RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) Selected for Participation in NASA’s CSLI

radiationOn February 18, 2016 NASA announced the selection of RadFxSat-2, the Space Radiation Effects CubeSat, for participation in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.  RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) is another partnership opportunity between Vanderbilt University ISDE and AMSAT, similar to RadFxSat (Fox-1B) which is scheduled to launch in January 2017.  Vanderbilt University, with cooperation from AMSAT, submitted the RadFxSat-2 CSLI proposal in November 2015.

Out of 21 proposals, NASA is recommending 20 for participation in the CSLI opportunity.  RadFxSat-2 is prioritized #1 out of the 20 selected and has been offered an opportunity for a launch date.  The opportunity is being evaluated by Vanderbilt University and AMSAT to determine if it meets our mission and orbital parameters.

RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) will carry a radiation effects experiment similar to RadFxSat (Fox-1B) but will study new FinFET technology.

The Fox-1E spacecraft bus will be built on the Fox-1 series but will feature a linear V/U (Mode J) transponder “upgrade” to replace the standard FM repeater which Fox-1A through D have carried.  The downlink will feature a 1200 bps BPSK telemetry channel to carry the Vanderbilt science in addition to a 30 kHz wide transponder for amateur radio use.

Further details of the mission and timeline will be published as they become available and are cleared for public release.

Facts about Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D

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.

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KG5CCI & PY2RN New Distance Record on AO-7

Dave Swanson, KG5CCI reported that on February 10th, at 2009UTC he made a scheduled contact with Eduardo Erlemann, PY2RN, using AO-7 Mode B, from Shinnal Mountain just west of Little Rock, Arkansas.  His 10 digit grid locator for the contact was EM34ST20SC, and Eduardo’s station is located at GG66LW77JQ in Vinhedo/SP, Brazil. Using this mapping website for reference, this equates to 8030.895 km which we believe to be a new record for AO-7 Mode B.

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Phase 4B Weekly Ground Engineering Report

From Michelle Thompson via the AMSAT North America Facebook group.

So what happened when I finally got to the lab? Well, we able to obtain an example flow graph, with some controversy between installations, for DVB. Here is a DVB S2 transmitter in GNUradio. After some troubleshooting to get it to work with the X310, we saw an output waveform using the built-in instruments in GNUradio. Here’s the list of blocks availabe in mainstream GNUradio for DVB. Isn’t this great? Note that there is already DVB-S2X, although it has not been completely tested due to the lack of receivers. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help out here? Next, we transmitted a test signal. It looked a bit puny at first, but we found the settings for gain and improved performance a bit. In other advancements, the HackRF team submitted their first pull request in their documentation. Here’s an FM receiver implementation based on Michael Ossmann’s wonderful tutorials about using HackRF and GNUradio at https://greatscottgadgets.com/sdr/ 

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