[amsat-bb] Re: Expanding Radio AMSAT's to include telescope.

Joe Fitzgerald jfitzgerald at alum.wpi.edu
Tue Aug 17 15:27:11 PDT 2010

> Is there any reason why a future Amatuer Radio Satellite could not
> include a small telescope and CCD imaging.

In principal, no.  In practice, how much are you willing to spend? 
Perhaps the biggest problem that needs to be solved is how to get the
telescope pointed at the target you want.  To my knowledge the best
pointing accuracy we ever achieved in an amateur spacecraft was AO40 at
about 1.5 degrees.  And it was spinning, so we only took pictures of
bright things like the Earth where we could get an image with a short
shutter opening.  To image stars, you'd probably want 3 axis stabilization
which is a hard problem to solve on an amateur budget.  It's not
particularly easy on

ARRISSAT-1 will have a camera aboard, but no pointing ability at all, so
we'll be snapping pictures hoping the earth happens to be in the field of
view in at least some of them.  It'll have a nifty Russian instrument
aboard to measure just how "hard" the vacuum is at the upper edge of
Earth's atmosphere.  So it's about more than exchanging grid squares (not
that there's anything wrong with that).

-Joe KM1P

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