Fox-1D Launch Scheduled for 03:58 UTC January 12, 2018

AMSAT’s next Fox-1 satellite, Fox-1D, is scheduled for launch on January 12, 2018 at 03:58 UTC (Thursday, January 11th at 10:58 PM EST) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. Fox-1D will launch as part of the PSLV-C40 mission on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle with Cartosat, an imaging satellite for the Indian government, and 30 other payloads.

In addition to the Fox-1 U/v FM transponder, Fox-1D contains a number of exciting experiments, including a camera built by students at Virginia Tech, the University of Iowa’s HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument), and AMSAT’s L-Band Downshifter which will give amateur radio operators an opportunity to experiment with a different uplink band. Stay tuned for more information about the launch and early operations of the satellite. In the mean time, now is a perfect time to join AMSAT and receive a free digital copy of “Getting Started with Amateur Satellites.” Visit https://www.amsat.org/product-category/amsat-membership/ and help Keep Amateur Radio in Space!

GOLF-TEE $15,000 Matching Funds President’s Challenge

In October 2017 AMSAT announced the GOLF (Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint) program. The first project of the GOLF program is a technology demonstrator named GOLF-TEE (Technology Evaluation Environment). The design is a 3U CubeSat with deployable solar panels, ADAC (attitude determination and control), Software Defined Radio (SDR) Transponder, and a Vanderbilt University Low Energy Proton (LEP) experiment. Now is the time to begin work on the GOLF-TEE Project.

At the end of 2017, AMSAT has generous offers from two AMSAT Past Presidents for matching funds up to $15,000 for those that contribute to the GOLF-TEE campaign at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=STK27W4G9RMLC between now and February 15th. Make your donation twice as valuable by taking advantage of this opportunity and contributing, and help AMSAT fund the launch of the next series of satellites of the GOLF program. There are also donate buttons for GOLF-TEE on the AMSAT website. Planning is for a launch in 2019.

Donations of $100 and $1,000 or more will be eligible for a special AMSAT GOLF premium. (Both premiums are currently being designed, so please be patient awaiting delivery.)

AMSAT is a 501-(c)-(3) not-for-profit educational and scientific organization of amateur radio operators whose purpose is to design, construct, launch, and operate satellites in space and to provide the support needed to encourage amateurs to utilize these resources. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to AMSAT to help underwrite the development and launch expenses of our GOLF satellite program.

Donors wishing to provide additional matching funds please contact Joe Spier, K6WAO at k6wao@amsat.org.

AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, introducing GOLF at the 2017 AMSAT Space Symposium in Reno, NV.

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.