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.
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In this edition:
- SpaceX Dragon Capsule Ferries Four Radio Amateurs to the ISS
- September/October Issue Of The AMSAT Journal Is Now Available
- New Launch Date for EASAT-2 and Hades Satellites
- Arecibo Observatory Faces Demolition After Cable Failures
- DX Portable Operation Planned From Thailand Grid NK99
- Human Error Blamed For Vega Launch Failure
- Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for November 19
- Moscow Aviation Institute Plans SSTV Event from ISS
- ARISS News * Upcoming Satellite Operations
- Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
- Satellite Shorts From All Over
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-327.01
ANS-327 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 327.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
DATE 2020 November 22
To All RADIO AMATEURS
SpaceX Dragon Capsule Ferries Four Radio Amateurs to the ISS
A SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying four radio amateurs autonomously docked on November 17 at 0401 UTC with the International Space Station (ISS). A SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher carrying the precious payload went into space on Sunday, November 15, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. They comprise the ISS Expedition 64/65 crew.
“Well, the ISS is loaded with hams now,” Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) US Delegate for ARRL Rosalie White, K1STO, said on Tuesday. “These four arrived very early this morning Eastern Time: NASA astronauts Victor Glover, KI5BKC; Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, and Shannon Walker, KD5DXB, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, KD5TVP.” This marks Glover’s first time in space. The others all are ISS veterans.
Earlier this year, NASA ISS Ham Project Coordinator Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, held amateur radio licensing study sessions for Glover, who passed the Technician-class exam on August 20.
The four will remain on station until next spring. They joined Expedition 64 Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey KudSverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, on the ISS.
White said all but Noguchi likely will take part in ARISS contacts with schools. White said the first school contact is tentatively scheduled for December 4 with Tecumseh High School in Oklahoma, home of the Tecumseh High School Amateur Radio Club, K5THS. She said the students have earned their ham licenses, and the club has built an antenna and is learning about satellites and circuits. Members of the South Canadian Amateur Radio Society of Norman, Oklahoma, are providing support and mentoring assistance.
The Sunday launch from Kennedy Space Center marked only the second crewed-flight for the SpaceX Crew Dragon, which became the first commercial vehicle to put humans into orbit when astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, KE5GGX, launched in May, and NASA gave SpaceX the go for future such launches.
“The return of human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built is a turning point for America’s future space exploration,” SpaceX claimed, “and it lays the groundwork for missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.”
(ANS thanks ARRL for the above information)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office is closed until further notice. For details, please visit https://www.amsat.org/amsat-office-closed-until-further-notice/
September/October Issue Of The AMSAT Journal Is Now Available
The September/October 2020 issue of The AMSAT Journal is now available to members on AMSAT’s Member Portal (https://launch.amsat.org/)
The AMSAT Journal is a bi-monthly magazine for amateur radio in space enthusiasts, published by the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT). Each issue is your source for hardware and software projects, technical tips, STEM initiatives, operational activities, and news from around the world.
Inside the Current Issue:
- Apogee View Robert Bankston, KE4AL
- Engineering Update – Jerry Buxton, N0JY
- Educational Relations Update Alan Johnston, KU2Y
- A Guide to the AMSAT CubeSatSim Alan Johnston, KU2Y; Pat Kilroy, N8PK; Jim McLaughlin, KI6ZUM; David White, WD6DRI
- User Services Update – Robert Bankston, KE4AL
- For Beginners — Amateur Radio Satellite Primer VII – Keith Baker, KB1SF/VA3KSF
- A 3D-Printed Parasitic Lindenblad Antenna for 70 cm Times Two! Curt Laumann, K7ZOO; Zach Metzinger, N0ZGO
- In Search of the Ultimate DX Scott Tilley, VE7TIL
[ANS thanks Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, AMSAT Executive VP, for the above information]
New Launch Date for EASAT-2 and Hades Satellites
AMSAT-EA President Felix Paez, EA4GQS, has announced the scheduled launch date for AMSAT-EA satellites EASAT-2 and HADES. Flying with SpaceX, the two nanosats are scheduled for launch on January 14, 2021. They have been already delivered and integrated on the Alba Orbital deployer.
The satellites have been configured to act as FM voice and FSK data repeaters and not as linear transponders as was the initial plan. In any case, they are believed to be the smallest satellites ever given such a function, as their size is only 7.5 x 5 x 5 cm.
Hades also flies a SSTV camera that will take and send pictures each 15 minutes. The camera module design is based on the one used in the PSAT2 satellite, adapted for AMSAT-EA by the Brno University of Technology.
Hades – FM voice repeater, callsign AM6SAT
uplink 145.925 MHz (no tone), downlink 436.888 MHz
EASAT-2 – FM voice repeater, callsign AM5SAT
uplink 145.875 MHz (no tone), downlink 436.666 MHz
Both satellites have also digitized FM voice beacons and FSK data repeaters.
These are the first satellites built by AMSAT-EA, with the project leaders being all Spanish radio amateurs and almost all the engineering made by radio amateurs with help of students of two universities. While AMSAT-EA doesn’t have the flight heritage of other AMSAT organizations, this is an important step for the organization as it moves to improve skills in order to build better satellites for the radio amateur satellite service in the future.
More information and photos of these and other upcoming AMSAT-EA projects is available at https://bit.ly/3lNjTJq
[ANS thanks AMSAT-EA for the above information]
Arecibo Observatory Faces Demolition After Cable Failures
After withstanding hurricanes and earthquakes, playing central roles in movies like “GoldenEye” and “Contact,” Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo Observatory, once the largest radio telescope in the world, will be demolished because of cable failures that left its huge detector platform too unstable to attempt repairs.
“After reviewing the engineering assessment, we have found no path forward that would allow us to do so safely,” said Sean Jones, assistant director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation.
“We know that a delay in decision making leaves the entire facility at risk of an uncontrolled collapse, unnecessarily jeopardizing people and also the additional facilities.”
Operated by the NSF through the University of Central Florida, the iconic observatory is made up of a fixed 1,000-foot-wide dish antenna built into a bowl-like depression that reflects radio waves or radar beams to a 900-ton instrument platform suspended 450 feet above by cables stretching from three support towers.
For 57 years, the observatory has played a leading role observing deep space targets, bodies in the solar system and, using powerful lasers, the composition and behavior of Earth’s upper atmosphere.
But the beginning of the end came on Aug. 10 when an auxiliary cable installed in the 1990s pulled free of its socket on one support tower and crashed onto the dish below, ripping a 100-foot-long gash.
Engineers were developing repair plans when one of the main 3-inch-wide cables attached to the same tower unexpectedly snapped on Nov. 6, causing the instrument platform to tilt and putting additional stress on the remaining cables.
An analysis showed the cable failed in calm weather at about 60 percent of of its minimum breaking strength. Inspections of other cables showed fresh wire breaks and slippage in several auxiliary cable sockets that were added to the structure in the 1990s.
An engineering firm hired by the University of Central Florida to assess the structure concluded it would be unsafe to proceed with repairs. Even stress tests to determine the strength of the remaining cables could trigger a catastrophic collapse.
Instead, engineers recommended a controlled demolition, bringing down the suspended instrument platform in a way that will prevent damage to other structures at the periphery of the dish by making sure the towers themselves don’t collapse and by ensuring no cables whip into those structures.
“The telescope is at serious risk of an unexpected, uncontrolled collapse,” said Ralph Gaume, director of NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences. “According to engineering assessment, even attempted stabilization, or testing the table could result in accelerating the catastrophic failure.
“Engineers cannot tell us the safety margin of the structure, but they have advised NSF that the structure will collapse in the near future on its own.”
Plans for bringing down the instrument platform have not yet been finalized and it’s not yet known whether explosives will be used in a controlled demolition or whether it might be possible to somehow lower the platform to the dish below.
However it plays out, the 1,000-foot-wide telescope will essentially be destroyed. While the laser facility and visitor’s center will hopefully be preserved, the radio telescope itself will be no more.
[ANS thanks SpaceflightNow 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.
DX Portable Operation Planned From Thailand Grid NK99
The Thailand’s Amateur Radio Satellite group (AMSAT-HS) has requested permission to establish a temporary station (DX portable) with the northern office of the NBTC, Thailand’s regulator, in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son (grid NK99) provinces in the north of Thailand during the period from November 26-28, 2020 to communicate via All LEO and MEO amateur radio satellites (including QO-100 NB) that pass over Thailand using the callsign HS0AJ/P of the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King.
Hence we would like to notify all radio amateurs who would interested in contacting stations in Thailand on its northern border of this activity. Even if the angle is as low as 0 degrees please try to contact us. We hope to meet you on all satellites frequency then.
Operator by: E21EJC KoB and HS1JAN NaN
[ANS thanks Tanan Rangseeprom, HS1JAN, for the above information]
Human Error Blamed For Vega Launch Failure
Arianespace executives said Nov. 17 that the failure of a Vega launch the previous day was caused when the rocket’s upper stage tumbled out of control due to incorrectly installed cables in a control system.
In a call with reporters, Roland Lagier, chief technical officer of Arianespace, said the first three stages of the Vega rocket performed normally after liftoff from Kourou, French Guiana, at 8:52 p.m. Eastern Nov. 16. The Avum upper stage then separated and ignited its engine.
However, “straightaway after ignition” of the upper stage, he said, the vehicle started to tumble out of control. “This loss of control was permanent, inducing significant tumbling behavior, and then the trajectory started to deviate rapidly from the nominal one, leading to the loss of the mission.”
Analysis of the telemetry from the mission, along with data from the production of the vehicle, led them to conclude that cables to two thrust vector control actuators were inverted. Commands intended to go to one actuator went instead to the other, triggering the loss of control.
“This was clearly a production and quality issue, a series of human errors, and not a design one,” Lagier said.
The failure caused the loss of two spacecraft, the SEOSAT-Ingenio Earth observation satellite for Spain and the TARANIS satellite for France to study electromagnetic phenomena in the upper atmosphere. [No amateur satellites were involved -Ed.]
[ANS thanks SpaceNews for the above information]
Want to fly the colors on your own grid expedition?
Get your AMSAT car flag and other neat stuff
from our Zazzle store!
25% of the purchase price of each product goes towards
Keeping Amateur Radio in Space
Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for November 19
The following satellites have been and added to this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:
SALSAT NORAD Cat ID 46495.
Bobcat-1 NORAD Cat ID 46921.
SPOC NORAD Cat ID 46922.
Thanks to Nico Janssen, PA0DLO, for verfying the NORAD Cat ID’s for the above satellites.
The following satellite has decayed from orbit and has been removed from this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:
BHUTAN 1 NORAD Cat ID 43591 (Decayed on November 18, 2020 per SpaceTrack)
[ANS thanks Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, AMSAT Orbital Elements Manager, for the above information]
Moscow Aviation Institute Plans SSTV Event from ISS
Rodolfo Parisio, IW2BSF, reports that a Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) transmission event from the International Space Station is currently scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Dec. 1 starting at 12:30 UTC, ending at 18:25 UTC, and again on Wednesday, Dec. 2 starting at 11:50 UTC and ending at 18:25 UTC.
Listen for SSTV signals to be downlinked at 145.800 MHz +/Doppler shift. The mode of transmission is expected to be PD 120. These times will allow for one pass over the Eastern USA near the end of the scheduled times. Received images of reasonable quality can be posted at the ARISS SSTV Gallery at https://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/
Future updates on this event will be posted @ARISS_status on Twitter.
[ANS thanks Rodolfo Parisio, IW2BSF, for the above information]
Amateurs and others around the world may listen in on contacts between amateurs operating in schools and allowing students to interact with astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station. The downlink frequency on which to listen is 145.800 MHz worldwide.
A school contact has been scheduled with Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, direct via a ground station to be determined. This contact will be heard over Russian and other parts of Europe on 145.800 MHz on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 08:45 UTC The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be RSØISS and the scheduled cosmonaut is Sergey Ryzhikov.
Welcome aboard to SpaceX-Crew 1 now on orbit! Victor Glover, KI5BKC, Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, Soichi Noguchi, KD5TVP, and Shannon Walker, KD5DXB, have joined Kate Rubins, KG5FYJ, and the two cosmonauts, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, one of the ARISS operation team mentors 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/
Upcoming Satellite Operations
Upcoming Roves — Quick Hits:
Watch Twitter, there are lots pop-up roves happening lately, and I can’t keep this page updated with all of them.
FM26/27/28, @N5BO With 6 days off coming up I’m trying to finalize some plans, but as of now I’m looking to head out late next week for the FM26/27/28 area, with a couple grid stops on the way up. I’m also looking at a possible detour on the way back home through the EM97 area. More to come…
KH67, 7Q7RU, AO-7, RS-44, QO-100, 11/11 thru 11/21.
AD0HJ’s #CoronaReliefThanksgivingMegaRoveBlowout: Not seeing any major roves scheduled for the dates 11/21 – 11/27 so he will be heading south to green up some Kansas style grids starting Saturday evening. More details to come over the next few days: EN00,10: EM18/19 : EM08/DM99 : DM97/EM07 : DM96/EM06 : EM17/EM18 : EM29/EM39. A list of passes here: https://twitter.com/AD0HJ/status/1328883186139590656
Please submit any additions or corrections to Ke0pbr (at) gmail.com
[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, AMSAT rover page manager, for the above information]
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
Clint Bradford K6LCS has booked his “Work the FM Voice Satellites With Minimal Equipment” presentation for the clubs.
TBD – Antelope Valley (CA) ARC
TBD – A private presentation for a Boy Scout troop in Danville, Penn.
These will be Zoom presentations. Everyone is asked to update their copies of the Zoom application – by directly visiting Zoom.us.
Clint is conducting “working the easy satellites” sessions via Zoom on November 19, 2020 at 7pm Pacific. If you are interested in attending, please send him a private email for exact times and Zoom meeting number!
[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, AMSAT Events page manager, for the above information]
Satellite Shorts From All Over
+ Happy 7th birthday to AO-73, FUNcube-1, which was launched on November 21,2013. Congratulations to AMSAT-UK on the ongoing success of this project. (ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information)
+ South Dublin Radio Club has uploaded its latest video to the club’s YouTube channel. The video was created for Science Week in collaboration with Dublin Maker & Science Foundation Ireland and is called “Signals from Outerspace! Make your own antenna to get images from Weather Satellites.” It is designed as a beginner’s radio project and instructs viewers on how to construct a very simple V-dipole for 137 MHz, demonstrating how it can be utilised along with a basic SDR and computer in order to decode images from NOAA Weather satellites. It’s available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8doUGhNKzdY (ANS thanks Southgate ARC for the above information)
+ Sean Kutzko, KX9X, is creating a series of YouTube videos for the DX Engineering channel beginning with “How and Why to Get Started in Op erating Amateur Radio Satellites.” Later episodes build on the con cepts in the first. See the first episode at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp7h4ikthDQ (ANS thanks Sean Kutzko, KX9X, for the above information)
+ APSS-1, a 1U CubeSat mission with deployable solar panels, built by The University of Auckland (New Zealand), Faculty of Engineering, was launched on November 20. The satellite is intended for monitoring of ionosphere activity and transmission of processed data to ground stations using a 9k6 GMSK AX 25 downlink on 435.100 MHz. APSS-1 will start transmitting 45 minutes after deployment, and will only beacon every 5 minutes initially. (ANS thanks Mark Jessop, VK5QI, for the above information)
+ The Rocket Lab flight that took APSS-1 to orbit (see immediately above) was notable because Rocket Lab says the first stage of its Electron launcher splashed down under parachute in the Pacific Ocean off New Zealand after firing into space with 30 small satellites, be coming only the second private company to return an orbital-class booster to Earth intact. The privately-developed Electron rocket has flown 16 times, including Thursday’s mission, but this was the first time an Electron rocket flew with parachutes to attempt a full series of descent maneuvers. (ANS thanks SpaceflightNow for the above information)
+ NASA “Scan” on Facebook has published a note about ARISS and its 20 years. Look for their post dated on November 16 at: https://www.facebook.com/NASASCaN and add a comment to let them know that we amateur radio ops are here and that it was great they had dedicated a post to ARISS and to all hams! (ANS thanks Fernando Casanova, EC1AME, for the above information)
+ Talks from the DEF CON event are available on YouTube, they include a number of amateur radio talks from the conference’s Ham Radio Village. Among the amateur radio talks is “Talking to Satellites” by Eric Escobar, KJ6OHH. See the playlist at: https://bit.ly/3fpuwzO (ANS thanks Southgate ARC for the above information)
+ Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) has updated TLEs for Neutron-1. HSFL appreciates the amateur community who have been listening for Neutron-1’s beacon, and wish to be notified of amateurs still listening for the beacon at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new TLEs and other bulletins may be found at https://www.hsfl.hawaii.edu/ (ANS thanks HSFL and JoAnne Maenpaa, K9JKM, for the above information)
+ Open Research Institute has announced AmbaSat Inspired Sensors as a formal ORI project. To read the proposal document, visit: https://bit.ly/2KrpcQZ The first work session expected December 2020 to May 2021 centered at Villanova University. The Principal Investi gator is Dr. Alan Johnston. (ANS thanks Michelle Thompson, W5NYV, AMSAT Board Member, for the above information)
+ Dave Johnson, G4DPZ, gave an online satellite talk to the Mid Ulster Amateur Radio Club on Nov. 10. The video is now available for every one to watch on YouTube. The talk covered the many amateur satellites in Low Earth Orbit that operate in the 145 MHz and 435 MHz satellite bands as well as the QO-100 geostationary satellite which uses the 2.4 GHz and 10 GHz bands. Also covered were the new Inter-Operable Radio System which has recently been installed in the ISS Columbus module and Gateway Amateur Radio Exploration (AREx). Watch it at: https://bit.ly/3pNKSXJ (ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information)
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. Application forms are available from the AMSAT Office.
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. Contact Martha at the AMSAT Office for additional student membership information.
73 and Remember to help keep amateur radio in space, This week’s ANS Editor, Mark D. Johns, K0JM
k0jm at amsat dot org