wao at vfr.net
Sun Apr 20 00:21:19 PDT 2014
AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and infor-
mation service of AMSAT North America, The Radio Amateur Satellite
Corporation. ANS publishes news related to Amateur Radio in Space
including reports on the activities of a worldwide group of Amateur
Radio operators who share an active interest in designing, building,
launching and communicating through analog and digital Amateur Radio
The news feed on http://www.amsat.org publishes news of Amateur
Radio in Space as soon as our volunteers can post it.
Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to:
ans-editor at amsat.org.
In this edition:
* Successful launch of KickSat carrying 104 Sprite satellites
* Space-X Dragon Cargo Craft set to dock with ISS
* KickSat Project Announces Telemetry Download Competition
* Space-X supply ship begins journey to space station
* The STELAR Project 2014
* KickSat launch postponed until Friday
* Video of ISS HamTV – Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA April 13, 2014
* Upcoming AMSAT Events
* ARISS News
* Satellite Shorts from All Over
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-110.01
ANS-110 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 110.01
From AMSAT HQ SILVER SPRING, MD.
April 20, 2014
To All RADIO AMATEURS
Successful launch of KickSat carrying 104 Sprite satellites
Five CubeSats including KicksSat which carries 104 Sprite satellites
on 437 MHz were successfully launched by the SpaceX CRS-3 mission on
Friday, April 18 at 19:25:22 UT.
Zac Manchester KD2BHC says:
After a beautiful launch KickSat was deployed in low Earth orbit. We
at Cornell and several amateur radio operators around the world have
made contact with the spacecraft and it is alive and well. I can’t
thank all of you enough for your tremendous support over the past two
years. Thank you for believing in KickSat!
This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and is a huge
milestone, but we’re not done yet. In 16 days the Sprites will deploy
from KickSat. We need as many people as possible listening in, so if
you’re interested, please check out the wiki and our mailing list for
more information. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with
The CubeSats KickSat, SporeSat, TSAT, PhoneSat-v2.5 and ALL-
STAR/THEIA were deployed into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination
All the Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The transmitter runs 10 mW
output of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) modulated binary data with each
data bit modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) sequence.
The ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D.
The KickSat CubeSat has downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.
KickSat mailing list https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/kicksat-
PRN codes for KickSat Sprites released http://amsat-
Preliminary TLE’s are at http://mstl.atl.calpoly.edu/~ops/crs3_tle/
Frequencies of the other CubeSats can be found at
CRS-3 Payloads http://www.spaceflight101.com/dragon-spx-3-cargo-
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above announcement]
Space-X Dragon Cargo Craft set to dock with ISS
A Dragon cargo craft stuffed with science and supplies is
approaching the International Space Station for an automated laser-
guided final approach Sunday, culminating with grapple by the
outpost's robotic arm shortly after 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT).
The SpaceX-owned spaceship is carrying about 4,600 pounds of cargo
to reinforce the space station's stocks of research experiments, crew
provisions and spare parts.
Since launching Friday at 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT), the Dragon
spacecraft has fired its Draco thrusters to adjust its orbit to match
that of the space station, setting up the final rendezvous sequence.
By about 2:30 a.m. EDT (0630 GMT), the Dragon spacecraft will be
about 28 kilometers, or 17 miles, below and behind the space station.
At that range, the Dragon should be within range of a UHF
communications panel the space station's crew can use to issue simple
commands to the supply ship in the event of a problem.
Several height-adjustment and midcourse correction rocket burns will
fine-tune Dragon's rendezvous, guiding the ship into position 350
meters, or about 1,150 feet, directly beneath the space station at
5:13 a.m. EDT (0913 GMT).
The Dragon will initially rely on relative GPS navigation data to
guide its approach to the space station. Once directly beneath the
complex, its computers will switch to laser and thermal sensors.
Dragon carries a laser guidance sensor package and two thermal
cameras to aid its final rendezvous with the space station.
Before leaving the initial hold point 1,150 feet beneath the space
station, the cargo craft will conduct a 180-degree yaw maneuver to
align its grapple fixture with the position of the space station's
Soon after beginning its final approach sequence, the Dragon
spacecraft will halt again at a hold position 250 meters, or 820
feet, below the space station. This brief hold allows ground
controllers to assess the status of the rendezvous and issue a "go"
for the Dragon to enter the so-called keep-out sphere, an imaginary
circle around the space station in which traffic is tightly
controlled for safety reasons.
The timeline calls for the Dragon spacecraft to depart the 250-meter
hold point around 5:39 a.m. EDT (0939 GMT), pausing again at a 30-
meter hold position before pressing on to a final point about 10
meters, or 33 feet, beneath the space station.
Arrival at the final hold point is scheduled around 6:56 a.m. EDT
Astronauts Koichi Wakata and Rick Mastracchio will monitor the final
phase of the Dragon's approach, including manning the space station's
robotic arm to grapple the free-flying cargo craft. Grapple is
scheduled for 7:14 a.m. EDT (1114 GMT). Once the Dragon is firmly
snared by the robotic arm, the 58-foot Canadarm will move the capsule
into position for berthing with the Earth-facing port on the space
station's Harmony module around 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT).
[ANS thanks Spaceflightnow.com for the above announcement]
KickSat Project Announces Telemetry Download Competition
Zac Manchester, KD2BHC, of the KickSat project is offering prizes to
the first stations to copy telemetry from KickSat and the "Sprite"
satellites it will deploy.
"I'll be offering prizes to the first several people who receive
telemetry packets from KickSat as well as the first few who receive
signals from the Sprites," the Cornell University aerospace
engineering graduate student has announced. "The prizes will include
souvenir Sprites, and CRS-3 and ELaNa-V mission patches."
KickSat's Zac Manchester, KD2BHC, offers a whimsical boost to the
delayed SpaceX launcher at Cape Canaveral.
The KickSat will go into space with the third SpaceX ISS resupply
mission, which was delayed at least until April 18. If all goes
according to plan, the 3U KickSat CubeSat subsequently will release
more than 100 Sprite satellites -- each about the size of a small
cracker -- into orbit. They will become the smallest Earth-orbiting
For KickSat telemetry (437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz), Manchester
wants the raw hex or ASCII packet data, "and I have to be able to
successfully decode it." For the Sprites, he wants a raw baseband
recording, "and I have to be able to decode at least one Sprite
signal from it." All of the Sprites are on the same frequency --
437.240 MHz. Manchester said he is the final judge on winners, and
he'll continue to offer prizes, "until I run out of cool swag." To
get in on the fun, Manchester said, visit the KickSat Wiki and sign
up for the KickSat mailing list.
[ANS thanks the 4/17/2014 ARRL Letter for the above announcement]
Space-X supply ship begins journey to space station
SpaceX's commercial Dragon supply ship thundered into orbit Friday
to begin a two-day pursuit of the International Space Station,
setting up the delivery of 2.4 tons of fresh supplies and
experimental cargo to the 450-ton research complex Sunday.
The Dragon spacecraft, flying on SpaceX's third operational resupply
run to the space station, lifted off at 3:25:21 p.m. EDT (1925:21
GMT) from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad, initially rising
slowly as its Falcon 9 rocket powered up to more than 1 million
pounds of thrust.
The launcher picked up speed, breaking the sound barrier about 70
seconds after liftoff and rocketing through the stratosphere before
releasing its nine-engine first stage less than 3 minutes into the
The first stage fell away, leaving the upper stage's single Merlin
1D engine to accelerate the rocket and Dragon payload into orbit as
the vehicle flew northeast from Cape Canaveral, paralleling the U.S.
East Coast to reach the space station's exact orbital inclination.
The 12-foot-diameter first stage was programmed to ignite its
engines two times during its fall back into the Atlantic Ocean,
slowing its velocity before deploying four landing legs made of
carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb.
Friday's launch was the first Falcon 9 rocket to fly with landing
Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO and chief designer, posted an update Friday
night on Twitter saying the first stage made a good landing despite
high waves in the recovery zone a few hundred miles northeast of Cape
"Data upload from tracking plane shows landing in Atlantic was good!
Several boats enroute through heavy seas," Musk tweeted, adding a few
minutes later that the first stage's flight computers continued
transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water, an indication
the rocket must have splashed down with minimal damage.
SpaceX says the experimental first stage recovery is a stepping
stone toward reusing the Falcon 9 rocket, which Musk says is critical
for reducing the cost of space transportation.
While the first stage's return maneuvers garnered much attention
during a post-flight press conference Friday, the mission's primary
goal is to resupply the space station, reinforcing the orbiting
outpost's dwindling food inventory and delivering fresh experiments
"I'm feeling pretty excited," Musk told reporters in a telephone
call from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. "This is a happy
day. Most important of all is that we did a good job for NASA ...
Everything else is secondary to that."
The mission is SpaceX's third resupply run to the space station,
coming after successful flights in October 2012 and March 2013 to
kick off the execution of a $1.6 billion logistics contract with
NASA. Signed in December 2008, the deal covers 12 missions for the
delivery of a cumulative 44,000 pounds of cargo to the space station.
After reaching orbit Friday, the Dragon spaceship deployed from the
Falcon 9's second stage about 10 minutes after liftoff, receding from
the view of an on-board "rocketcam" backdropped by the muted blue
colors of the ocean splashed against the stark blackness of space.
The spacecraft automatically unfurled two power-generating solar
arrays with a wingspan of 54 feet.
SpaceX engineers initially ran into a problem with the Dragon
spacecraft's propulsion system, causing the capsule to miss an
appointed engine burn to set up for its two-day chase of the space
But Musk said the glitch, traced to an isolation valve, was bypassed
by the use of a backup valve and the cargo mission was on track to
reach the space station early Sunday.
Late Friday, the Dragon spacecraft opened its navigation bay door,
exposing the ship's laser and thermal guidance sensors to be used in
the final phase of its approach to the space station.
Controllers plan a series of orbit-raising burns over the next day-
and-a-half, leading to the arrival of Dragon in the vicinity of the
complex in the predawn hours Sunday, U.S. time.
The spaceship will approach the space station from below, eventually
pausing about 30 feet beneath the complex while astronauts Koichi
Wakata and Rick Mastracchio snare Dragon with a robotic arm.
Grapple is scheduled for 7:14 a.m. EDT (1114 GMT) to wrap up a 40-
hour rendezvous that began with the Falcon 9 rocket's launch Friday.
The Dragon spacecraft launched Friday sports several upgrades over
previous SpaceX cargo vehicles, nearly quadrupling the ship's
capacity for powered cargo. The modifications include additional
freezers for biological samples and redesigned cargo racks to
accommodate additional payloads, according to SpaceX.
The mission is also taking up research experiments in the Dragon's
unpressurized trunk for the first time. The passengers include a NASA
optical communications terminal to demonstrate high data-rate links
between the space station and the ground, along with a high-
definition camera suite to collect videos of Earth.
The payload packages will be mounted outside the space station by
the lab's Canadian-built robotics system.
Astronauts will manually remove items stowed inside the Dragon
spacecraft's internal section, including 1,576 pounds of science and
research gear, 1,049 pounds of crew provisions, 449 pounds of vehicle
hardware, and 271 pounds of spacewalk tools.
The Dragon will arrive with a fresh spacesuit for the space
station's six-person crew, a space age garden to demonstrate
vegetable growth in microgravity, and legs for Robonaut 2, a humanoid
robot launched on a 2011 space shuttle mission.
The space station will repack the Dragon spacecraft's pressurized
module with experiment samples and other hardware destined to return
to Earth. Dragon's departure and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean is
scheduled for May 18.
[ANS thanks Steven Clark of Spaceflightnow.com for the above
The STELAR Project 2014
The education and science charity STELAR has been active in
promoting radiocommunications in schools and colleges for over 20
years, as part of curriculum enrichment and personal and professional
development for teachers.
Through its specialist courses, it has achieved much notable success
in establishing radio clubs in schools and inspiring young people to
seek careers in science, electronics and industry. It has played a
major role in space and satellite communications in schools.
In 2013 it provided opportunities for satellite experiment by
offering SDR receivers to schools allowing them to participate in the
current series of FUNCUBE satellite experiments.
Now in 2014 STELAR is offering a new challenge to educators both
professional and Amateur. The phenomenal success of the Raspberry Pi
computer has opened up new opportunities and stimulated demand for
educational projects linking communications systems, via computers.
This year STELAR is seeking to support the very best of those ideas
by making available grants to educational groups, with projects
designed to stimulate experiments with radio linked computing.
Typically these might take the form of:
• Radio systems linked to but not exclusively, a Raspberry Pi,
• A detailed Teachers guide to the use and benefits of FUNCUBE or
similar satellite systems in schools,
• The creation of radio-science projects to aid teachers personal
and professional development.
Educational groups can apply for funding to develop a project of
their choice, by submitting ideas for consideration by June 30, 2014.
Groups should set out their aims and giving as much detail as
possible. Successful entries will be notified during the Autumn term.
Interested ? then make contact by visiting the STELAR website
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information]
KickSat launch postponed until Friday
The SpaceX CRS-3 Dragon launch of five CubeSats and 104 Sprite
satellites has been postponed until Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1925 UT.
SpaceX were finally set to launch their Dragon spacecraft on its
third Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS Monday, prior
to a scrub being called over an hour ahead of lift-off. It is
reported there was a helium leak on the first stage, the next launch
opportunity is Friday.
The launch had been planned for December 2013 but has suffered a
number of delays.
Read the full story at
Frequencies of the other CubeSats can be found at
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information]
Video of ISS HamTV – Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA April 13, 2014
The final configuration of the International Space Station (ISS)
HamVideo Digital TV system took place on Sunday, April 13 at 1823 UT.
ISS commander Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA operated using the call sign
Configuration 4 was used:
* ARISS antenna 43
* Frequency 2395 MHz
* Symbol rate 2.0 MS/s
Ground stations G4KLB, F6DZP, IK1SLD and KI (Livorno) received the
signals and streamed the video over the BATC server. The DATV signal
was received for about 6 minutes.
Commander Wakata congratulated ARISS for this achievement and
answered a series of questions, prepared in the manner of a school
contact. He also proceeded to a microgravity experiment.
Congratulations to the Ham Video team for this outstanding
Next step should be a video enhanced ARISS school contact. We will
keep you informed on any progress.
The Ham Video transmitter has downlink frequencies of 2.369, 2.395,
2.422 and 2.437 GHz in a DVB-S type format (symbol rates of 1.3 Ms/s
and 2.0 Ms/s). The two patch antennas, ARISS 41 and ARISS 43, are
located on the nadir of the Columbus module. The Ham Video
transmitter puts out approximately 10 W EIRP. The camera is a Canon
Report by Jean Pierre F6DZP about his reception of HamTV on April
Read the HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF
Join the ISS HamTV Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HamTV
Webstream of the TV transmissions http://batc.tv/ch_live.php?ch=4
ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins http://www.ariss-eu.org/
HamTV on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Hamtvproject
[ANS thanks Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, ARISS EU Chair, the ARRL, and
AMSAT-UK for the above information]
Upcoming AMSAT Events
Information about AMSAT activities at other important events around
the country. Examples of these events are radio club meetings where
AMSAT Area Coordinators give presentations, demonstrations of working
amateur satellites, and hamfests with an AMSAT presence (a table with
AMSAT literature and merchandise, sometimes also with presentations,
forums, and/or demonstrations).
Monday, 28 April 2014 – presentation at Franklin County Amateur
Radio Club meeting in Greenfield MA by Barry Baines WD4ASW (AMSAT
Saturday, 3 May 2014 – Cochise Amateur Radio Association‘s Larry
Warren Hamfest in Sierra Vista AZ (southeast of Tucson) – AMSAT will
have a table at this hamfest, and satellite demonstrations are
Saturday, 7 June 2014 – Kachina Amateur Radio Club‘s White Mountain
Hamfest in Show Low AZ (eastern Arizona, south of US-60/AZ-77/AZ-260)
– AMSAT will have a table at this hamfest, and satellite
demonstrations are planned.
Friday and Saturday, 13-14 June 2014 – Ham-Com in Plano TX (north of
Thursday through Sunday, 17-20 July 2014 – ARRL Centennial
Convention in Hartford CT. AMSAT will host a day-long Satellite
Workshop on Thursday, and have a booth at the convention along with
an AMSAT Forum and demonstrations throughout the convention.
Saturday and Sunday, 30-31 August 2014 – Shelby Hamfest in Shelby NC
(west of Gastonia and Charlotte) – Barry Baines WD4ASW (AMSAT
President) will host an AMSAT Forum on Saturday of this weekend
Friday through Sunday, 12-14 September 2014 – ARRL Southwestern
Division Convention 2014 in San Diego CA (north of the city center,
near Montgomery Field airport & I-805/CA-163 interchange) – AMSAT
will have a booth at this convention, there will be on-air
demonstrations using satellites throughout the convention, and a
presentation on amateur satellites and AMSAT
AMSAT maintains and updated list of known upcoming events at
[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA for the above announcement]
Next planned event(s): Dixon Elementary School, Holly Ridge, NC
A direct contact with students at Dixon Elementary School, Holly
Ridge, NC, via NC4OC is a go for Mon 2014-04-21 18:05:53 UTC 41
deg. Watch for possible last minute schedule change due to SpaceX
Dixon Elementary School is located in a rural setting, with its
feeder communities North Topsail Beach, Sneads Ferry, Holly Ridge and
Surf City. Our community has seen sharp rises in the population of
retirees and young families both military and civilian. With the
deployment of large numbers of military personnel to Camp Lejeune,
New River Air Station, and MARSOC (Marine Special Operations Center)
at Stone Bay, the Dixon area continues to grow. Our school
population as of February 2014 is over 900 students. Dixon
Elementary is a Title 1 School with 38% of our students receiving
free or reduced meal benefits. Our student population consists of
81% white students, .09% American Indian, .06% Hispanic, 9% Black, 2%
Asian and .007% Pacific Islander.
Dixon Elementary was initially accredited by AdvancEd in 1978.
Students are served by highly qualified teachers in 38 regular
classrooms, three self-contained exceptional children's classrooms
and two pre-kindergarten classrooms. There are six highly qualified
resource teachers who also offer support to our large population of
exceptional children. Dixon Elementary is a charter member of the
National Elementary Honor Society and the Global Schools Network.
In the fall of 2012 Dixon Elementary implemented a STEM classroom
for instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
for students in grades K-5. Students rotate through the STEM
classroom every 7 days. The STEM classroom teacher, a veteran science
and math teacher, provides hands-on science and math instruction and
project-based learning, including a variety of engineering projects.
Each year Dixon Elementary hosts a SPACE DAY for students in Pre-K
through 5th grade, with our community joining us in this spectacular
Students at Dixon Elementary students think strategically as they
learn to play chess, participate in book studies, Scrabble Club,
Robotics Club, Girls on the Run Club, Boys' Running Club, Academic
Derby, Recycling Club (recently recognized by the National Council of
Keep America Beautiful as the leading public school in recycling),
Odyssey of the Mind (world competitors two out of the last three
years), Science Fair competitors (Regional, State and National
champions), and Science Olympiad.
ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering
the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA,
CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from
ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the
excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers on-
board the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and
communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS
can energize youngsters' interest in science, technology, and
learning. Further information on the ARISS program is available on
(graciously hosted by the Radio Amateurs of Canada).
[ ANS thanks ARISS for the above update]
Satellite Shorts from all over
CAMB-HAMS TO OPERATE GS3PYE/P FROM ISLE OF LEWIS
Thirteen members of Camb-Hams group will be operating GS3PYE/P from
the Isle of Lewis from April 26th April to May 3rd. The Isle of Lewis
is the northern part of Lewis and Harris and is the largest island of
the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Activity will be on 80 through 2
meters using all bands and modes. A pair of 2 meter to 70 centimeter
and 2 meter to 23 centimeter station's will be dedicated to satellite
contacts. 2 meter and 23 cm EME will be attempted using a low power
portable station into yagi antennas with this part of the operation
mainly focused on digital operation using modes developed by Joe
Taylor, K1JT. In addition to the ham bands the group will be active
on the major social networks before, during and after the trip. You
can check on progress or interact with the operators via their blog at
[ANS thanks RSGB for the above announcement]
Portable Amateur Radio Satellite Antenna Video
Dave Tadlock KG0ZZ describes a home made small hand held portable
amateur radio dual band 145 / 435 MHz satellite antenna in a new video
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above announcement]
In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the
President's Club. Members of the President's Club, as sustaining
donors to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive addi-
tional benefits. Application forms are available from the AMSAT
Primary and secondary school students are eligible for membership
at one-half the standard yearly rate. Post-secondary school students
enrolled in at least half time status shall be eligible for the stu-
dent rate for a maximum of 6 post-secondary years in this status.
Contact Martha at the AMSAT Office for additional student membership
This week's ANS Editor,
Joe Spier, K6WAO
k6wao at amsat dot org
More information about the AMSAT-BB