[amsat-bb] Community Survey Request -- crosslinks, multi-hop packet, and satellite DX

Zach Leffke zleffke at vt.edu
Sun Apr 2 20:26:54 UTC 2017

Hello fellow satellite nuts!

This email is to humbly request the opinions of those in the Amateur 
Satellite Community about the idea of setting new satellite DX records.  
Nothing formal, you can email on list or off list as you think appropriate.

So here is the idea:  What if there were a constellation of three 
satellites (3 1Us), built by students (undergrads) at three different 
universities, but launched together and deployed from the same deployer 
that had crosslink packet communications built into the design.  Then, 
what if those birds were licensed via the Amateur Radio route (instead 
of Experimental as is the norm for most University birds, with some 
notable exceptions of course) allowing the entire global amateur 
satellite community to use the crosslink capability in an attempt to set 
new satellite DX records?

Now, there is a primary science mission (pseudo-range determination as 
the constellation separates, different mass and drag profiles for each 
bird) so during the work week, science happens, but on the weekends, the 
constellation is made available to the community for crosslink packet 
comms.  Additionally, if your setup has enough G/T to monitor the lower 
power crosslink comms, and with a little bit of technical tweaking to 
your ground station (you would need GPS based PPS to measure propagation 
time, maybe ~$100 invested), you could participate in Space to Earth 
pseudo-range measurements that would contribute to a secondary orbit 
determination goal.  To be clear, the up and down linking for the 
satellite DX attempts would be standard FSK9600, AX.25, so as long as 
your station can do that, you can use the crosslink path for multi-hop 
comms.  Its only the S-to-E pseudo range measurement that would require 
a bit of additional HW.

Does this sound interesting?  Would you as an operator be interested in 
multi-hop satellite packet comms?  Do you think this type of operating 
schedule is acceptable (weekends) to justify Amateur Radio licensing 
instead of Experimental?  Would you be interested in contributing to the 
science mission (S-to-E pseudo-range measurement)?  Would you track the 
telemetry downlinks and forward that data on to the mission data warehouse?

Any and all opinions, good or bad, are welcome.  Again, on or off list 
as you see appropriate is fine with me.  My goal with this is to get a 
sense of what the community's opinion on this topic is and if the 
constellation were available for use, how much interest there would be 
in this type of operation.

Thanks in Advance!


Zach, KJ4QLP

Research Associate
Aerospace Systems Lab
Ted & Karyn Hume Center for National Security & Technology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Work Phone: 540-231-4174
Cell Phone: 540-808-6305

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