[amsat-bb] Re: Linear transponder versus FM transponder for LEOsatellites

JoAnne Maenpaa k9jkm at comcast.net
Mon Nov 9 15:46:36 PST 2009

It was mentioned ...

> We amateurs need to connect with, mentor to and volunteer
> for cube sat and pico sat efforts that are being initiated 
> at the university level.

Hmmm, sounds close to what was discussed at the October Board of Director's
meeting and early information released on www.amsat.org ... and the ANS news
bulletins ... and more details coming via the AMSAT Journal ... plenty
already going on the university front!

[From the current amsat web page]
Key University Space Projects Under Development

Barry Baines, WD4ASW, AMSAT President reported at the Annual Meeting that
the Board of Directors has agreed to participate in two exciting
University-based cooperative programs.

    * First, AMSAT is having serious discussions with the University of
Florida, Gainesville to locate the AMSAT Lab on campus. This will put our
lab in a state of the art engineering facility. This is also the home of the
UF SwampSat CubeSat development team.
    * The Board of Directors has agreed to partner with SUNY-Binghamton and
the IBM Systems Engineering Integration Center to mentor senior level
engineering students for the development of the NextGen CubeSat as their
'capstone' engineering project. Projects at SUNY-Binghamton are planned to
initially address the development of deployable solar cells and super
capacitor power systems.

[From the AMSAT News Service posted after the BoD meeting and Symposium]

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-291.01
AMSAT Says "We're Going Back to Space"

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 291.01
October 18, 2009
BID: $ANS-291.01

The Board of Directors has adopted the Engineering Task Force 
recommendation that low-cost launch options be immediately pursued. 
The AMSAT engineering team will develop a 1U CubeSat design effective 
immediately. Tony Monteiro, AA2TX, Vice-President of Engineering said, 
"We are recommending an approach that gets AMSAT back up in space with 
new satellites by leveraging the skills and technology we have today."

The new AMSAT CubeSat's initial capability is planned to add to the 
popular low-earth orbit FM transponder fleet allowing hams to continue 
to use their existing handheld and portable antenna systems. This also
allows an accessible entry path for new satellite operators to get 
started. The existing FM satellites are starting to show their age.

The flight version of ARISSat-1 has been developed to fit into the 
CubeSat model. AMSAT's flexible Software Defined Transponder (SDX), 
simplified IHU, power control subsystem, external interfaces to ex-
perimental payloads and cameras will now allow a modular approach to 
mission design using proven subsystems and components. The ARISSat-1 
mission planned in 2010 will be the initial flight test of AMSAT's 
modular satellite.

Here are some of the highlights ...

+ AMSAT will develop comparable AO-51 level of performance packaged 
  into a 1U CubeSat. This includes a U-V transponder, V telemetry, 
  U command receiver, IHU, power control. This can be done with our 
  modular design.

+ This will be a U/V FM Transponder, not done before in a 1U CubeSat, 
  which can be worked with a HT and a simple antenna. CubeSat power 
  limitations are planned to be addressed through research and devel-
  opment of deployable solar-cells.

+ AMSAT will make our open-design satellite modules and technology 
  available for other satellite teams to build into their missions.

+ This new approach will provide a reliable radio link for future 
  CubeSats allowing university teams to concentrate on their scientific

+ The modular nature of the AMSAT CubeSat system will allow add-on 
  missions utilizing several different types of modulation and band-
  width. These can be pursued with future low-cost CubeSat launch 

AMSAT President, Barry Baines, WD4ASW Annual Meeting Powerpoint 
Presentation has been posted at http://www.amsat.org

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Board of Directors for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-291.02
AMSAT, IBM, SUNY-Binghamton Announce NextGen CubeSat Development

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 291.02
October 18, 2009
BID: $ANS-291.02

AMSAT will work with a university student engineering team to
develop the NextGen Cubesat.

NextGen Program Manager, Alex Harvilchuck, N3NP introduced this new
program at the AMSAT Symposium. Alex revealed program goals and its
initial plans with a paper in the Proceedings and presentations to
the AMSAT Board of Directors and to the attendees during Symposium

NextGen consists of AMSAT volunteer mentors working with IBM Global
Services Systems Engineering Division, and SUNY-Binghamton (also 
called University of Binghamton) senior level engineering students 
participating in their 'capstone' engineering project. 

Alex summarized the NexGen program goals:

+ Intial analysis of ARISSat-1, documenting the systems, and analysis 
  of the lessons learned from ARISSat-1 and other prior spacecraft to
  create a building block architecture for future satellites.

+ Open, modular, evolutionary, and documented design based on this

+ Redesigning the ARISSat-1 Power Systems into a next generation power 
  system using supercapacitors instead of batteries and reducing the 
  footprint of some of the boards.

+ Analysis and modification to the structure to incorporate deployable 
  solar panels with a scalable design that will work for 1U, 2U and 3U 

+ Design a Picosat-class bus structure that AMSAT, or any other Univer-
  sity, can use for 1U, 2U, or 3U CubeSat spacecraft. AMSAT could make 
  the open design available at low-to-no-cost to qualified University 

+ An Engineering Model of the NextGen CubeSat spacecraft bus will be 
  on display at the Dayton Hamvention AMSAT Booth for everyone to 

Alex summarized, "Starting with our initial core team of 34 students,
plus advisers, mentors and volunteers at Binghamton University this
will be an ongoing effort. It is not a one time event, but the start 
of a stable, evolutionary design process that will further STEM (Sci-
ence, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) with the Next Generation 
of engineers and amateur radio operators. We are looking for other 
individuals and University/School teams to participate in all aspects 
of the spacecraft design - RF Systems - Guidance, Navigation, Control 
& Experiment Systems - Power & Structure Systems."

Volunteer mentors are needed! Even if you only have an hour a week, 
you can mentor a student over the phone or you can peer review a 
document that the students are working on. If you have more than an 
hour a week, you can implement a small design change to an existing 
subsystem; you could respin the board layout to meet a reduced form 
factor; you could redesign a module to use different technology.
Contact Alex via e-mail at amsat at elkmtn.org .

AMSAT's Board of Directors has approved the support of the University 
of Binghamton NextGen Cubesat Proposal and agreed to provide $1,200.00 
in immediate funding to the Binghamton Foundation to support student 
expenses and initially budgeted $10,000.00 to cover material costs 
associated with hardware development between September 2009 and May 
2010. The Board will review progress at the end of the first semester.

[ANS thanks Alex, N3NP and AMSAT Board of Directors for the above


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-291.03
Discussions Continue For New AMSAT Lab Site

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 291.03
October 18, 2009
BID: $ANS-291.03

AMSAT President, Barry Baines, WD4ASW discussed an opportunity under
serious discussions with the University of Florida, Gainesville to
locate AMSAT's satellite laboratory on campus.

Among discussions over the past 12 months, AMSAT has had conversa-
tions with several universities concerning a potential relationship. 
This opportunity arose out of an amateur radio talk given at The 
Villages ARC by Dave, AA4KN and Drew, KO4MA in April. This lead to 
contact with UF's Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy. A Memorandum of Understanding
has been drafted and is currently under review by legal teams. At 
this time there is no timeframe for bringing about a formal conclusion
as the MOU discussions continue and internal UF approval still needed.

Relocating the AMSAT Lab from the 'Eastern Shore' to 'The Swamp' 
offers significant potential:

+ Location on a major university campus in a state-of-the-art building

+ Integrated into a facility focused on small satellite development 
  with clean room installation at the host's expense (not AMSAT)

+ Potential for student projects focused on AMSAT needs

+ Broadening of AMSAT's presence in the wider university community

+ Potential research/development opportunities for AMSAT and AMSAT 

+ Establishing a  program that offers significant traction for 
  education outreach

[ANS thanks AMSAT President, Barry Baines, WD4ASW for the above 


73 de JoAnne K9JKM
k9jkm at amsat.org 
Editor, AMSAT News Service
Copy Editor, AMSAT Journal

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list