The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice to provide guidance concerning FCC licensing of spectrum for use by small satellites, including satellites that fall within the categories of pico-satellites, nano-satellites and cubesats. The advent of such small satellite designs has brought with it dramatically lower launch costs, enabling a larger range of organizations to directly launch satellites. Institutions such as universities and research organizations that previously found it cost prohibitive to launch their own satellite can now participate in the exploration of space. Many of these participants may be unfamiliar with the spectrum licensing, scheduling and other requirements attendant on satellites. This Public Notice seeks to alert affected parties of these requirements and thus aid small satellite operators in the planning necessary for a successful launch operation.
The 2013 Dayton Hamvention, sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association will be held this year on May 17-19, 2013. “Dayton” is the largest hamfest in the United States, and AMSAT will be there again this year. You can assist AMSAT by volunteering to help staff the booth. While there, you will meet other AMSAT members, interact with the satellite designers, builders, and operators, and enjoy all that Dayton has to offer.
AMSAT’s focus on STEM education and development of a cubesat platform capable of flying a science mission with a reliable communications link resulted in our previous selection of Fox-1 in the third round and RadFxSat (Fox-1B) in the recent fourth round of NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative. Actual launch vehicle selections are dependent on the availability of auxiliary payload space and on what orbits are required.
AMSAT VP Engineering Tony Monteiro reports that he has been in conversation with NASA about our orbital preferences/priorities and we’re awaiting a response from NASA as to a specific launch selection. In the meantime, the engineering team expects to complete Fox-1 in 2013 and have RadFxSat ready in the 2nd half of 2014 in order to take advantage of launch opportunities that may be offered by NASA.
The Fox-1 development team is pleased to report that the first engineering model of the satellite’s Integrated Housekeeping Unit (IHU) has been built. Bdale Garbee, KB0G, performed the assembly work, and he was able to load and run the operating system on first power up on January 24, 2013.
Meanwhile, the software team is hard at work getting drivers and features ready to fully test the hardware. They have committed to a March delivery of software for IHU testing.