The amateur radio CubeSat Tomsk-TPU-120 may be deployed during a Russian spacewalk (EVA) in July 2017.
The satellite was developed by students at the Tomsk Polytechnic University to test new space materials technology and is the world’s first space vehicle with a 3D-printed structure. It was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan to the ISS on March 31, 2016 in a Progress-MS-2 cargo vessel.
ARISS-International delegates met November 15-18 at the International Space Center Conference Facility in Houston, Texas, to celebrate 20 years of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and to continue planning for the years ahead. More than 50 delegates and guests from Russia, Japan, Italy, German, the UK, and North America took part, and teleconferencing let individuals unable to attend in person to join the proceedings. Special guests at the conference included Astronauts Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, and Ken Cameron, KB5AWP, and Cosmonaut Aleksandr Poleshchuk, RV3DP. An international group interested in installing and operating an Amateur Radio station on the ISS first met in November 1996 at Johnson Space Center, and ARISS was born as a result of that gathering.
The AlSat-1N and Prathamsatellites, both carrying Amateur Radio payloads, have both been heard and identified following the India Space Research Organization (ISRO) PSLV-C35 mission launch on September 26. Reports are requested. Reports on AMSAT-BB indicate the Pratham CW beacon on 145.980 MHz is active.
The 3U AlSat-1N CubeSat was built in collaboration with the Algerian Space Agency, the UK Space Agency (UKSA), Surrey Space Centre (SSC) staff, and Algerian students as a technology transfer and demonstrator for Algeria.
Conventional lines of communication can be impacted after a disaster. This we know. Phone lines can go down, cell service can be overrun with calls, texts, and emails and it can be difficult for survivors as well as first responders to get in touch. This isn’t a far-fetched scenario or intellectual exercise. It’s a reality we’ve seen happen over and over during disasters small and large.
Enter Amateur Radio—or what those involved in the hobby refer to as “ham radio.”
Well-known AMSAT figure and Virginia Tech researcher Bob McGwier, N4HY, says the Amateur Radio payload planned to go into geosynchronous orbit in 2017 will be like “a new ham band” for the Americas, available every hour of every day. McGwier, a research professor in Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Director of Research for the Hume Center for National Security and Technology, said the satellite’s geosynchronous orbit also makes it viable for emergency and disaster communication. AMSAT-NAannounced in April that Amateur Radio would be a “hosted payload” on the geosynchronous satellite that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of California is under contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government.
AMSAT has announced that it will be conducting some tests on the new Fox-1A (AO-85) satellite while it is over North America during orbits 444, 448, and 449, and is requesting that users not uplink to the satellite during these periods:
The APRS/PSK31-equipped US Naval Academy satellites appear to be operating, with one exception, according to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR. The CubeSats were launched on May 20 from Cape Canaveral. The launch included a pair of 1.5U CubeSats — the PSAT APRS/PSK31 satellite and BRICsat, a propulsion/PSK31 satellite — as well as a 3U CubeSat, USS Langley (Unix Space Server Langley). The launch also included The Planetary Society’s LightSail-1.
PSAT, a student satellite project named in honor of USNA alum Bradford Parkinson, of GPS fame, contains an APRS transponder for relaying remote telemetry, sensor, and user data from remote users and Amateur Radio environmental experiments or other data sources back to Amateur Radio experimenters via a global network of Internet-linked ground stations.
[UPDATED 2015-04-27 1803 UTC] There is big news on the Amateur Radio satellite front. AMSAT-NA has announced that, if all goes according to plan, an Amateur Radio payload will go into space on a geosynchronous satellite that’s planned for launch in 2017. As opposed to the more typical low-Earth-orbit, a geosynchronous orbit would permit an earthbound ham at a given point within its footprint to access the satellite at approximately the same time each day. According to AMSAT Vice President-Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, the satellite’s potential footprint would extend over the US from the Mid-Pacific to Africa. AMSAT said it’s accepted the opportunity to be a “hosted payload” on a spacecraft that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of El Segundo, California, is under contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government. Past AMSAT Director and former Vice President-Engineering Bob McGwier, N4HY, said the Amateur Radio payload must be delivered for testing and integration by the spring of 2016.