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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OSCAR Number for LituanicaSAT-1

Lituanicasat-1-frequencies

Lituanicasat-1-frequencies

In a message to the LituanicaSAT-1 team, AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator Bill Tynan, W3XO announced, “LituanicaSAT-1 has met all of the requirements for an OSCAR number. My findings from information provided to AMSAT-NA and IARU officials confirm this to be true. Accordingly, under the authority vested in me by the AMSAT-NA President, I do hereby assign LituanicaSAT-1 the designation LituanicaSAT OSCAR-78, or LO-78. I, and all of the amateur radio satellite community, wish LituanicaSAT OSCAR-78 a long and successful mission.”

On behalf of the LituanicaSAT-1 team, Simon Kareiva, LY2EN replied, “It is my honor and pleasure to accept this assignation. Our team is focused to keep LO-78 operational for the benefit of amateur radio as long, as it is possible for a small cubesat. Thank you very much, Simon LY2EN.”

The LituanicaSAT-1 team has announced activation of the FM transponder. A general rule to find out if the transponder is working at the moment is to monitor the beacon frequency on 437.275 MHz. If you can hear CW FM beacon it means that transponder is off, if you cannot hear it –  the transponder is on. The transponder frequencies are approximately 435.1755 MHz (+/- 10 kHz Doppler shift) for the downlink and 145.950 MHz for the uplink with 67 Hz CTCSS.

[ANS thanks Bill Tynan, W3XO, AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator for the above information]

First Call for 2014 AMSAT Space Symposium Papers

This is the first call for papers for the 2014 AMSAT Annual Meeting
and Space Symposium to be held on the weekend of October 10-12, 2014,
at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, Baltimore-Washington International
Airport (BWI), Baltimore, Maryland. Proposals for papers, symposium
presentations and poster presentations are invited on any topic of
interest to the amateur satellite community. We request a tentative
title of your presentation as soon as possible, but no later than
August 1. The final copy must be submitted by September 15 for
inclusion in the printed proceedings. Abstracts and papers should be
sent to Dan Schultz at n8fgv at amsat.org

[ANS thanks the 2014 Baltimore Symposium Committee for the above
information]