From the first reception of Sputnik, hams have looked to the stars and dreamed of amateur radio in space. Project OSCAR brought that dream to life, and, from their pioneering efforts, AMSAT was born. Over the past 50 plus years, AMSAT has kept its promise to keep amateur radio in space and, in the process, shared that journey with the rest of the world.
From its humble beginnings of finding a launch for AO-5, through a series of Phase II and Phase III satellites, and then spearheading the SmallSat movement, AMSAT has been directly involved with 25 amateur radio satellite projects, 19 of which were successfully placed in orbit. In addition, AMSAT’s success has paved the way for other organizations, universities, and groups to realize their own dreams of space.
While we are certainly proud of everything we have been able to accomplish, AMSAT is committed to finding new ways to communicate through the vastness of space and excited about what challenges lie ahead, over the next space horizon. AMSAT’s GOLF program and our partnership with ARISS on AREx (Amateur Radio Exploration) are helping us move in that direction. GOLF-TEE (Technology Exploration Environment) will serve as a testbed for attitude direction and control (ADAC) and deployable solar panels. AREx will provide us with the opportunity to put amateur radio equipment in Lunar orbit.
AMSAT’s Linear Transponder Module (LTM-1) provides a flight-proven, plug- and-play communications solution for other CubeSat programs, including command and control, spacecraft telemetry and space science data downlink and, coincidently, an amateur radio transponder. We are also looking into adding command encryption and an FM repeater option. AMSAT’s linear transponder module and subsequent revisions will help ensure a continuous stream of low-Earth-orbit CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads for the entire amateur satellite service community.
AMSAT’s educational programs continue to provide opportunities for young men and women with big dreams and an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to become the next generation of innovators in aerospace and advanced communications fields. AMSAT’s CubeSat Simulator project accomplishes this by providing students with an interactive, STEM-based educational tool to help them unravel some of the mysteries of space.
Of course, none of this will be possible without your support. AMSAT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational and scientific organization 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 satellite and educational programs.
AMSAT is also an all-volunteer organization. As such we rely on the kindness of our members and other supporters who volunteer their time and their expertise to help us achieve everything we do. Whether you are an engineer, a programmer, an educator, or just someone willing to lend a helping hand, AMSAT could use your help.
AMSAT is a gathering place, filled with an eclectic bunch of builders, communicators, and educators. While each member may have a different reason for being here we are all brought together for a common goal – to advance the art of radio science in the exciting and mystifying frontier of space.
We hope you will join us!
Robert Bankston, KE4AL
Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT)