A report on the annual Space
Frontier Foundation's conference, held
this year in Sunnyvale, California. Topics
of discussion ranged from entrepreneurial
space businesses to lunar miing to fully reusable
suborbital space vehicles.
Receive Satellite Transmissions with the FUNcubeDongle
is "an educational single cubesat project
with the goal of enthusing and educating young
people about radio, space, physics and electronics."
They are targeting primary and secondary school
A great spinoff project from FUNcube is
Software Defined Radio. This small device
connects to the USB port of your PC and
turns your computer into a powerful satellite
receiving station. You just need to add
an antenna and you can receive signals directly
from satellites passing over your location.
From the FUNcubeDongle
Similar to a USB TV Dongle, the FUNcube
Dongle simple fits into your computerís
USB port. Itís compatible with many radio
reception programs like Rocky, M0KGK,
Spectravue and LinRad. The FUNcube Dongle
also works with Windows XP, Vista and
Windows 7 both x86 and x64. In addition,
it is compatible with Linux and MacOS
as it uses standard USB drivers already
integrated into the operating system.
There are two versions. The entry level
FUNcube Dongle gives access to the satellite
frequency band that FUNcube and some other
satellites use. The Pro version gives
unlimited access to the frequency range
64 to 1,700MHz.
Itís also all-mode: this means that itís
not just limited to narrow band FM reception.
As well as data, the FUNcube Dongle will
also recieve many other narrow band signals
including AM, FM and SSB. It will even
receive TV sound channels!
The video below displays the basics of the
device, which can be ordered here from the
group (UK price is £122 or $188.00).
On December 8th, SpaceX
became the first private company, and only
the fourth organization outside of the space
agencies in the US, Russian, and China,
to launch a pressurized space capsule to
orbit and return it to earth for a safe
recovery. The mission was a stunning success
and marked a major milestone accomplishment
for commercial spaceflight.
Links to articles, commentary, photos and
videos concerning the flight can be found
here in the NewSpace
of the successful flight of Falcon 9 with
the Dragon capsule on December 8th, 2010.
The mission, partially funded by NASA,
was the first of up to three flights to
prove that the system is capable of safely
delivering cargo to the International Space
Station. Once proven, SpaceX will begin
routine deliveries to the ISS.
The system was developed with a combination
of private and government funding. NASA's
Commercial Orbital Transportation System
(COTS) program provided funding of about
$280M on a fixed-price basis. (Orbital
Sciences is also participating in the
COTS program.) The money was only paid in
increments as SpaceX met each of a series
of milestones. The cost was a small fraction
of typical NASA rocket programs.
The Dragon is also capable of carrying
human passengers. A launch
escape system must be added but otherwise
the capsule is essentially ready for passenger
In 2010 the Obama Administration proposed
that NASA sponsor a competition among commercial
firms to provide transportation services
for delivering crews to the ISS. The Space
Shuttle program will end this year and NASA
will then be dependent on the Russian Soyuz
for getting its astronauts to the ISS. Congress
has authorized initial funding for the commercial
crew program (currently the 2011 budget
has not yet been appropriated). Several
companies plan to enter the competition.
SpaceX believes it can offer crew transportation
within three years from the start of initial
funding. They will need $300M for development
of the launch escape system and then funding
for the test flights that NASA will require
before allowing its astronauts to fly aboard