The first Amateur Radio satellite to employ the D-Star digital voice and data format — D-Star One — was among about 20 secondary payloads lost on November 28 after an otherwise nominal launch of a three-stage Soyuz 2.1 booster from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the far reaches of eastern Russia. The mission carried the Russian Meteor M2-1 satellite — the primary payload — as well as a Canadian Telestar experimental satellite, and 17 other secondary payloads, including D-Star One. According to reports, a fault occurred in the sophisticated and autonomous Fregat upper stage, which, after separating from the launch vehicle, inserts multiple spacecraft into their respective orbits. A so-called “space tug,” Fregat has been in service for nearly 2 decades and has suffered three previous failures. Russian space agency Roscosmos is investigating the Fregat failure.
The Delta II rocket carrying RadFxSat (Fox-1B) launched at 09:47:36 UTC on November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Following a picture-perfect launch, RadFxSat was deployed at 11:09 UTC. Then the wait began. At 12:12 UTC, the AMSAT Engineering team, watching ZR6AIC’s WebSDR waterfall, saw the characteristic “Fox Tail” of the Fox-1 series FM transmitter, confirming that the satellite was alive and transmitting over South Africa. Shortly after 12:34 UTC, the first telemetry was received and uploaded to AMSAT servers by Maurizio Balducci, IV3RYQ, in Cervignano del Friuli, Italy. Initial telemetry confirmed that the satellite was healthy.
RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is scheduled for launch on November 10, 2017. RadFxSat is one of four CubeSats making up the NASA ELaNa XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 mission. JPSS-1 will launch on a Delta II from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The spacecraft has been given to students of the Masar Initiative at the Jordan University of Science and Technology as part of the JY1-SAT mission support and training program under the Crown Prince Foundation given by ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space and AMSAT-UK and AMSAT Netherlands.
International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, RN3FI, and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy manually deployed five nanosatellites during a spacewalk on August 17. Three of the satellites carry Amateur Radio payloads. Tanyusha-SWSU 1 and 2 (also known as also known as Radioskaf 6 and 7 — RS6S and RS7S) will transmit either 9.6 kB FSK or FM voice announcements on 437.050 MHz, while Tomsk-TPU-120 (RS4S) will transmit FM voice announcements on 437.025. The satellites were deployed from the Pirsairlock module of the ISS. Both have been reported active.
WIA News reports:
On board the tiny spacecraft is an experiment, part of the QB50 project, designed to “explore the lower thermosphere, for re-entry research and in-orbit demonstration of technologies and miniaturised sensors”, as reported in earlier editions of the WIA broadcast.
At the May 2017 CARP meeting Jason Boyer N6EY gave a great presentation on Space Communications. In the presentation he discussed types of amateur radio satellites and communications methods to utilize them.
The powerpoint of the presentation is available in PDF on the CARP Past Programs/Presentations page
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) reports it has met a major milestone and now is “one giant step” closer to flying its new interoperable radio system to the International Space Station. Eventual plans call for installing a new JVC Kenwood TM-D710GA-based radio system on the station as part of an overall approach that will allow greater interoperability between the Columbus module and the Russian Service Module.
Several CubeSats carrying Amateur Radio payloads were placed into orbit on January 16 from the International Space Station (ISS). Six CubeSats delivered to the ISS in December were deployed from the Kibo airlock using the new JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD).
Update: Paul Stoetzer N8HM reports working Wyatt Dirks AC0RA through the FM transponder during the 1709 UT pass on December 28. Paul says “Uplink requires precise frequency adjustment and there’s a delay on the downlink, but the signal is strong”. A recording of the transponder can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/paul-stoetzer/by70-1-1706z-28-dec-2016