouTube video.
Fox-1A was in the bottom position of the P-POD, with BisonSat in the middle and then ARC1 at the top. You can catch a glimpse of the -Z and -Y faces of the Fox-1A satellite as it quickly disappears into the darkness with BisonSat and ARC1.
AMSAT’s Fox-1A is set to launch as part of the GRACE (Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experiment) auxillary payload on the NROL-55 mission October 8, 2015 from Vandenburg AFB on an Atlas V vehicle. The launch is scheduled for 5:49 AM PDT, with the NASA TV webcast starting at 5:29 AM PDT. NRO has released this factsheet about the mission: GRACE_CubeSat_FactSheet
There will be a briefing on October 7 to discuss the five NASA-sponsored CubeSats on this launch. This briefing will begin at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT) and will be broadcast via NASA TV and the NASA Website. The participants will be:
Richard Welle, director, Microsatellite Systems department at The Aerospace Corporation
Tim Olson, principal investigator for BisonSat, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana
Morgan Johnson, team lead for the ARC CubeSat, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Jerry Buxton, vice president, Engineering, for AMSAT Fox-1
Courtney Duncan, principal investigator for LMRST-Sat, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Keplerian Elements: We will provide the Keplerian elements (aka Keps or TLEs) to enable you to track Fox-1a as soon after launch as we get them (and are cleared to release them). The information will be placed on http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/keps/current/nasabare.txt . We have no control over when we can release the information, although we hope it will be within hours of the satellite deployment.
Initial Commissioning Period: Initially the transponder will not be on and will not respond to uplinks. Please do not attempt to uplink while we check out the satellite and commission it. We will publicize when we have opened the transponder to general use. You should expect the checkout phase to last for a minimum of several days and possibly for several weeks.
What To Listen For: During the initial checkout period and when the satellite is in range, every two minutes you will generally hear about 5 seconds of data followed by a few seconds of a voice ID (and possibly a second data packet). You may occasionally hear ‘data’ mode which Chris, G0KLA, has famously described as sounding like an old-fashioned telephone modem. If you should happen to hear what appear to be QSOs, please resist the temptation to join in before the commissioning period is over.
Please Send Telemetry Reports and Data: We would love to have you collect and upload as much data as you can, and to give any other kind of report on the amsat-bb mailing list (which some of the Fox team will monitor). You can also report hearing or not hearing it on http://www.amsat.org/status/
You can upload data using the FoxTelem telemetry program that we recently released. (Check the “upload to server” box in the properties/preference page). More data will help us do the checkout faster! Remember if you hear the “telephone modem” sound, you must switch FoxTelem to high-speed mode manually. Similarly FoxTelem must be in low-speed mode at other times.
We are planning a special award to the person who submits the first data from the satellite (by which we mean the earliest downlinked mission elapsed time), so get your rigs ready!
As part of the preparations for the launch and activation of this new satellite, AMSAT is making our “Getting Started With The Amateur Satellites” book available for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT Store. This offer is only available with purchases completed online, and for only a limited time. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The 132 page book is presented in PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite.
Please take advantage of this offer today by visiting the AMSAT store (click here) and selecting any membership option. While there, check out our other items, including the M2 LEOpack antenna system, AMSAT shirts, hats, and other swag. Thank you, and see you soon on Fox-1A!
Version 1.0 of the FoxTelem software for Windows, Mac, and Linux is available for download here. You may also select Fox Project –> FoxTelem Software for Windows, Mac, & Linux from the menu at the top of this page.