Report from IARU Region 1 Satellite Coordinator

Current active OSCAR satellites

There are currently 8 satellites carrying voice transponders:

  • AO7 – linear transponders
  • AO27 – FM transponder
  • FO29  - linear transponder
  • SO50 – FM transponder
  • AO51 – FM transponders
  • VO52 – linear transponder
  • SO67 – FM transponder – launched since my last report
  • HO68 – linear and FM transponders – launched since my last report

The ISS has a number of different operational modes which are activated whenever possible on the 2 metres and 70cms bands. Additionally there are than fifteen cubesats currently active transmitting a variety of data and CW beacons and a number of Russian satellites which also use frequencies within the 70cms band for their data downlinks.

OSCAR amateur transponder satellite projects (under construction or at proposal stage)

This list shows a number of the active projects underway at this time:

  • Phase 3E - AMSAT-DL
  • Kiwisat - AMSAT-ZL
  • ESEO- AMSAT-UK (communications package only)
  • FUNcube - AMSAT-UK (cubesat)
  • Nextgen - AMSAT-NA (cubesat)
  • Arissat-1- AMSAT-NA

Cubesats

Since our Cavtat meeting there have been five cubesats launched.

Frequency Coordination

The IARU satcoord team has continued to be very active and is working to ensure that any satellite project which is intending to use frequencies in the amateur satellite service is actually compliant with the requirements for such use.

A few months ago, we received a request from the ITU that more publicity be given to the ITU processes that member states should be undertaking in regard to spacecraft projects which use frequencies in the Amateur Satellite Service.  Accordingly, the IARU satellite pages now give clear additional guidance about the ITU Notification process. Full details can be seen here http://www.iaru.org/satellite/

Full details of all satellite projects which have come to the notice of the Coordination Panel can be found at http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/

Education Outreach

The FUNcube project from AMSAT-UK is a dual use cubesat mission intended for both educational outreach and amateur usage. To quote from the project website:

FUNcube is an educational single cubesat project with the goal of enthusing and educating young people about radio, space, physics and electronics.

It will support the educational Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) initiatives and provide an additional resource for the GB4FUN Mobile Communications Centre.

The target audience consists of primary and secondary school pupils and FUNcube will feature a 145 MHz telemetry beacon that will provide a strong signal for the pupils to receive. It is planned to develop a simple receiver board that can be connected to the USB port of a laptop to display telemetry in an interesting way.

The satellite will contain a materials science experiment, from which the school students can receive telemetry data which they can compare to the results they obtained from similar reference experiments in the classroom. Additionally it is planned to carry a “Twitter” like greetings message system called “Fitter”

FUNcube is the first cubesat designed to benefit this group and is expected to be the first UK cubesat to reach space.

It is anticipated FUNcube will be launched into a Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit about 600-700km above the earth using one of the many launch opportunities that exist for Cubesat missions. In such an orbit the satellite passes over Europe approximately 3 times in the morning, and 3 in the evening, every day, perhaps allowing the morning passes to be used for educational purposes and the evening passes for Amateur Radio communications.

FUNcube will carry a UHF to VHF linear transponder that will have up to 1 watt and which can be used by Radio Amateurs worldwide for SSB and CW communications. Measuring just 10 * 10 * 10 cm, and with a mass of less than 1kg, it will be the smallest ever satellite to carry a linear transponder and the choice of frequencies will enable Radio Amateurs to use their existing VO-52 or DO-64 station”

It is hoped that this single cubesat will be launched into a low earth orbit in early 2011.

Similarly the ARISSAT project from AMSAT-NA will provide international greetings from around the world in twelve languages on the FM downlink. In addition to the greetings will be voice ID, voice telemetry values, SSTV images, CW signals, a new 1k BPSK FEC system sending full telemetry and experiment data and a 16 kHz wide U/V linear transponder. It is hoped that ARRISAT-1 will be hand launched by astronauts from the ISS sometime this year.

The International Space Station

As anticipated, a new UHF and VHF antenna was installed, during an EVA, on the Columbus module late in 2009. Work is continuing to define the best possible use for these antennas and the dual band L/S patch antennas that already exist on the outside of the Columbus module.

There is an opportunity to uplift some equipment to Columbus later this year but time to develop, test, verify and safety assess the hardware is very short.

Conclusion

The world of amateur satellites continues to prosper and to develop a cadre of new, young, radio amateurs.