At the AMSAT-NA Annual General Meeting in Reno, NV, AMSAT-NA President Joe Spier, K6WAO, announced the next phase of AMSAT’s CubeSat program: GOLF. GOLF, an acronym for “Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint,” is a crucial step towards fulfilling AMSAT’s strategic goals involving high altitude, wide access satellite missions.
As an initial step in the GOLF program, the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors approved the submission of a NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative proposal for the GOLF-T satellite project. The GOLF-T project will serve as a rapidly deployable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) testbed for technologies necessary for a successful CubeSat mission to a wide variety of orbits, including LEO, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO), Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), or beyond.
AMSAT-NA Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, said “The GOLF-T project tees off the next phase of our CubeSat program. GOLF-T provides AMSAT hardware and knowledge for Attitude Determination and Control (ADAC) capability and the opportunity to develop a 3U spaceframe with deployable solar panels that can be used in LEO or HEO missions, two of the major systems required in future GOLF and HEO missions.”
In addition, GOLF-T provides the opportunity for rapid deployment and on orbit testing of the AMSAT’s Advanced Satellite Communications and Exploration of New Technology (ASCENT) program’s technology, including radiation tolerant transponder and Integrated Housekeeping Unit (IHU) technologies that will lead the way for low cost commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems that can function in the MEO and HEO radiation environments. GOLF-T will also provide for the development of “Five and Dime” Field-Programmable Gate Array Software Defined Radio (FPGA SDR) transponders for use on a variety of missions and orbits.