[amsat-bb] ANS-041 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin
mccardelm at gmail.com
Sat Feb 9 19:07:41 PST 2013
AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
ANS is a free, weekly, news and information service of AMSAT North
America, The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS 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 satellites.
Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to:
ans-editor at amsat.org
In this edition:
* Mid-West USA High Altitude Balloon Launch on February 16
* Amateur Radio Participates in ISS Plasma Thrust Shadow Experiment
* CubeSats Form Asteroid Mining Exploration Fleet
* PCSAT normal(?) operations resume
* AMSAT-UK to provide Amateur Radio payload for ESEO satellite
* OSCAR-11 ANNUAL REPORT 2012
* UKube-1 to launch in June 2013
* Five new CubeSats hope for 2013 launch
* ARISS News
* Satellite Shorts From All Around
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-041.01
ANS-041 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 041.01
>From AMSAT HQ SILVER SPRING, MD.
February 10, 2013
To All RADIO AMATEURS
Mid-West USA High Altitude Balloon Launch on February 16
The Iowa High Altitude Balloon team says their iHAB-9 balloon flight
is scheduled to launch February 16, 2013 at 16:00Z (9AM CDT). The
Mission Control web page will give you flight status, an APRS
tracking map, webcast, and live chat. Please go to:
On February 16 the flight schedule is presently at:
Webcast: 14:ØØZ - 8AM CDT
Launch: 15:ØØZ - 9AM CDT
The payload includes:
+ APRS beacon - WØOTM-11 on 144.39Mhz running OpenTracker+
and Alinco DJ-C7 - VHF/UHF 3ØØ/5ØØmw
+ 2ØM QRP Beacon, 1.5 Watts on 14.057.85 +/- Mhz
+ 1.2Ghz live video downlink
The latest flight status and additional information can be accessed
on the iHAB web pages.
[ANS thanks the iHAB-9 Team for the above information]
Amateur Radio Participates in ISS Plasma Thrust Shadow Experiment
On February 1, 2, 3, and on February 8, 9, 10 the Russian Central
Research Institute of Machine Building (TSNIIMASH) conducted a space
plasma experiment from the International Space Station to evaluate
the shape of a "radio dead zone" which is expected to occur with the
use of an on-board arcjet plasma source.
Future space exploration plans to use electric thrusters.
Integration of electric thrusters causes an electromagnetic
compatibility side-effect when highly ionized exhaust plumes of the
thrusters may scatter RF-signals producing large "dead" zone for
The SpEx Shadow experiment on the ISS activated an onboard arcjet
source to inject a plasma plume in space. The amateur radio packet
beacon operating on 145.825 MHz was activated to transmit a VHF
sounding signal with time ticks. Due to refraction/scattering of the
sounding signals in the exhaust plume, the shadow region would occur.
Participating amateur radio stations noted the time tick to register
loss of signal and re-acquisition of the 145.825 MHZ signal as the
footprint caused by the plasma jet passed their geographic location.
An example of the ISS SpEx Shadowing Beacon can be found on the
DK3WN SatBlog website at:
RS0ISS]CQ,qAR,SR5GK-3:]ARISS - International Space Station
DK3WN]BEACON,RS0ISS*,qAR,SR5GK-3:SpEx SHADOW 20:30:57 *DL* 02-02-2013/
DK3WN]BEACON,RS0ISS*,qAR,SR5GK-3:SpEx SHADOW 20:30:39 *DL* 02-02-2013/
Additional details of the Shadowing Experiment are posted on the
TSNIIMASH web site at:
[ANS thanks TSNIIMASH and Mike Rupprecht, DK3WN for the above
CubeSats Form Asteroid Mining Exploration Fleet
In an article posted on the SpaceDaily.com website, "Commercial
Asteroid Hunters Announce Plans For New Robotic Exploration Fleet",
Deep Space Industries claims it will send a fleet of asteroid-
prospecting spacecraft out into the solar system to hunt for
resources to accelerate space development to benefit Earth.
These "FireFly" spacecraft utilize low-cost CubeSat components and
get discounted delivery to space by ride-sharing on the launch of
larger communications satellites.
FireFlies with a mass of about 55 lb will first be launched in 2015
on journeys of two to six months. Starting in 2016, Deep Space will
begin launching 70-lb DragonFlies for round-trip visits that bring
back samples. The DragonFly expeditions will take two to four years,
depending on the target, and will return 60 to 150 lb.
Read the full article posted at:
[ANS thanks SpaceDaily.com for the above information]
PCSAT normal(?) operations resume
PCSAT (NO44) is again returned to users (but not usable until a few
weeks when sun angles get better).
The variation of power available to PCSAT is inversely proportional
to the "sun-to-orbitplane-angle" (viewable in Instantrack with the
"E" and "D" keys. It is currently above 78 degrees. Once it went
above about 65 degrees was our last successful commanding.
Recovery did not work this period. But we learned enough to be more
successful in the Fall.
A "sun-to-orbitplane-angle" means PCsat's orbit is now over the
day/night terminator meaning it is in full sun (no eclipses) with
solar power coming in on the (weaker) side panels and little if any
on the +Z face(best panel). Attitude is maintained by alignment with
the Earth's magnetic field. It's the best time for a recovery (no
eclipses to cause a reset), but the worst time for commanding. It is
too weak to respond to the needed logon and 3 additional commands.
Though it will be strong again as the sun angle improves (lower).
Then it will have better sun on the +Z face for commanding, but then
it will be doing Eclipses. And even though we can then command it to
turn off unnecessary loads, it does not have enough time before the
next eclipse to charge up enough to survive the next eclipse.
What we did (re)learn is a condensed command method where we can put
all 3 PCSAT low-power commands in a single packet (using the TNC's ^V
pass character). That way, we only need a successful logon to
complete the Restoration. 1) The CONNECT ACK. 2) The password
challenge, 3) Then the command prompt. Then we can hit it with the
full low-power command set and disconnect all in one packet which
cancels the need for PCSAT to respond to each command separately.
On the FIRST day available in full sun(our best shot), I not only
got logged on, but completed all 3 requried functions. Then signals
sounded so good, I got greedy and put in the another three (which
also improves power budget, but not as much as the first three).
Yep, I gambled and lost. It died on the last one! The next day I got
all 3 in, and it died on the 3rdcommand due to a user packet I think.
Days since, I have been unable to logon. Hence, end of this attempt
In most attempts in the past (after successful logon) we would send
one command at a time to give it a few seconds rest between each one.
But these 3 commands then required 3 ACKS and 3 RESPONSES in addition
to the 3 required to get logged. Those extra 6 packets kill it,
especially if there was a user packet in there. Next time all we
need are the 3 loggon responses.
Also, next time, we will give users advance warning to QRT all
transmissions when we are trying to command. Each one of their
packets robs us of power we need to complete the command. I failed
to warn everyone this time, and so we had some interference.
As sun angle improves, You may continue to experiment with PCSAT
during MIDDAY passes. That is when it is strongest (in the Northern
Hemisphere), but do limit yourself to only attended operations so
humans can actually contact humans, or if you are doing an unattended
test, keep your transmissions to once every 2 minutes. That should
let you get one good successful packet per pass. Which is the
mission of PCSAT.
See the downlink on http://pcsat.aprs.org
There you can see the telemetry packets (list at the bottom of page)
right now are rarely getting above 001 meaning typically a minute or
so of life before it gets overloaded and resets back to 000.
It is easy to visualize the relationship of the sun angle to the
orbit plane and to see how that affects power budget given that our
best panel (out of 5) is on the +Z face and that is magnetically
aligned to point towards magnetic South. There is NO panel on the -Z
which is why PCsat is rarely usable in the Southern Hemisphere (not
planned, but just a result of it crashing in every eclipse).
Just thought you would like to know what is going on with one of the
oldest student projects in space that is still "semi-operational" for
[ANS thanks Bob, Wb4APR for the above information]
AMSAT-UK to provide Amateur Radio payload for ESEO satellite
AMSAT-UK will be providing a 1260/145 MHz FM transponder and a 145
MHz BPSK telemetry beacon for the European Student Earth Orbiter
(ESEO). This is the third mission within the European Space Agency’s
Education Satellite Programme.
Nine European universities will be working with the prime contractor
ALMASpace, Italy, on the mission. Cranfield University in
Bedfordshire will be supplying a small sail that will be deployed to
demonstrate the de-orbiting of spacecraft at the end of the mission.
The primary purpose of the AMSAT-UK payload is to provide a downlink
telemetry that can be easily received by schools and colleges for
educational outreach purposes. The data will be displayed in an
attractive format and provide stimulation and encouragement for
students to become interested in all STEM subjects in a unique way.
The target audience is primarily students at both primary and
secondary levels and the project includes the development of a simple
and cheap “ground station” operating on VHF frequencies in the
Amateur Satellite Service. This station is an omni-directional
antenna feeding a FUNcube DonglePRO+ SDR receiver which will receive
the signals direct from the satellite and transfer the data to
specially developed graphical software running on any Windows laptop.
More information is available at
[ANS thanks Trevor Essex, M5AKA for the above information]
OSCAR-11 ANNUAL REPORT 2012
This report covers the period from 01 January 2012 to 01 January
2013. During this time there have been no significant changes apart
from the gradual drift of the on-board clock. The satellite has been
transmitting on a regular cycle of 10.35 days on followed by 10.35
OSCAR-11 (AKA UoSAT-2 and UO-11) celebrated it's 28th birthday in
space on 01 March! It was designed, built and launched within a
period of six months, using commercially available 'off the shelf'
components (COTS). Once again, congratulations to Professor Sir
Martin Sweeting G3YJO, his team at the University of Surrey and the
groups of radio amateurs who also contributed to the project.
Good copy has been obtained obtained from decoded telemetry frames
and many reports have been posted on the DCARR general satellite
status website, The satellite continues to be subjected to eclipses
during each orbit, resulting in weaker signals at those times. During
the summer in the UK all passes were in sunlight, however the
eclipses gradually returned during the autumn and now all evening
passes are eclipsed and signals are significantly weaker than in the
The on-board clock gained 85 seconds during the year, which is
comparable with the 60 seconds gain per year when the satellite was
launched. There is however a large accumulated error of 308.54204
days slow. This was caused mainly by the clock stopping during
eclipses, when there was also an unknown drain on the power supply.
The units of the least significant digit correspond approximately to
seconds (0.86 seconds actually).
At the present time, while OSCAR-11 is operating in a predictable
way, please DO NOT send reports or files by e-mail. However, could
all listeners continue to enter their reports on the general
satellite status website. This is a very convenient and easy to use
facility, which shows the current status of all the amateur
satellites, and is of use to everyone. Reports around the expected
times of switch-on and switch-off are of special interest, especially
for times 13:00 to 18:00 and 22:00 to 08:00 UTC, to when the
satellite is out-of-range in the UK . The URL is
The VHF beacon frequency is 145.826 MHz. AFSK FM ASCII Telemetry.
The satellite is operating in the default mode, controlled by the
watchdog timer, with a cycle time of 20.7 days. 10.35 days on
followed by 10.35 days off.
An extended version of this report is available on my website, and
new listeners to OSCAR-11 should read this for further information.
The URL is www.g3cwv.co.uk/oscar11.htm . This page contains links to
the report, a short audio clip to help you identify the satellite and
a file of recent telemetry received. The website also contains an
archive of news & telemetry data which is updated from time to time,
and details about using a soundcard or hardware demodulators for data
capture. There is also software for capturing data, and decoding
ASCII telemetry. The easiest way to check whether OSCAR-11 is
operational is to look at the General Satellite Status website
If you place this bulletin on a terrestrial packet network, please
use the bulletin identifier $BID:U2RPT158.CWV, to prevent duplication.
[ANS thanks Clive Wallis, G3CWV for the above information]
UKube-1 to launch in June 2013
The Herald newspaper reports that the CubeSat UKube-1 will be
launched in June, 2013.
The spacecraft is being built for the UK Space Agency (UKSA) by
Clyde Space and the launch will take place from Baikonur in
Kazakhstan on a Soyuz-2 along with TechDemoSat-1.
The newspaper reports that Clyde Space has announced plans for a
base in the United States.
UKube-1 will carry a set of AMSAT-UK FUNcube boards to provide an
amateur radio 435/145 MHz linear transponder and a 1200 bps BPSK
beacon for educational outreach
[ANS thanks Trevor, M5AKA for the above information]
Five new CubeSats hope for 2013 launch
Five new CubeSats being developed in Taiwan, Vietnam and the United
States are hoping to fly during 2013.
PACE is the first nanosatellite developed the National Cheng Kung
University (NCKU) of Taiwan and has the objective to provide a
platform for attitude control experiments in space.
More Information is available at
TARO is a 2U CubeSat developed by the National Cheng Kung University
(NCKU) of Taiwan. TARO is the precursor of PACE satellite which was
also developed by NCKU and has an objective to verify the function of
sensors and actuators which have been used at PACE.
More Information is available at
PicoDragon is a 1U CubeSat project intended to take low resolution
earth images and to test on board systems. Planning to use two UHF
transmitters. One 100mW CW beacon on 437.250 MHz and a 1k2 AFSK 800mW
AX25 telemetry downlink. Commands will be uplinked on VHF.
More Information is available at
United States, Alabama – ChargerSat-1. The primary mission is to
perform a technology demonstration of gravity gradient stabilization,
improved solar collection and improved horizon communications on a
pico-satellite. This is the team’s first CubeSat and is a technology
demonstration of their capabilities as students
More Information is available at
United States, California – SNAPS. This spacecraft has dimensions of
25x113x113mm, has a mass of less than 0.5kg and is intended to image
other CubeSats autonomously using H264 compression. The team is
proposing a UHF downlink using 9k6 AFSK and will utilize Carpcomm
Planned for a SpaceX flight from Vandenberg AFB in April 2013
together with POPACS.
[ANS thanks Trevor, M5AKA for the above
ARISS Switches to Ericsson Radio After experiencing Problems with
tthe Kenwood D700
After experiencing issues with the Kenwood D700 on two consecutive
school contacts, ARISS will use the Ericsson Radio on the Columbus
module for ARISS contacts until problems with D700 are resolved.
According to Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT's Vice President for Human
Spaceflight Programs, "...for some reason, our signals from the
Service Module Kenwood D700 radio are much diminished. Our contact
with Israel last Sunday had low audio levels, with good signals only
near TCA. Our contact yesterday with the Hospital for Sick Children
was even worse. Only one student was able to talk to Chris Hadfield
before we lost the signal. The crew reports hearing the ground
station well. Both these contacts were with our telebridge stations,
some of the best out there. Also note that Chris Hadfield got on the
IP Phone, immediately after the Hospital radio contact and answered
all the student’s questions, using that communications medium. So,
while not optimal, we were able to make both these ARISS events
After the Hospital contact, we had a full court press to revise
uplinks and procedures to use the Ericsson radio that was recently
installed in the Columbus Module instead of the D700. This was
worked well into the crew sleep period, with the procedures ready for
the crew at wakeup. While we had not fully checked out the radio, we
felt the benefits of using this system outweighed the risks of using
the D700, given its recent past performance. Our contact with the
Japan school, using the Columbus Module Ericsson radio was very
successful. We plan to use it on the contacts planned for next week."
+ Contacts scheduled for this coming week
ARISS is requesting listener reports for these contacts. Due to
issues with the Kenwood radio that are not fully understood at
present, the Ericsson radio is going to be used for these contacts.
ARISS thanks everyone in advance for their assistance.
Breadalbane Academy, Aberfeldy, United Kingdom, telebridge via W6SRJ
Contact is a go for: Tue 2013-02-12 09:22:57 UTC 26 deg
Chief Peguis Jr. High, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, telebridge via VK5ZAI
Contact is a go for: Wed 2013-02-13 19:47:43 UTC 55 deg
+ At the following link you will find a listing of all scheduled
school contacts, and questions, other ISS related websites, IRLP
and Echolink websites, and instructions for any contact that may
be streamed live.
+ QSL information may be found at:
+ ISS callsigns: DPØISS, NA1SS, OR4ISS, RSØISS
+ There have been rumors in the past indicating that the ISS was
having direct contacts on the 40 meter band. The HF antenna is
mounted, however, there is no HF radio equipment on board.
Sometimes WA3NAN will retransmit shuttle audio.
[ANS thanks ARISS and AJ9N for the above information]
Satellite Shorts From All Around
+ The FITSAT-1 optical experiment is the topic of an article posted
at Space.com. See "Tiny Japanese Satellite Beams Morse Code Messages
from Space", by Leonard David at:
+ The AMSAT mail list archives remain accessible despite the temp-
orary outage of general content at www.amsat.org. Access the the
amsat-bb and sarex lists can be found at:
Access to subscribe to AMSAT mail lists can be found at:
Access the AMSAT News Service Archives can be found at:
http://amsat.org/pipermail/ans/ [Joanne Maenpaa]
+ Who is On Board the ISS
Kevin Ford KF5GPP
Chris Hadfield KC5RNJ/VA3OOG
Tom Marshburn KE5HOC
[ANS thanks Charlie AJ9N for the above information]
+ Near Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass inside the geostationary
satellite orbits February 15. This object will make an extremely
close approach to within 0.00023 AU of Earth at 19:25 UT (11:25 AM
PST) on February 15, 2013.
For more information visit
[ANS thanks Tom Clark K3IO for the the above information]
+ Hello Kitty in Near Space
Near space weather balloon built by seventh grader Lauren Rojas and
launched with help from her father, Rod, Reaching an altitude of
over 90,000. The photography in this video is quite good,
especially when the balloon bursts.
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,
EMike McCardel, KC8YLD
kc8yld at amsat dot org
More information about the AMSAT-BB