Apogee View – September/October 2018

September/October 2018
Joe Spier, K6WAO, President

It’s with great sadness that I have to report the passing of William “Bill” Tynan, W3XO. I refer you to the detailed article inside this month’s Journal, but I need to reiterate what a loss not only to AMSAT but to amateur radio his passing truly is. The AMSAT Board of Directors is considering naming a GOLF satellite in his honor. We have all lost a friend. Godspeed, W3XO (SK).

By the time you are reading this, this year’s 36th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium and General Meeting will be very near. The Symposium will be held on Friday through Sunday, November 2-4, 2018 in Huntsville, Alabama. The location will beat the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama (www.rocketcenter.com). Hotel accommodations will be next door at the Marriott at Space & Rocket Center, 5 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama, USA. I hope to see you there.

Hotel Reservations for the Symposium maybe made by individual attendees directly with Marriott reservations at 1-(800) 228-9290 or(256) 830-2222, Please mention the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), Reference Number M-BIHHXTA. Reservations must be made by October 17th. This year the Proceedings book will be supplied on an AMSAT USB stick. If you would like a printed copy, the cost will be an additional $25.

If you have missed APRS and packet radio from ISS (as ARISS has), you’ll be happy to hear that a replacement system is on its way. When the packet module aboard ISS died in late 2017, the ARISS hardware team was heavily involved in design and safety certification of the new Interoperable Radio System (IORS).

Basic troubleshooting and a few attempts to revive the module failed. However, the mysteries of space gremlins continue with the packet module on the ISS unexpectedly coming back to life this summer. Though it is currently operating, it could fail again at any time, and the planned replacement is warranted. We decided to dedicate our time to IORS and get it – with its packet and other capabilities – aboard ISS as soon as possible. Early this year, thermal testing of the first flight-identical IORS power supply showed that some changes to air flow were needed. This change looked likely to delay our expected IORS deployment from late 2018 to early 2019. With some newly available time, the hardware team was able to dig up an original duplicate of the packet module, replace its battery, and test the module to verify that it still works. Fortunately, NASA has approved flight of this identical unit with minimal paperwork, so ARISS is asking to be on the manifest for supply mission 71P (a Progress spacecraft). Launch currently is scheduled for October 31st, with docking on November 2nd. The installation will depend on the crew’s busy schedule, but we expect the module to be installed by the end of November 2018.

AMSAT and ARISS currently are supporting a FundRazr campaign to raise $150,000 for a critical radio infrastructure upgrade on ISS to enable students to talk to astronauts in space via amateur radio. Donation premiums are available at certain levels. As AMSAT is a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are fully tax-deductible within the U.S. Go to: fundrazr.com/arissnextgen. At the Duke City Hamfest, AMSAT hosted the AMSAT® Academy at the ARRL Rocky Mountain Division Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, along with Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, and Bill Ripley, KY5Q. I hope to use the presentations as a starting point for the AMSAT Ambassadors program. In October, I’ll attend the AMSAT-UK Colloquium at the RSGB Convention in Milton Keynes, England, the ARISS International Meeting in College Park, MD,and the Symposium in Huntsville, AL. I appeared on the September 26, 2018, episode of TWiT.tv’s Ham Nation (episode #369) and discussed the latest news from AMSAT and ARISS. The episode can be seen at twit.tv/shows/ham-nation/episodes/369.

AMSAT is pleased to announce a new storefront on Zazzle. Currently, we have several products available with the AMSAT logo, including t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, mugs, mousepads, and stickers. Colors and styles for each product are fully customizable. Even kids sizes and athletic wear are available through the customization options. Now you can outfit the whole family in AMSAT logo gear! 25% of the purchase price of each product goes towards Keeping Amateur Radio inSpace. The storefront can be accessed at www.zazzle.com/amsat_gear.

AMSAT has two more Fox series CubeSats ready for launch by the end of the year (if schedules hold) and development on GOLF is proceeding. But it takes donations and contributions to build and launch our satellites, so please give what you can.