AO-92 to Try Imaging Hurricane Florence September 13-14

AMSAT Vice-President of Operations, Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA says that the camera on AO-92 is planned to be used to try to image Hurricane Florence during North American east coast passes on Thursday, September 13, and Friday, September 14.

AO-92 will not be in its U/V FM voice transponder operation during these passes. Ground stations should standby and not attempt to access AO-92 during this time. Voice operation will be available later during these days.

The high speed image data will be transmitted on the 145.880 MHz downlink.

The image can be captured, decoded, and uploaded to the Fox-1 data warehouse using the FoxTelem v.1.06 software available from AMSAT:
http://amsat.us/FoxTelem/windows
http://amsat.us/FoxTelem/mac
http://amsat.us/FoxTelem/linux

[ANS thanks AMSAT Vice-President of Operations, Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA for the above information]

AO-91 Commissioned, Declared Open for Amateur Use

At 06:50 UTC on November 23, 2017, AMSAT Engineering officially commissioned AO-91 (RadFxSat/Fox-1B). AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, turned over operation to AMSAT Operations in a QSO on the AO-91 transponder with Mark Hammond, N8MH, of the AMSAT Operations team during the pass over the Eastern United States.

N8MH responded and declared AO-91 open for amateur use!

AO-91 was built as a partnership with Vanderbilt University ISDE and hosts four payloads for the study of radiation effects on commercial off the shelf components. The satellite was launched on November 18, 2017 as part of the ELaNa XIV mission, secondary payloads aboard the Delta II rocket that carried the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) satellite to orbit. AO-91 also features the Fox-1 style FM U/v repeater with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz. Satellite and experiment telemetry are downlinked via the “DUV” subaudible telemetry stream and can be decoded with the FoxTelem software.

Radio Programming Chart

AO-91 Doppler Shift Correction
Memory Your Transmit Frequency(With 67 Hz Tone) Your Receive Frequency
Acquisition of Signal (AOS) 435.240 MHz 145.960 MHz
Approaching 435.245 MHz 145.960 MHz
Time of Closest Approach (TCA) 435.250 MHz 145.960 MHz
Departing 435.255 MHz 145.960 MHz
Loss of Signal (LOS) 435.260 MHz 145.960 MHz

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Launched, Designated AMSAT-OSCAR 91 (AO-91)

The Delta II rocket carrying RadFxSat (Fox-1B) launched at 09:47:36 UTC on November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The Delta II carrying RadFxSat launches (Source: NASA)

Following a picture-perfect launch, RadFxSat was deployed at 11:09 UTC. Then the wait began. At 12:12 UTC, the AMSAT Engineering team, watching ZR6AIC’s WebSDR waterfall, saw the characteristic “Fox Tail” of the Fox-1 series FM transmitter, confirming that the satellite was alive and transmitting over South Africa. Shortly after 12:34 UTC, the first telemetry was received and uploaded to AMSAT servers by Maurizio Balducci, IV3RYQ, in Cervignano del Friuli, Italy. Initial telemetry confirmed that the satellite was healthy.

A view of RadFxSat, now AO-91’s, first received signal at 12:12 UTC via ZR6AIC’s WebSDR.

After confirmation of signal reception, OSCAR Number Administrator Bill Tynan, W3XO, sent an email to the AMSAT Board of Directors designating the satellite AMSAT-OSCAR 91 (AO-91). Bill’s email stated:

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) was launched successfully at 09:47 UTC today November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and has been received by several amateur stations.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B), a 1U CubeSat, is a joint mission of AMSAT and the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University. The Vanderbilt package is intended to measure the effects of radiation on electronic components, including demonstration of an on-orbit platform for space qualification of components as well as to validate and improve computer models for predicting radiation tolerance of semiconductors.

AMSAT constructed the remainder of the satellite including the spaceframe, on-board computer and power system. The amateur radio package is similar to that currently on orbit on AO-85 with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz. Experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the DUV subaudible telemetry stream, which can be decoded using the FoxTelem software.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) was sent aloft as a secondary payload on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket with the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 satellite. RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is one of five CubeSats making up this NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the JPSS-1 mission.

Since RadFxSat (Fox-1B) has met all of the qualifications necessary to receive an OSCAR number, I, by the authority vested in me by the AMSAT President, do hereby confer on this satellite the designation AMSAT-OSCAR 91 or AO-91. I join amateur radio operators in the U.S. and around the world in wishing AO-91 a long and successful life in both its amateur and scientific missions.

I, along with the rest of the amateur community, congratulate all of the volunteers who worked so diligently to construct, test and prepare for launch the newest amateur radio satellite.

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO
AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator

AMSAT Engineering reminds stations that the satellite will not be available for general use until the on-orbit checkouts are complete. Please continue to submit telemetry to assist the Engineering team in completing the commissioning process.

FalconSAT-3 is Now Open for Amateur Radio Use

The Air Force Academy satellite FalconSAT-3 is now open for amateur radio use as a digital store-and-forward system. FalconSAT-3 was built in 2005 and 2006 by cadets and faculty in the Space Systems Research Center at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, and launched in 2007 on an Atlas V.

After serving in scientific and training roles, the Academy has now made the satellite available for Amateur radio use.

The satellite is in a 35.4 degree inclination orbit, with an approximate altitude of 465 to 476 km. The Packet Bulletin Board System is operating at 9600 baud with a 145.840 uplink, and 435.103 downlink. Output power is 1 watt, and the downlink is continuously on. Digipeating is enabled for live QSOs, but unattended digipeating operations is not authorized at this time. Current Keplerian elements can be found in the AMSAT distributed Keplerian elements.

More information can be found at https://www.amsat.org/falconsat-3/ and further operational inquiries should be directed to AMSAT Vice President Operations, Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA (ko4ma@amsat.org).

[ANS thanks AMSAT Vice President Operations, Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA for the above information]