ANS-031 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Jan 31, 2021

AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
ANS-031

The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and information service of AMSAT North America, The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation.  ANS publishes news related to Amateur Radio in space including reports on the activities of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating through analog and digital Amateur Radio satellites.

The news feed on http://amsat.org publishes news of Amateur Radio in space as soon as our volunteers can post it.

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to ans-editor at amsat dot org.

In this edition:

  • RadFxSat-2 Update – (January 29, 2021)
  • RadFxSat-2 Signals Detected, AMSAT Engineering Continues to Assess Status (January 28, 2021)
  • ARISS Operations Situation
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for January 28, 2021
  • QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo to Include Speaker Track on Amateur Radio Satellites
  • Ham Radio’s SuitSat Returns in Short Horror Film
  • Iodine Thruster Could Slow Space Junk Accumulation
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-031.01
ANS-031 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 031.01
From AMSAT HQ: 712 H Street NE  Suite 1653, Washington, DC 20002
January 31, 2021
To ALL RADIO AMATEURS
BID: $ANS-031.01

RadFxSat-2 Update (January 29, 2021)

From AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY:

“Thanks go to W5SAT, who applied the amateur radio spirit of exploration and innovation to helping find out “what’s up?” with RadFxSat-2.

“We appreciate his work and immediately applied it to our processes as we discover/recover RadFxSat-2.

“Why was it not heard or found week ago?  There could be an unexplained behavior such that it could not and was not able to occur until the other day. Our stations attempted transponder use under various conjectured and commanded states throughout this period as part of the exploration of the anomaly, but did not detect any signals. They were able to confirm their signals the night of the 27th.

“Following that we turned attention to the beacon, as you know. We have not discovered the beacon yet and we have contacted some top class “big gun” stations, asking for their help. The signal will obviously be pipsqueak and may not even be there. The drive to find it, or if it is not detected then to take possible actions to activate it, is the information in the telemetry that is paramount to knowing through satellite data exactly what is going on.  We asked you that the transponder not be used because any power to signals in the transponder downlink is power stolen from the beacon strength.  We have asked everybody to listen, as from the beginning, to help find it and find status and solutions faster. It may sound boring or useless but it is at the heart of every satellite launch and commissioning phase and perhaps the biggest part the general satellite community can play in the lifetime of the satellite. The payoff is important to all of us, and I invite anyone to join the hunt and share in the enjoyment of – whatever happens.

“I can’t say what we will be doing tomorrow for sure, we will be looking for any reports and telemetry as more and larger stations join and because we have seen behavior that is not clearly understood. Procedures and conclusions that are not carefully thought out could result in losing what we have now. It is comparable to NASA taking careful time in dealing with anomalies (barring safety-related issues). Very importantly, we will be watching to see if anyone captured anything at all from the telemetry in the beacon. All you have to do is hunt and catch one frame and you are a hero in this game. Your help is greatly appreciated.

“Unless there is some big news over the weekend, I expect that Monday evening would be the next opportunity for a short update, time permitting.”

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

RadFxSat-2 Signals Detected, AMSAT Engineering Continues to Assess Status (January 28, 2021)

On January 27, 2021, Brad Schumacher, W5SAT, reported copying his CW signal weakly via the RadFxSat-2 transponder. On the morning of January 28, AMSAT Engineering and Operations confirmed these reports and determined that RadFxSat-2 is partially functioning, though signals are extremely weak. AMSAT thanks W5SAT for his report.

AMSAT also appreciate those who joined in determining whether they could detect their own or other signals in recent passes today.

At this time it is essential and we ask you: Please do not attempt to transmit through the transponder until further notice. This is very important to the next steps the team is taking now.

The next crucial step in evaluating the condition of RadFxSat-2 is to determine whether or not the 1200 bps BPSK telemetry beacon is operating and, if possible, copy telemetry from the beacon. AMSAT asks that everyone with 70cm receive capability listen to the beacon frequency of 435.750 MHz (+/-) Doppler, upper sideband (USB). Use FoxTelem with your receiver in order to tune and capture any telemetry you can. Also make sure FoxTelem is set to “Upload to server” so that AMSAT receives your telemetry data. If you capture a good IQ recording on SDR, please send a detailed description of your recording to foxtelem@amsat.us. The team may respond with a request for your recording and details on how to transfer it to the AMSAT Engineering team. Please understand that keeping the transponder clear is essential to putting all power and attention to the beacon telemetry.

Two-line elements (TLE’s) are available in AMSAT’s nasabare.txt distribution at https://www.amsat.org/tle/current/nasabare.txt. Available data suggests that RadFxSat-2 is OBJECT M from the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne launch, NORAD ID 47320, international designation 21-002M.

AMSAT thanks the Amateur satellite community for their perseverance and assistance while the AMSAT Engineering and Operations teams work to understand and resolve the situation with RadFxSat-2.

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Engineering and Operations teams for the above information]

AMSAT’s GOLF Program is about getting back to higher orbits, and it
all begins with GOLF-TEE – a technology demonstrator for deployable
solar panels, propulsion, and attitude control. Come along for the
ride. The journey will be worth it!

https://tinyurl.com/ANS-GOLF

ARISS Operations Situation

Thursday, January 28., 2021 Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, ARISS-USA Executive Director issued the following statement.

“Today was a tough one for ARISS.  Let me explain.

“As you all know, an EVA (spacewalk) was conducted yesterday to install cabling on the exterior of Columbus to support the commissioning of the Bartolomeo attached payload capability mounted on the Columbus module. On January 26, prior to the EVA, our Columbus next generation radio system was shut off and the ISS-internal coaxial cable to the antenna was disconnected from the ARISS radio as a safety precaution for the EVA. During the EVA, our current external antenna coaxial cable, installed in 2009, was replaced with another one built by ESA/Airbus with four RF connectors included, as compared to the current 2 RF connections. This change was made to allow ESA to connect ARISS and 3 additional customers to Bartolomeo, as compared to ARISS and one additional RF customer.

“As you might have seen yesterday, the EVA was conducted and our cable connection was swapped out. This morning, the crew restarted the radio system. Not hearing any Voice Repeater reports, we requested a switch to APRS packet.  We still did not hear any downlink reports.  At 1746 UTC we had a planned ARISS school contact between our certified telebridge station ON4ISS, operated by Jan in Belgium, and Mike Hopkins on ISS. No downlink signal was heard during the contact. The crew radioed down ???no joy??? on the contact about halfway through the contact and the Newcastle High School, Newcastle Wyoming, USA contact attempt ended.

“Clearly, there is an issue. More troubleshooting will be required. It may be the new external RF cable that was installed during yesterday’s EVA. It might also be from the connect and disconnect of the interior coaxial (RF) cable. So the interior cable cannot not be totally discounted yet. The crew took pictures of the coaxial cable and connector attached to the ARISS radio inside the ISS. Because the exterior cable is a Bartolomeo cable and not an ARISS cable, we are working with ESA and NASA on a way forward. NASA has opened a Payload Anomaly Report on this issue.  We have talked to both the NASA and ESA representatives. These are the same folks that worked with us on previous ARISS hardware systems as well as the ESA Bartolomeo integration initiative. We have also asked our Russian team lead, Sergey Samburov, if we can temporarily use the radio in the Service Module for school contacts until we are able to resolve this issue. As we gather more information, we will share it with you.

“On behalf of the ARISS International Board, the Delegates and the entire team, I want to thank all of you for your tremendous volunteer support to ARISS.  We WILL get through this and be more resilient as a result.”

[ANS thanks Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO, ARISS-USA Executive Director for the above information.]

Need new satellite antennas? Purchase Arrows, Alaskan Arrows,
and M2 LEO-Packs from the AMSAT Store. When you purchase through
AMSAT, a portion of the proceeds goes towards
Keeping Amateur Radio in Space.
https://amsat.org/product-category/hardware/

Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for January 28, 2021

Available data suggests that RadFxSat-2 is OBJECT M from the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne 1-19-21 launch, NORAD ID 47320, international designation 21-002M. Therefore, The following satellite has been added to this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:

RadFxSat-2 – NORAD Cat ID 47320.
Thanks to Brad Schumacher, W5SAT for his report copying RadFxSat-2 and AMSAT Engineering Ops for the confirmation.

The following satellite has also been added to this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:

OBJECT N – NORAD Cat ID 47345.
This object was part of the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne Demo 2 launch of January 19, 2021. Object N was initially given the wrong launch date but that date was later corrected to 1-19-2021.

The current TLE’s can always be downloaded at https://www.amsat.org/tle/current/nasabare.txt.

[ANS thanks Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, AMSAT Keplerian Elements Manager for the above information.]

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo to Include Speaker Track on Amateur Radio Satellites

The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo on March 13 – 14, 2021 will devote a speaker track to AMSAT and the world of Amateur Radio satellites.

The Expo is in “full planning mode” and promises “many exciting new things” for the upcoming event, which will include a world-class lineup of more than 60 speakers and workshops for beginners to experts. Presenters at nine AMSAT sessions will discuss the broad spectrum of ham radio satellites, including:

– Introduction to Amateur Radio Satellites (Douglas Quagliana, KA2UPW)

– Getting on the Air with Satellites (Clint Bradford, K6LCS)

– How to Enjoy Amateur Radio Contacts with the International Space Station (Frank Bauer, KA3HDO)

– Implementation of LDPC Encoder on FPGA (Anshul Makkar)

– Debris Mitigation in Earth’s Orbit (Anshul Makkar)

– Digital Multiplexing Transponder from the Open Research Institute (Michelle Thompson, W5NYV)

– Solving the ITAR and EAR Problem for the Amateur Radio Satellite Service (Michelle Thompson, W5NYV)

– Remote Labs for P4XT Engineering Development (Paul Williamson, KB5MU)

Thompson, an AMSAT Board Member, said working satellites is one of the most rewarding privileges of holding an Amateur Radio license.

“There has never been a better time to be involved in amateur radio satellites, since some long-standing regulatory burdens have been lifted and advanced technology has never been more affordable and accessible,” Thompson remarked. “We have opportunities now that were not available as of even a few years ago. AMSAT is fortunate to contribute to the Expo by showcasing the truly amazing work going on around the world in the amateur satellite scene. And the Expo is an ideal partner to show it off to the wider ham audience.”

AMSAT will have a booth at the Expo, where attendees can talk to experts, enthusiasts, operators, and technicians and obtain contact and membership information for the 30 AMSAT societies around the world.

Early Bird tickets are $10 (to help cover the cost of this event) and $12.50 “at the door.” That includes entry for the live, 2-day event as well as access during the 30-day on-demand period following the event. Register on the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo website.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for the above information.]

Ham Radio’s SuitSat Returns in Short Horror Film

SuitSat loses its innocence in a new video short sci-fi thriller Decommissioned. “Inspired by true events,” the video short resurrects the 2006 spacesuit/satellite that transmitted messages on 2 meters as it circled Earth. The original SuitSat-1 project, conceived by an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team, repurposed a decommissioned Russian Orlan spacesuit to function as a free-floating amateur radio transmit-only satellite.

“ARISS designed and built an antenna and radio gear that got approved for installation into the suit, and cosmonaut Valeri Tokarev and Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, put SuitSat-1 into orbit at the start of a spacewalk,” ARISS-US Delegate for ARRL Rosalie White, K1STO, recounted. SuitSat-1 transmitted a voice message, “This is SuitSat-1 RS0RS!” in several languages, plus telemetry and a slow-scan TV image on an 8-minute cycle as it orbited Earth.

In the 6-minute film, a SuitSat returns in the future to haunt International Space Station commander “Diaz,” played by Joey Vieira. Diaz is seen taking photos from inside an observation dome on the ISS when he spies some distant space debris and radios Houston to express concern.

“If there was any cause for alarm, you know we’d see it too,” Houston assures.

As the object closes in, an increasingly anxious Diaz recognizes the “debris” as SuitSat. “This is SuitSat,” comes a voice on the ham radio.

“Houston, you’re not gonna believe this. We’re picking up transmissions on the ham radio that sound identical to the SuitSat experiment,” he tells a skeptical mission control. “It’s SuitSat! I’m seeing SuitSat!”

“SuitSat re-entered the atmosphere and burned up years ago,” mission control responds. “It’s impossible.”

Decommissioned was produced by Perception Pictures and directed by Australian filmmaker Josh Tanner. He told Gizmodo that he produced the video “using the Unreal Engine technology that The Mandalorian used, albeit old-school rear projection, as opposed to the fancy LED wall tech they used.”

SuitSat-1 — called Radioskaf or Radio Sputnik in Russian — was so successful that another unneeded Orlan spacesuit was subsequently refitted as SuitSat-2.

As an interesting sidebar with respect to the real SuitSat, White explained, “After the ARISS engineers calculated SuitSat-1’s orbit and spin characteristics, they knew the legs and arms would have to be filled with something, so they asked the crew to stuff dirty laundry inside.”

White said Decommissioned was a hit at a recent ARISS meeting. The original SuitSats were deorbited to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere after their useful lives ended.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for the above information.]

Iodine Thruster Could Slow Space Junk Accumulation

For the first time ever, a telecommunications satellite has used an iodine propellant to change its orbit around Earth. The small but potentially disruptive innovation could help to clear the skies of space junk, by enabling tiny satellites to self-destruct cheaply and easily at the end of their missions, by steering themselves into the atmosphere where they would burn up. The technology could also be used to boost the mission lifetime of small CubeSats that monitor agricultural crops on Earth or entire mega-constellations of nanosats that provide global internet access, by raising their orbits when they begin to drift towards the planet.

The technology was developed by ThrustMe, a spin-off company from the École Polytechnique and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), and supported by ESA through its programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES). It uses a novel propellant – iodine – in an electric thruster that controls the satellite’s height above Earth. Iodine is less expensive and uses simpler technologies than traditional propellants. Unlike many traditional propellants, iodine is non-toxic and it is solid at room temperature and pressure. This makes it easier and cheaper to handle on Earth. When heated, it turns to gas without going through a liquid phase, which makes it ideal for a simple propulsion system. It is also denser than traditional propellants, so it occupies smaller volumes onboard the satellite.

ThrustMe launched its iodine thruster on a commercial research nanosat called SpaceTy Beihangkongshi-1 that went into space in November 2020. It was test fired earlier this month before being used to change the orbit of the satellite.

[ANS thanks ESA for the above information.]

AMSAT, along with our ARISS partners, is developing an amateur
radio package, including two-way communication capability, to
be carried on-board Gateway in lunar orbit.

Support AMSAT’s projects today at https://www.amsat.org/donate/

Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events

No events listed.

Upcoming Satellite Operations

Watch Twitter, there are lots pop-up roves happening lately.

Send your upcoming rover operations to Paul Overn, KE0PBR at ke0pbr at gmail dot com.

ARISS News

Upcoming Contacts

Vladivostok, Russia, direct via TBD
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be RSØISS.
The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz.
The scheduled astronaut is Sergey Ryzhikov.
Contact is go for Friday, February 5, 2021 at 08:35 UTC.

Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Ottawa, ON, Canada, multi-point telebridge via AB1OC
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS.
The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz.
The scheduled astronaut is Mike Hopkins KF5LJG.
Contact is go for Friday, February 5, 2021 at 17:41:04.

Successful Contacts

Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, Direct
The ISS callsign was RSØISS.
The downlink frequency was 145.800 MHz.
The astronaut was Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
Contact was successful on Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 08:25 UTC.

The latest information on the operation mode can be found at https://www.ariss.org/current-status-of-iss-stations.html.

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N  for the above information.]

Satellite Shorts from All Over

35 Years Ago: Remembering Challenger and Her Crew

On Jan. 28, 1986, the astronauts once again boarded Challenger as managers had cleared the launch despite unexpectedly cold temperatures overnight at KSC. Managers considered significant ice covering parts of the launch tower as not enough of a concern to delay the launch. In behind-the-scenes discussions, concerns by engineers about the effects of the cold temperatures on the integrity of O-rings in SRB segment joints were overruled by managers who cleared Challenger to launch. Liftoff took place at 11:38 a.m. Eastern time.

As soon as Challenger cleared the launch tower, control of the vehicle shifted from KSC’s Launch Control Center to the Mission Control Center (MCC) at JSC, where ascent Flight Director Jay H. Greene and his team monitored the mission’s progress. For the first minute or so, the launch appeared to proceed normally, with the usual callouts between the crew and capsule communicator Richard O. Covey in MCC. At 73 seconds after liftoff, controllers lost all telemetry from Challenger and noticed a fireball on television screens. Stunned controllers slowly came to realize that the vehicle had suffered a major malfunction that the crew likely did not survive.

Read the entire article at https://www.nasa.gov/feature/35-years-ago-remembering-challenger-and-her-crew.

[ANS thanks NASA for the above information.]

Build a Fully Automatic Amateur and APT Weather Satellite Ground Station

Over on GitHub stdevPavelmc has released his software called FAASGS (Fully Automatic Amateur Satellite Ground Station). FAASGS is an open source program that allows RTL-SDR users to set up a satellite ground station that tunes, record and generate images for NOAA APT weather satellites, as well as records FM amateur radio satellites. The software runs on a single board computer such as a Raspberry Pi.

Read the full article at https://www.rtl-sdr.com/.

[ANS thanks RTL-SDR.com for the above information.]

‘Another One Leaves The Crust’ Launch Completed By Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab has successfully launched their 18th Electron mission, ‘Another One Leaves The Crust,’ on January 20, 2021. This is the first mission in a busy launch manifest for 2021, which includes multiple dedicated and rideshare small satellite missions for government and commercial customers. This year will also see Rocket Lab launch a Photon mission to the Moon in support of NASA’s CAPSTONE program.

For the complete story go to https://news.satnews.com/2021/01/20/rocket-labs-first-launch-of-2021-for-mid-january-for-ohb-group/.

[ANS thanks SatNews.com for the above information.]

Not an AMSAT member? Join now at https://launch.amsat.org/

In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the President’s Club. Members of the President’s Club, as sustaining donors to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive additional benefits. President’s Club donations may be made at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-PresClub.

Primary and secondary school students are eligible for membership at one-half the standard yearly rate. Post-secondary school students enrolled in at least half-time status shall be eligible for the student rate for a maximum of six post-secondary years in this status. Contact info at the amsat dot org for additional student membership information.

73,

This week’s ANS Editor,
Frank Karnauskas, N1UW
n1uw at amsat dot org

RadFxSat-2 Update – January 29, 2021

From AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY:

Thanks go to W5SAT, who applied the amateur radio spirit of exploration and innovation to helping find out “what’s up?” with RadFxSat-2.

We appreciate his work and immediately applied it to our processes as we discover/recover RadFxSat-2.

Why was it not heard or found week ago?  There could be an unexplained behavior such that it could not and was not able to occur until the other day.  Our stations attempted transponder use under various conjectured and commanded states throughout this period as part of the exploration of the anomaly, but did not detect any signals.  They were able to confirm their signals the night of the 27th.

Following that we turned attention to the beacon, as you know.  We have not discovered the beacon yet and we have contacted some top class “big gun” stations, asking for their help.  The signal will obviously be pipsqueak and may not even be there.  The drive to find it, or if it is not detected then to take possible actions to activate it, is the information in the telemetry that is paramount to knowing through satellite data exactly what is going on.  We asked you that the transponder not be used because any power to signals in the transponder downlink is power stolen from the beacon strength.  We have asked everybody to listen, as from the beginning, to help find it and find status and solutions faster.  It may sound boring or useless but it is at the heart of every satellite launch and commissioning phase and perhaps the biggest part the general satellite community can play in the lifetime of the satellite.  The payoff is important to all of us, and I invite anyone to join the hunt and share in the enjoyment of – whatever happens.

I can’t say what we will be doing tomorrow for sure, we will be looking for any reports and telemetry as more and larger stations join and because we have seen behavior that is not clearly understood.  Procedures and conclusions that are not carefully thought out could result in losing what we have now.  It is comparable to NASA taking careful time in dealing with anomalies (barring safety-related issues).  Very importantly, we will be watching to see if anyone captured anything at all from the telemetry in the beacon.  All you have to do is hunt and catch one frame and you are a hero in this game.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

Unless there is some big news over the weekend, I expect that Monday evening would be the next opportunity for a short update, time permitting.

RadFxSat-2 Signals Detected, AMSAT Engineering Continues to Assess Status

On January 27th, Brad Schumacher, W5SAT, reported copying his CW signal weakly via the RadFxSat-2 transponder. On the morning of January 28th, AMSAT Engineering and Operations confirmed these reports and determined that RadFxSat-2 is partially functioning, though signals are extremely weak. AMSAT thanks W5SAT for his report.

We also appreciate those who joined in determining whether they could detect their own or other signals in recent passes today.

At this time it is essential and we ask you: Please do not attempt to transmit through the transponder until further notice. This is very important to the next steps we are taking now.

The next crucial step in evaluating the condition of RadFxSat-2 is to determine whether or not the 1200 bps BPSK telemetry beacon is operating and, if possible, copy telemetry from the beacon. We ask that everyone with 70cm receive capability listen to the beacon frequency of 435.750 MHz (+/-) Doppler, upper sideband (USB). Use FoxTelem with your receiver in order to tune and capture any telemetry you can. Also make sure FoxTelem is set to “Upload to server” so that we receive your telemetry data. If you capture a good IQ recording on SDR, please send a detailed description of your recording to foxtelem at amsat.us. We may respond with a request for your recording and details on how to transfer it to the AMSAT Engineering team. Please understand that keeping the transponder clear is essential to putting all power and attention to the beacon telemetry.

Two-line elements (TLEs) are available in AMSAT’s nasabare.txt distribution at https://www.amsat.org/tle/current/nasabare.txt. Available data suggests that RadFxSat-2 is OBJECT M from the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne launch, NORAD ID 47320, international designation 21-002M.

We thank the amateur satellite community for their perseverance and assistance while the AMSAT Engineering and Operations teams work to understand and resolve the situation with RadFxSat-2.

ANS-024 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Jan 24, 2021

AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
ANS-024

The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and information service of AMSAT, The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS publishes news related to Amateur Radio in Space including reports on the activities of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating through analog and digital Amateur Radio satellites.

The news feed on http://www.amsat.org publishes news of Amateur Radio in Space as soon as our volunteers can post it.

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to: ans-editor at amsat.org.

You can sign up for free e-mail delivery of the AMSAT News Service Bulletins via the ANS List; to join this list see: https://mailman.amsat.org/postorius/lists/ans.amsat.org/

In this edition:

  • Update on the Status of RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E
  • UVSQ-SAT Launch Now January 24th
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for January 21, 2021
  • ftp.amsat.org Service to be Terminated
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-024.01
ANS-024 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 024.01
From AMSAT HQ WASHINGTON, DC
DATE January 24, 2021
To All RADIO AMATEURS
BID: $ANS-024

Update on the Status of RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E

RadFxSat-2 was launched Sunday, January 17, on Virgin Orbit LauncherOne launch vehicle.  Reports from the launch provider stated that telemetry confirmed that the deploy commands had been sent and that all of the doors opened successfully, resulting in payload orbits that were all within the ICD limits.

Nominally, we expected to see “First (digital) Veronica” from the RadFxSat-2 telemetry beacon commencing 54 minutes after our deployment from the launch vehicle.  That did not occur as expected.

For each of our launches, we follow a number of steps documented in the “In Orbit Checklist” (IOC) spreadsheet.  Confirmation of launch and deployment are the first steps and then, confirmation of beacon reception.  All other steps follow that but there are steps in case of anomaly, beginning with the detection of the beacon.

As always, from the moment we are deployed we look for signs of the beacon through the ears of amateur radio operators and other means, SatNOGS and webSDR to name a few.  The antenna deployment and full start of the IHU to bring up the beacon can occur anywhere around the globe.  AMSAT greatly appreciates the ongoing and reliable help we receive from you and it is by far the best satellite ground network even beyond that of many commercial players, for LEO orbits.

Command coverage is limited to the United States for various reasons including regulatory requirements, so the opportunity to exercise the steps of the IOC occurs a few times per day as the orbit passes over us.

With no sign of the beacon after a few orbits offering good footprints for reception, we proceeded with the contingency steps to verify the presence of or activate the beacon.  This past week our Engineering and Operations Team members have been at work literally 20 hours per day exercising all of the contingencies outlined in the IOC steps.  These steps have grown and matured with each launch of a Fox-1 program CubeSat and are tailored to the specific satellite.  RadFxSat-2, while she may seem to be much the same as the others with the exception of the transponder vs. FM radio, does present a number of variations to be included in the IOC.  As the results of those steps were exhausted with no beacon detected, we added meetings and increased emails including all of our engineers to discuss possible causes by any of the systems and to develop further steps.

From those we drew new steps of command sequences that might overcome whatever anomaly existed and make the beacon heard.  As the week drew on, we continued brainstorming and steps to activate other functions that would provide proof of life.  We continue to do so today and for whatever time until we exhaust all possibilities that we are able to draw from the expertise and satellite experience of our Engineering Team and Operations Team drawing from the design of RadFxSat-2 and lessons learned in the Fox-1 program as well as any from missions prior to AMSAT’s first CubeSats.

AMSAT still needs your help as always, to help detect any sign of activity from RadFxSat-2.  This includes ability to listen for local oscillators or transponder driver output in the case of a failed PA.

I personally ask that those of you who are and have been interested in the entire process of bringing a new amateur radio satellite to orbit and through end of life to continue to contribute your curiosity and enthusiasm in exploring from your own station, to pursue the possibilities of a successful RadFxSat-2 mission along with us.  I have received reports and queries from some of you, and I greatly appreciate your contributions.  You are in fact volunteers in the AMSAT Engineering Team through your contribution.

If you are interested, I ask that you do due diligence in your procedure if you think you have identified a signal by re-creating (if possible) and verifying to yourself that what you have is credible, as we do, before contacting us.  That “standard” procedure is what adds value by making the information actionable rather than placing the onus of determining if it is even real upon us, because we are of course quite busy with that already.  Please email your findings to foxtelem@amsat.us and allow us a day or two to acknowledge and/or reply.

While we tend to talk about our involvement with RadFxSat-2 above all, a real effect reaches outside our mutual desire for amateur radio satellite fun.  RadFxSat-2 is sponsored by Vanderbilt University as part of our long partnership going back to Fox-1A.  RadFxSat-2’s mission belongs to Vanderbilt University as part of their RadFX series of missions seeking to verify and explore radiation effects on COTS components.  Their mission coincides well with AMSAT’s desire to fly lower cost satellite missions using COTS components, in the unfriendly radiation environment of Earth orbit and beyond.  Vanderbilt also sponsored the CSLI for RadFxSat (one) in our Fox-1B spacecraft back in 2012.  Their proposal was selected by NASA, flown on the ELaNa XIV mission in November of 2017.

RadFxSat’s mission was very successful in the information provided through the combined telemetry-gathering of all of those who pursue our missions through FoxTelem.  Vanderbilt University published their results giving praise to AMSAT and our Fox-1 CubeSats. The experiments we host are built by students and Vanderbilt shares the experiences with the educational community in their area.  That is a success for AMSAT as well in our goal to provide STEM and other educational contributions.

While the RadFxSat-2 mission is problematic at this time, we will pursue every possibility to make her work for the amateur community and for our partner.  I certainly hope to continue our partnership with Vanderbilt, the mutual benefit is a wonderful and fun undertaking that adds to the value of our satellites.

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

Purchase AMSAT Gear on our Zazzle storefront.
25% of the purchase price of each product goes
towards Keeping Amateur Radio in Space
https://www.zazzle.com/amsat_gear

UVSQ-SAT Launch Now January 24th

The launch of UVSQ-SAT, which carries an FM transponder for amateur radio use is now planned for January 24, 2020 at 15:00 UTC.

The project team is offering a gift to the first 5 people who receive the satellite’s signal and the first 5 people who receive and decode the signal and submit it to the AMSAT-F server and/or SatNOGS.

For more information on UVSQ-SAT, see the following links:

http://uvsq-sat.projet.latmos.ipsl.fr/?ong=Ham-Radio
https://site.amsat-f.org/uvsq-sat/
https://lasp.colorado.edu/home/inspire/

[ANS thanks Christophe Mercier, AMSAT-F President, for the above information]

AMSAT’s GOLF Program is about getting back to higher orbits, and it
all begins with GOLF-TEE – a technology demonstrator for deployable
solar panels, propulsion, and attitude control. Come along for the
ride. The journey will be worth it!

https://tinyurl.com/ANS-GOLF

Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for January 21, 2021

On January 19, 2021 at about 22:28 UTC Virgin Orbit LauncherOne Demo 2 placed 11 new satellites into orbit. AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2 was among the 11 new satellites. The following is a summary of identified and not yet identified satellites from that launch as the date of this email.

So far, the following satellites have been identified and added to this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:

CAPE 3 – Cat ID 47309
MiTEE 1 – Cat ID 47314
ExoCube 2 – Cat ID 47319

Thanks to Nico Janssen (PA0DLO), Alan Biddle (WA4SCA), and SatNogs for the above IDs.

The object Cat ID 47316 is the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket body and has not been added.

The following are unidentified satellites that have been added to this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:

OBJECT B – Cat ID 47310
OBJECT C – Cat ID 47311
OBJECT D – Cat ID 47312
OBJECT E – Cat ID 47313
OBJECT G – Cat ID 47315
OBJECT J – Cat ID 47317
OBJECT K – Cat ID 47318
OBJECT M – Cat ID 47320

Alan Biddle, WA4SCA, notes that the unidentified OBJECTS C, D, and M are in the center of the pack and are good candidates for being RadFxSat-2.

[ANS thanks Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, AMSAT Keplerian Elements Manager for the above information]

ftp.amsat.org Service to be Terminated

User habits have evolved over the decades favoring file transfer via HTTP(S) and we are now seeing very little activity via the FTP protocol. AMSAT will eliminate the administrative burden and other costs of FTP operation and is proposing to terminate FTP services on 15 April 2021.

Please let us know at webmaster at amsat.org if this will cause any difficulty with any automated systems, especially with respect to dissemination of orbital elements. If you have such a system, please adjust them to get elements from the following locations:

https://www.amsat.org/tle/current/nasabare.txt
https://www.amsat.org/tle/current/nasa.all

Editor’s Note: The gigabytes of historical files and information available at ftp.amsat.org will continue to be available. Details for accessing this archive will be made available at a later date.

[ANS thanks Joe Fitzgerald, KM1P, AMSAT IT Team Leader for the above information]

ARISS News

Maine Regional School Unit #21, Kennebunk, ME, multi-point telebridge via IK1SLD

The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be OR4ISS
The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz
The scheduled astronaut is Mike Hopkins KF5LJG

Contact was successful: Thu 2021-01-21 18:27:40 UTC 52 deg
Watch for live stream at https://youtu.be/LN70OpJFMgs

Newcastle High School, Newcastle, WY, multi-point telebridge via ON4ISS

The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be Mike Hopkins KF5LJG
The down link frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz
The scheduled astronaut is Victor Glover KI5BKC

Contact is go for Option #5: Thu 2021-01-28 17:46:13 UTC 80 deg

The latest information on the operation mode can be found at https://www.ariss.org/current-status-of-iss-stations.html

The latest list of frequencies in use can be found at https://www.ariss.org/contact-the-iss.html

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, ARISS Operations, for the above information]

Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events

Want to see AMSAT in action or learn more about amateur radio in space?

AMSAT Ambassadors provide presentations, demonstrate communicating through amateur satellites, and host information tables at club meetings, hamfests, conventions, maker faires, and other events.

From Clint Bradford, K6LCS

THANK YOU to The Villages Amateur Radio Club in Florida! We just had a great time (01/21/2021) discussing working amateur satellites. One of their members’ sons is THE control op for AO-27 – don’t you DARE delete those memories from your radios just yet!

Upcoming Zoom “How to Work Amateur Satellites With You HT” presentations:

February 8 – An ARES meeting in Los Angeles county
March 1 – Western Amateur Radio Association, Orange County, CA
TBD – Palm Springs Desert RATS
June 15 – Wellesley Amateur Radio Society, Eastern Massachusetts

Think a 90-minute, informative, and FUN presentation on working satellites would be appropriate for YOUR club? Let me know!

Clint Bradford K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
909-999-SATS (7287)

[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, and Clint Bradford, K6LCS, for the above information]

Need new satellite antennas? Purchase Arrows, Alaskan Arrows,
and M2 LEO-Packs from the AMSAT Store. When you purchase through
AMSAT, a portion of the proceeds goes towards
Keeping Amateur Radio in Space.
https://amsat.org/product-category/hardware/

Upcoming Satellite Operations

****Watch Twitter, there are lots pop-up roves happening lately, and I can’t keep this page updated with all of them.****

WL7T is roving in the Western US. Check https://twitter.com/Tyler_WL7T for updates.

K7ZOO is roving DL88 or DL89. and others in the area. Check https://twitter.com/K7ZOO_rover for details.

Please submit any additions or corrections to ke0pbr at gmail.com

[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, for the above information]

AMSAT, along with our ARISS partners, is developing an amateur
radio package, including two-way communication capability, to
be carried on-board Gateway in lunar orbit.

Support AMSAT’s projects today at https://www.amsat.org/donate/

Satellite Shorts From All Over

+ The first satellite with a Hall-effect thruster has gone to space. Check out the Universe Today article at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-024-Hall

+ An iodine propellant has been used to change a satellite’s orbit for the first time. Check out the European Space Agency article at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-024-Iodine

+ Videos of the 2021 Ham Radio University presentations are posted at https://www.youtube.com/c/HamRadioUniversityNLI

Presentations handouts and slide decks are available at http://hamradiouniversity.org/past-presentations/

The HRU 2021 – The Art of Operating Amateur Satellites with an HT by Peter Portanova, W2JV is posted at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSj-mo7oYxE

+ Sean Kutzko, KX9X, discussed amateur satellites on the DX Engineering YouTube channel. Check out the replay at https://youtu.be/HYrcVbN2J9o

+ The November/December 2020 issue of The AMSAT Journal is available for AMSAT members at https://launch.amsat.org/The_AMSAT_Journal/

+ Several new products are available on the AMSAT Zazzle store, including a set of coasters, a watch, a t-shirt featuring the AMSAT round logo, and more. Check out the new items! 25% of the purchase price goes towards Keeping Amateur Radio in Space. https://www.zazzle.com/amsat_gear

+ All issues of The AMSAT Journal dating back to 2014 are now available to AMSAT members on AMSAT’s new membership portal. The 1969-2013 archive will be added at a later date. All editions of AMSAT’s Symposium Proceedings are also available for members. If you’re a current AMSAT member, get logged on today. If you are not yet a member, consider joining today at https://launch.amsat.org/

+ The 2020 edition of AMSAT’s Getting Started with Amateur Satellites is now available on the AMSAT store. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The book is presented in DRM-free PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite. The digital download is available for $15 at https://tinyurl.com/2020GettingStarted. The print edition is $30 plus shipping and is available at https://tinyurl.com/GS2020Print

/EX

In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the President’s Club. Members of the President’s Club, as sustaining donors to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive additional benefits. President’s Club donations may be made at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-PresClub.

Primary and secondary school students are eligible for membership at one-half the standard yearly rate. Post-secondary school students enrolled in at least half time status shall be eligible for the student rate for a maximum of 6 post-secondary years in this status.

Join AMSAT today at https://launch.amsat.org/

73 and remember to help Keep Amateur Radio in Space,

This week’s ANS Editor,

Paul Stoetzer, N8HM
n8hm at amsat dot org