Fox-1 Goes to Cal Poly

Fox-1 is headed to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA for integration into the P-POD that will later be mounted in the NPSCuL* and on the launch vehicle.

While the NPSCuL may be coach class, Fox-1 gets to travel first class to San Luis Obispo with some express assistance from the friendly TSA at DFW Airport.  AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, worked with the TSA and a supervisory officer will meet him at the security checkpoint Tuesday morning in order to provide safe passage and handling of Fox-1 through the TSA security checkpoint and inspection process.  ESD protection and gloves are required as well as gentle handling, so everything is in the box with Fox.  Fox-1 needs to be guaranteed a safe arrival at Cal Poly for integration.

Photos below show Fox-1 in her final steps for shipping, with the last set of solar panel covers added (thanks to all who contributed to the solar panels!) and packed in her own Pelican case for the ride.  An small entourage of support equipment is still required including a way to safely return the solar panel covers to Texas to later be delivered to their donors, so the bigger “all in one” case still goes as checked baggage.

Stay tuned for more news as Fox-1 undergoes integration on Wednesday, March 25!

*Please see for a pdf describing the NPSCuL


AMSAT and University of Iowa News


AMSAT and University of Iowa Partner on Scientific Payload for Fox-1D

AMSAT and the University of Iowa have agreed to include the University’s
HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping
experiment on Fox-1D. According to Don Kirchner, KDØL, Research Engineer at
the University of Iowa, “HERCI is intended to provide a mapping of radiation
in a low earth orbit. This is of scientific interest for planning CubeSat
test flights for low energy X-Ray detectors.”

“The instrument consists of a digital processing unit (DPU) derived from
processors currently in orbit around Saturn on Cassini and on the way to
Jupiter on the Juno spacecraft,” says Kirchner. “The DPU was shrunk to a CubeSat
form factor with funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.”

The University of Iowa’s history in spaceflight research dates back to the
earliest satellites. As Kirchner puts it, “HERCI can be considered a direct
descendent of the first University of Iowa spaceflight instrument flown on
Explorer I in 1958. The instrument is being constructed as a Senior Design
Project by four Electrical Engineering students from the UI College of
Engineering, under supervision of Space Physics engineering staff from the
Department of Physics and Astronomy.”

AMSAT’s VP of Engineering, Jerry Buxton, NØJY, noted the win-win benefits of
the agreement, stating, “This partnership with the University of Iowa
illustrates our strategy of leveraging the new CubeSat design to assist
universities that need a way to fly scientific payloads while providing a
viable ongoing platform for amateur radio.”



In a Space Physics laboratory in Van Allen Hall, University of Iowa senior Electrical Engineering students Patrick Maloney, KD9CPD; Tyler Dunkel, KE0CHR; Kevin Klosterman, KD9CPF; and Bryan Senchuk, KD9CPE inspect the HERCI development boards.


The HERCI Engineering Model boards prior to initial test. The boards will be tested before installation of the radiation detector and hybrid circuits. The digital processor board is the first use of the Y90 microprocessor firmware which was donated by Monte Dalrymple,KR6DC, of Systemyde Corporation.


Photos courtesy of William Robison, KC0JFQ.

AMSAT Antenna Deal


AMSAT-NA and M2 Antenna Systems Announce Member-Only Special Pricing

M2 Antenna Systems, Inc. of Fresno, CA introduced the new satellite antenna
LEO-Pack using their 436CP16 and 2MCP8A yagis during the 2015 HamCation in
Orlando, FL.

The 436CP16 and 2MCP8A are light weight, circularly polarized antennas
optimized for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite communications or other applications
where a small circular polarized antenna is required. Optimum match and gain
designed for the satellite band.

Rear mounted for easy coaxial cable routing. A preamp (not included) can be
mounted close to the antenna for almost no coax loss before the preamp,
maximizing your receive performance.

Computer design techniques help keep spurious side lobes down for optimum
signal to noise rations. Both the 436CP16 and 2MCP8A feature the same CNC
machined, O-ring and silicone-gel sealed, driven element assemblies common to all M2Yagi Antennas. This insures years of trouble free performance regardless of weather.

M2 designed a custom LEO cross boom to pair these two antennas together for
a very manageable amateur satellite ground station.

AMSAT-NA and M2 Antenna Systems are pleased to announce that the LEO-Pack
system is being offered to members only at $499, shipping included (US only). Non-
members can join AMSAT-NA at time of purchase to participate in this special
purchase. The M2 list price is $545.99.

To place your order, visit the AMSAT store at:

M2 Antenna System’s LEO-Pack page can be found at:

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

Fox-1 “In the Bag” (Updated)

Fox-1 “In The Bag”!

Fox-1, the first Fox-1 series satellite (a.k.a. Fox-1A to the AMSAT Engineering Team) completed the final required testing January 16 through 23.

The tests included the launch provider required “DITL” (Day In The Life) and “environmental testing” subjecting the CubeSat to Vibration and Thermal Vacuum Bakeout, the latter two sometimes referred together as “shake and bake”.

DITL is required to show that Fox-1 will not deploy her antennas nor transmit any signals prior to a minimum of 45 minutes after she is deployed from the PPOD into orbit. The test was conducted at the “Fox Labs” QTH of Jerry Buxton NØJY on January 16. Bob Fitzpatrick KB5SQG assisted on site with Jonathan Brandenburg KF5IDY and Kevin Bishop KG7NSD supporting via GoToMeeting. It was a somewhat suspense filled test waiting for 45 minutes hoping nothing will happen, followed by another 11 minutes hoping something will happen. Everything performed as expected and the test was a success, with transmit antenna deployment at 56 minutes 21 seconds, receive antenna deployment at 56 minutes 32 seconds, and first transmission at 59 minutes 12 seconds.

On Monday January 19 Fox Engineering Team members Bob Davis KF4KSS, Burns Fisher W2BFJ, and Jerry Buxton NØJY traveled to Orlando FL to conduct the “shake and bake” at Qualtest.

Upon arrival Fox-1 was tested, inspected, and integrated into the TestPOD at the hotel and then the team traveled to Qualtest. Assisted by Lou McFadin W5DID, photographed by Dave Jordan AA4KN and observed by Ed Krome K9EK the vibration testing took place on Wednesday January 21 with frequencies and amplitudes that simulate the ride Fox-1 will be experiencing on the Atlas V rocket during launch, tested in all three (X,Y,Z) axes. After the “shake” a Short Functional Test and Aliveness Test were conducted, and Fox-1 worked like a charm!

Thursday January 21 Fox-1 was put into the thermal vacuum bell jar to be subjected to a 12 hour pre-soak at high altitude and temperature near the required test temperature in order to remove any rough contaminants that might harm the ion pump used during the “bake” procedure. Friday the 22nd Fox-1 went through the launch required Thermal Vacuum Bakeout which sustains a vacuum <1E-4 torr at a specified temperature for 6 hours in order to thoroughly remove any contaminants that might be left over from construction and handling and which could cause problems once the satellite and materials are exposed to the vacuum of space. Given the vacuum actually achieved during the process, we are very happy that Fox-1 was a “clean machine” even prior to the start of the procedure! Once the “bake” was complete Fox-1 was allowed to cool to near room temperature and then subjected to the same Short Functional Test and Aliveness Test as done on arrival in Florida and after the vibe test. Once again, Fox-1 worked as it should and was officially declared ready for launch!

While it is somewhat anti-climactic, Fox-1 was then carefully placed in an anti-static bag and will remain there until delivery and integration into the PPOD which is scheduled for mid-March 2015. Battery will be charged by the umbilical but no other handling, changes, testing, or function can be performed as once she passed the environmental testing Fox-1 officially became “hands off”.

As previously announced launch is scheduled for late August 2015.

Official photos and more information will be included in an upcoming AMSAT Journal. If you are on Facebook, the AMSAT North America Facebook page has some photos that were uploaded during the environmental testing.

Thanks NØJY and the Fox-1 Engineering Team for the information.

=============== UPDATE ===============

Fox-1 Continues Preparation for Launch

Following the successful conclusion of vibration and thermal/vacuum testing
Fox-1 now is stored in a clean environment waiting for launch. However,
there is still work going on behind the scenes.

AMSAT Vice-President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY says several required
reports are being reviewed by the launch provider. We continue to make
necessary updates if they request further information in order to be sure
that all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. The paperwork is an
ongoing full workload in itself, both during the design and construction and
even after Fox-1 was finished.

For the remaining schedule, Fox-1 will have its Mission Readiness Review
(MRR) at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo CA on February 24 before a review board of
Cal Poly and NASA representatives. Next, Fox-1 will be delivered and
integrated into the P-POD at Cal Poly during the week of March 16. Then the
countdown begins.

[ANS thanks AMSAT Vice-President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY for the
above information]

=============== UPDATE ===============

Fox-1A delivery/P-POD integration is now set, for March 25, 2015 at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  From there, we won’t see her again – but certainly look forward to hearing from her again!


Fox-1 MRR


Fox-1 MRR


"In the Bag!"

“In the Bag!”

Vibration Testing

Vibration Testing

Thermal Vacuum Bakeout

Thermal Vacuum Bakeout