AMSAT CubeSatSim Beta Release – v1.3

You might have heard about it or seen it at Hamvention or Symposium, but the official release of the new Beta CubeSatSim hardware and software is finally here!!

The new beta PCB board set v1.3 is shown in Figure 1, the new board stack is shown in Figure 2, and the new frame and solar panels is in Figure 3.


Figure 1. AMSAT CubeSatSim Beta PCB Board Set.  From left to right, battery board, STEM Payload board, and Solar board (the replacement for the Main board)

Figure 2. AMSAT CubeSatSim Beta Board Stack


Figure 3. AMSAT CubSatSim Beta Frame and Solar Panels

Here are some links to information about the Beta release:

The software for the beta release is here:

The beta wiki instructions are here:

The beta Bill of Materials (BOM) is here:

The beta hardware files are here:

The beta frame STL files for 3D printing are here:

Information about the latest beta software release is here:

The AMSAT CubeSatSim is a low-cost, fully functional open source model of a CubeSat nano-satellite.  It has the following features:

  • Working solar panels and rechargeable batteries
  • Multi-channel voltage, current, and temperature telemetry transmitted in the Amateur Radio UHF band generated by a Raspberry Pi Zero single board computer
  • Telemetry decoding using AMSAT’s FoxTelem software or APRS software
  • STEM Payload board with Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller with sensors
  • Tape measure dipole or SMA antenna with integrated Low Pass Filter
  • 3D printed frame

Here is a summary of the changes with the new beta hardware and software:

  • New FM transceiver module for better frequency stability and simple command and control receiver to change telemetry modes using RF
  • More modern and cheaper Raspberry Pi Pico micro controller on STEM Payload board
  • Easily connect additional sensors for the Pico or Pi using the Qwiic connector system ( )
  • SSTV camera images now display callsign and battery status overlay
  • Can be modified to fly as a balloon payload with 500mW FM output for SSTV, APRS, or CW transmissions with software support on Pico for a serial GPS module
  • Lower parts cost and easier to source. All parts can now be sourced from electronics distributors and Amazon including easy to find solar panels.  New BOM uses Octopart electronic part inventory site with one click distributor ordering (
  • Redesigned for blue INA219 voltage and current sensors instead of more expensive purple ones
  • Battery board now has integrated voltage and current sensor
  • Simpler electrical power system with no boost converter or charge control modules
  • Kits can be built with through hole parts except for a few surface mount parts.  Fully assembled boards will hopefully be available in the future using SMT parts
  • Transmit and receive frequencies easily configurable from default 434.9 MHz and 435 MHz

During this beta period, we ask for your help in testing the new hardware and software and making sure that all the instructions and documentation are accurate.  To help with this, I am pleased to announce that past purchasers of the CubeSatSim v1 PCB board sets are eligible for a free beta v1.3.2 set of PCB boards.  Just email me ku2y at! I will verify the order and ship you a new set of 3 blank boards.  The boards will have the surface mount components already mounted.  The first one hundred who contact me in the next three months will be eligible to receive them.  For other orders, you will be able to choose between the v1 boards or the new beta v1.3.2 boards.


Alan Johnston, PhD
AMSAT Vice President for Educational Relations

P.S. AMSAT has CubeSatSim Loaners available to ship to your event or presentation or STEM outreach activity – just contact me if you have an upcoming event email at ku2y at or on social media at @[email protected]