Ever since the launch of OSCAR 1 in 1961, it has been traditional for amateur radio satellites to carry the name OSCAR, for "Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio". At the request of the original Project OSCAR organization, AMSAT-NA now administers the numbering of OSCAR satellites according to the following policy.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and AMSAT-NA have adopted the paper Information for Developers of Satellites Planned to Use Frequency Bands Allocated to the Amateur-Satellite Service, which can be found on the IARU satellite frequency coordination page.
The following requirements must be satisfied in order to obtain an OSCAR designation:
1) The spacecraft's use of frequencies in the amateur bands must have been coordinated before launch through established IARU/AMSAT frequency coordination.
2) The spacecraft must have successfully achieved orbit and/or have been successfully deployed.
3) Once in orbit, one or more transmitters must have been successfully activated in the amateur satellite service.
4) After the above requirements have been met, the organization or organizations which are the builders/owners of the spacecraft must request that AMSAT-NA assign a consecutive OSCAR number to the spacecraft as follows:
5) In the case of multiple payloads sharing the same booster, the amateur radio satellite that is placed into orbit first (first off the launch stack) will normally receive the earlier OSCAR number.
Please note that there is no requirement for an OSCAR number to be assigned to a satellite in order for it to be legitimately recognized and used in the amateur satellite service. However OSCAR numbers are a proud tradition of amateur radio, one that we hope to keep going for many years to come.
Updated June 30, 2003. Feedback on the OSCAR number policy should be directed to the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors. Feedback on this page to KB5MU.