AO-85 Status Update

All,

As you probably know, AO-85 has had issues recently with the batteries dropping precariously low during eclipse. We think it’s likely the batteries suffered degradation due to heat during previous periods of no eclipses. This has made it difficult to keep the satellite available for use without endangering the batteries. Today the nominally 3.6v pack was down to 2.8v at the end of the eclipse. That is dangerously low.

In an effort to extend the usable life of the satellite, this evening we turned both the IHU and the transmitter off. This ceases all transmissions, including the beacons every two minutes in both sunlit and eclipsed parts of the orbit. We will periodically turn the satellite back on for an orbit or two, in order to gather telemetry. If all goes as planned, we will turn the repeater back on during the next period of no eclipses beginning around January 24th. In the meantime, it is important to leave AO-85 tracked in your FoxTelem setups, in order for us to gather telemetry and keep tabs on the situation. If you do happen to hear a Veronica beacon, or either the normal repeater or the COR/no telemetry repeater, please let the AMSAT-BB know, or send me an email or message directly.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we try to make the most of the situation. Please consider supporting the AMSAT GOLF project with your membership, and one-time or recurring donations at
https://www.amsat.org/product-category/amsat-membership/ or https://www.amsat.org/donate/.

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT VP Operations

Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 Commissioning Status

Following the launch of Fox-1Cliff/AO-95, AMSAT Engineering began the commissioning process, with the help of AMSAT Operations, on Tuesday December 4. Satellite telemetry indicates that the bird is healthy, and I thank all of the stations who have captured and relayed the telemetry that enabled us to monitor and determine the health of the various systems on board. Fox-1Cliff required an extended period monitoring battery and power levels due to the anomaly and fix that was applied back in February of 2016 during environmental testing, and the result of that is positive.

However, during the next steps of commissioning we discovered an anomaly with her receive capability. After a few days of tests, analysis, and discussion, it appears that Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 will not be commissioned as our fourth Fox-1 amateur radio satellite.

AMSAT Engineering will continue to evaluate and test Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 for solutions to the anomaly and your continued help in providing telemetry is appreciated so that we can have data throughout her daily orbits rather than limited data over our U.S. stations. The data, analysis, and testing could lead to a positive solution but at the very least will be important to AMSAT’s satellite programs in providing information that would help us and others, as we do freely share our successes and failures, to avoid similar situations with future missions.

I would like to thank all of the AMSAT Fox Engineering volunteers who made Fox-1Cliff possible and continue to build our new satellites, becoming even better as we move forward.

I will provide more information on the anomaly and any determination we make regarding the possible cause or causes as well as information on the possibility of recovery, over time. Please be patient regarding that. Many of you have probably built a project and had to troubleshoot it on your bench, we are in a troubleshooting situation here with the additional challenge of being 600 km away from our bench.

73
Jerry Buxton, N0JY
AMSAT Vice President of Engineering

[ANS thanks Jerry Buxton, N0JY, AMSAT Vice President of Engineering for the above information]

Fox-1Cliff Designated AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95)

On December 3rd, 2018, Fox-1Cliff was launched on a Falcon 9 vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express launch, Fox-1Cliff was named after long time AMSAT supporter Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR (SK). In the 48 hours after launch, more than 110 amateur radio operators around the world have successfully received and submitted telemetry from the satellite.

Following in our long tradition of naming amateur satellites, AMSAT hereby designates Fox-1Cliff as AMSAT-OSCAR 95 (AO-95).

Thank you to those who have supported this mission with their time, talent, and financial support for the benefit of amateur radio operators worldwide.

73,
Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA
AMSAT VP Operations / OSCAR Number Administrator

[ANS thanks Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, AMSAT VP Operations /  OSCAR Number Administrator for the above information]

Fox-1Cliff Launched, Initial Telemetry Received

Fox-1Cliff was successfully launched on Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 18:34:05 UTC on December 3, 2018. Following deployment, the spacecraft was activated on schedule at 23:54:27 UTC.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express, launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, on Dec. 3, 2018 at 10:34 a.m. PST. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Wear/Released)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express, launches from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, on Dec. 3, 2018 at 10:34 a.m. PST. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Wear/Released)

At approximately 00:30 UTC on December 4th, several stations in Brazil, including PS8MT, PT9BM, and PT2AP, reported hearing the voice beacon “Fox-1Cliff Safe Mode,” confirming that the satellite was alive. Just before 00:40 UTC, AMSAT Fox-1 Team Member Burns Fisher, WB1FJ, was the first to submit telemetry to AMSAT servers. Initial telemetry values show the satellite to be in good health.

Thanks to the 29 different stations that contributed telemetry during Fox-1Cliff’s initial orbits. All stations are encouraged to please continue collecting telemetry during the commissioning process and are reminded not to transmit on the uplink frequencies until AMSAT opens the satellite for general use. The commissioning process is expected to take approximately 7-10 days.

Stations receiving telemetry during Fox-1Cliff’s initial orbits

 

AMSAT purchased a commercial launch for Fox-1Cliff, please consider a donation to “refill the coffers” for GOLF and other future AMSAT missions by making a donation today.

AMSAT General Fund Donations

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Billing Details

Donation Total: $25.00 One Time

As part of the preparations for the launch of Fox-1Cliff, AMSAT is making the “Getting Started With Amateur Satellites” book available for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT Store. This offer is only available with purchases completed online, and for only a limited time. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The 186 page book is presented in PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite.

Please take advantage of this offer today by visiting the AMSAT store at https://www.amsat.org/shop/ and selecting any membership option. While there, check out AMSAT’s other items, including the M2 LEOpack antenna system, Arrow antennas, AMSAT shirts, and other swag. Be sure to view your cart before going to checkout. If you add a membership and then go directly to checkout, you’ll never see an option to add your free gift.