Category Archives: Space Radio

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Dec.2.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** The Community Satellite Project aims to crowd-develop CubeSats

The Community Satellite Project is an online group of international space professionals and students, collaborating to launch BATSAT, a crowd-developed cubesat. The group was initially founded in early November 2019 via r/space, following a reputable space company’s offer of a free launch.

Our goals are not only to develop and use BATSAT to conduct cutting edge aerospace research, but to facilitate mentorship between space experts and students.

We are currently in the recruiting and mission defining stages of this process.

If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please get in touch via our Join Us page.

This article profiles one of the project’s founders and describes their plans: Southland teenager on mission to build satellite |

More than 740 people have joined the online group, including aerospace engineers, avionics and payload experts, cloud engineers, satellite ground station engineers and university students from all over the world. 

Of this, 260 supporters with specialist skills have been assigned to various teams to confirm the parameters of the project, with regular conversations held using an online meeting app. 

The collective decision is to build two small satellites, each about the size of a Rubik’s Cube, to test a theory about whether electro-magnetic tether straps can be used to de-orbit a satellite once it has come to the end of its life.

More about the project:

** Freeport, New York high school team building CubeSat funded with NASA grant:  Freeport High School prepares for liftoff | Herald Community Newspapers –

The students have broken their project into phases, and are now in the construction phase. Once Strong and Johnson finish building the satellite, they will conduct environmental tests to expose it to vibration, vacuum and temperature conditions closely identical to space.

Then the students will work with NASA to prepare to launch it into space. After the launch, the seniors will perform satellite operations and conduct space experiments. Once the space mission is complete, the nanosatellite will fall to Earth, possibly burning up in the atmosphere.

See also District Wins Grant to Build CubeSat – Freeport Public Schools.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-335 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Fox Leaderboard Will Show Monthly Leaders
  • AMSAT Will Be at Superstition Superfest Hamfest
  • Electron Booster on the Pad for Rocket Lab’s 10th Mission
  • FCC Seeks to Clear Radio Amateurs Out of 3.4 GHz
  • WRC-19 Final Report: Small Satellites and the 1240-1300 MHz Band
  • AMSAT Auction Celebrating 45th Birthday of AO-7 Raises $480
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

The Juventas radar CubeSat to be deployed by the Hera mission to study the Didymos asteroids. Credits: ESA

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Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Nov.24.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** Update on Arizona State’s Phoenix CubeSat, which reached the ISS on the recent Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo mission: Arizona State University students design satellite to research Urban Heat Island –

“Concrete and asphalt tend to retain the heat of the sun and heat the place. We want to know exactly why, where, and when the cities are heating up,” De La Vega stated.

Once the satellite gets deployed by astronauts onboard the International Space Station in January, the team will be testing, calibrating, and hopefully, receiving data from the satellite for further research.

ASU Phoenix Cubesat Diagram
Component diagram of the ASU Phoenix Cubesat.

** And an update on the Univ. of Minnesota’s SOCRATES cubesat, which also rode the Cygnus to the ISS: The University of Minnesota Sends CubeSat to Space – Food & Beverage Herald

[SOCRATES} is the first-ever made by the university in a joint venture featuring university professors and students from a variety of space-related fields and engineering. The project is under NASA’s Undergraduate Student Instrument Project, which was started three years ago to give students opportunities to build and launch satellites into space.

More than 30 students from the university were interested in the program, led by Kyle Houser, the chief engineer and Burgett, the project manager. The SOCRATES was developed in the university’s Small Satellite Project Lab, founded by Demoz Gebre and physics professor Lindsay Glesener for a small satellite study.

The SOCRATES is fitted with state-of-the-art X-ray detection sensors to provide navigation when GPS is inaccessible. The satellite will also be able to capture information on electronic acceleration from solar flares to aid in the study of the solar phenomenon. The SOCRATES will be released to orbit the Earth in January 2020 from the International Space Station, where it is held at the moment.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-328 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Auction Celebrating the 45th Birthday of AO-7 Now Live
  • November 18 Marked 2nd Anniversary On Orbit for AMSAT-OSCAR 91
  • November 21 Marked 6th Anniverary of AMSAT-UK’s AO-73 FUNcube-1
  • Proposed FCC Auction of C-Band Increases Competition for Allocations
  • Satellite Operations From the Queen Mary on December 14
  • Donate to AMSAT Tax-Free From Your IRA
  • Open Source ‘APRS to Discord’ Bridge Project Begins Testing
  • ARISS Activities
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • The Voyage Home: Japan’s Hayabusa-2 Probe Heads Back to Earth
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Introduction to CubeSat Technology and Subsystem:
Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.20.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** University students are key to operating the LightSail-2 in orbit: “I Talk to It Every Day”: Students are Vital Members of LightSail 2 Team | The Planetary Society. The article profiles several of the students who help operate the Planetary Society’s LightSail-2 solar sail. The LightSail-2 CubeSat was launched last June inside the Georgia Tech Prox-1 spacecraft, a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. It was then ejected from Prox-1 a week later. The sail was unfurled on July 23, 2019.

Students like [Cal Poly San Luis Obispo physics undergrad Michael] Fernandez have benefited from the proliferation of CubeSats—small, standardized, low-cost satellites that often hitch rides to space with larger payloads. CubeSats have the same basic needs as any other space mission—things like communications, power, and attitude control—which makes them an ideal way for students to get real-world space mission experience.

“The LightSail 2 mission has done more than just demonstrate a new technology—it has provided valuable training opportunities,” said Planetary Society Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Vaughn. “We’re excited that our spacecraft is helping to prepare a new generation of scientists and engineers for future missions.”

“The student members of the LightSail 2 flight team play a critical role in mission operations,” said David Spencer, LightSail 2 project manager. “They do a lot of the heavy lifting of day-to-day operations, and perform key analyses that we rely upon to understand the mission performance.”

LightSail-2 Deployment
Deployment of the LightSail-2 32-square-meter sail. Credits: Planetary Society

** Students in CubeSat program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to assist the USAF in monitoring orbital objects:  Cal Poly is the first university to assist the Air Force in monitoring objects orbiting earth – Mustang News

Cal Poly students will now be helping the United States Strategic Command track more than 23,000 small objects orbiting Earth in the first university partnership of its kind.

“This first-of-its-kind partnership will allow current and future Cal Poly students to gain hands-on experience working with our four CubeSats currently in orbit and how they affect, and are affected by, other satellites in orbit,” President Jeffrey Armstrong said in the news release.

Cal Poly has a long history of working with Vandenberg Air Force Base. In the late 1990s, emeritus aerospace engineering professor Jordi Puig-Suari teamed with Stanford professor Bob Twiggs to develop the CubeSat standard — a small satellite that could ride aboard government and commercial space launches, according to the news release.

In the past two decades, hundreds of CubeSats have been launched. The Cal Poly CubeSat Laboratory is currently preparing its 12th CubeSat to launch in the next few months, Bellardo said.

** Lebanese CubeSat program to involve university teams: Lebanon Aims to Launch Nano-satellite Into Space by 2022 | Al Bawaba

“The EU is helping us with training and capacity building, by sending experts to train our local teams. There are 12 Lebanese universities participating; all have faculties of engineering or science. We have 42 of their brightest students taking part in eight teams, each led by their professor,” Abdallah said.

He said it was still early days and the teams were still developing their skills, but added that as a result of the initiative, the EU had renewed the TAF program for Lebanon and sent experts to train the local teams.

“The latest team to arrive was from the U.S. – two senior trainers, retired members of the Air Force labs and NASA, who delivered 12 days of training, eight hours a day, on how to manage a space program,” Abdallah said. “We haven’t been sitting around idle; we have already implemented a ground station in Mansourieh that can communicate with any nanosatellites in orbit,” he added. Expert training teams are also expected from Turkey, Spain and Italy.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-293 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 2019 AMSAT Symposium Underway! Livestream Available
  • AMSAT Board of Directors Announces 2019 Officers
  • AMSAT-UK Colloquium Videos Available
  • Cubesat Simulators Launched
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.7.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

**  University of Tokyo’s AQT-D: AQUA Thruster-Demonstrator was delivered to the ISS in the HTV-8 cargo module launched by a H-IIB rocket on Sept.24th. The student built CubeSat will be deployed from the station later this year. The goal is to demonstrate the AQUARIUS (AQUA ResIstojet propUlsion System)  water micro-propulsion system, which is suitable for smallsats.

AQT-D AQUA Thruster DemonstratorFind more about AQUA and other water based propulsion systems in Water propulsion technologies picking up steam –

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-279 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AO-7 to Enter Full Illumination Period October 9, 2019
  • 2019 AMSAT Symposium On-line Registration Open Until October 11
  • New ARISS Proposal Window is October 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for September 2019
  • Amateur Radio Gets Temporary Use of 2400 MHz in Spain
  • AMSAT-SA to Fly Cubesat Transponders on Balloon Flight
  • SSTV Event Planned for ARISS on October 9, 2019
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS Activities & Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


Introduction to CubeSat Technology and Subsystem:
Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – June.2.2019

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs:

[ Update: A satellite developed by China’s AMSAT group and the Beijing Institute of Technology ( BIT ) is set to launch this month on a Chinese commercial rocket:

From ARRL:

… the CAS-7B satellite, also designated as BP-1B, a short-lived spacecraft that will carry an Amateur Radio payload. An unusual feature of the spacecraft is its “sail ball” passive stabilization system. The 1.5-U CubeSat is attached to a 500-millimeter flexible film ball — or sail — that will offer passive “pneumatic resistance” stabilization. CAS-7B is expected to remain in orbit for up to 1 month.

The spacecraft will carry an Amateur Radio transponder and educational mission. CAMSAT is working with Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), a top aerospace school, which is providing launch support in launch of the satellite. BIT faculty and students are participating in the development and testing of the satellite, and, with CAMSAT’s help, the university has established an Amateur Radio club (call sign BI1LG). CAMSAT said many students are now members, “learning Amateur Radio satellite communication and experience[ing] endless fun.”

The CAMSAT BP-1B/CAS-7B cubesat duringa thermal vacuum test with the “sail ball” deployed.


**  Dubai university ground station to allow students to communicate with, monitor and control SmallSats in orbit: Amity University in Dubai opens satellite ground station on campus – SatellitePro ME

The next phase of this project involves the construction of a 4U (40 cm3) CubeSat in accordance with the UAE’s Environment Vision 2030.

Amity University, Dubai has launched a satellite ground station on their campus, which will allow students to track satellites, predict weather patterns and pollution levels, as reported by Khaleej Times.

The station at Amity University is aimed at garnering the participation of students studying aerospace, electrical, electronics, computer science or nanotechnology engineering.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr Vajhat Hussain, CEO of Amity University Dubai, as quoted by the English daily, said: “The main goal of the ground station is to give students the opportunity to perform the following operations – telemetry data visualisation and storage, antenna control and positioning system, radio communication using very high frequency (VHF) and satellite data analysis. Through this initiative, students will not only learn how to read and analyse such data but also get the support they need for research projects.”

** California high school offers CubeSat program for students: Lab launches engineering students’ lofty dreams | Simi Valley Acorn

Creating satellites to explore space is no longer just for adults.

At Grace Brethren High School, a group of about 20 students have made it their mission to launch a small satellite into orbit by 2020.

Known as CubeSat, the device contains a payload that can be monitored from the ground and is equipped with small yet strong LED lights that will send satellite-operating information to the mission operations center at the Grace Brethren Space Lab, said Annabelle Hynes, an 18-year-old graduate who worked on the project.

“Being the only girl involved in the spacecraft class and working on CubeSat has been an interesting experience, and we’ve gotten to do a lot of really exciting, hands-on things with this project,” Annabelle said.

“We’re still figuring out the basics, but . . . the plan is to track the satellite from the school and communicate with it. It will be open to other organizations so they can use the data we collect.”

** University College Dublin student team building EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite: Celtic New Space: Scotland’s Clyde Space To Provide CubeSat Platform For Ireland’s EIRSAT-1 – SpaceWatch.Global

EIRSAT-1 will be fully designed, assembled, tested and operated in Ireland by staff and students at UCD. This is primarily a technology demonstration and science mission with three payloads, a gamma-ray detector, a materials science experiment and a novel spacecraft control algorithm. It will also demonstrate a low-profile UHF/VHF Antenna Deployment Mechanism. Clyde Space are providing UCD with its full set of CubeSat avionics, including a flight proven onboard computer, an attitude determination and control system and its high-performance power system products.

** Australian university team develops antenna for system to allow continuous ground contact with SmallSats in low earth orbit: New antenna system enables 24/7 connectivity to space – The Lighthouse/Macquarie University

Led by Professor Karu Esselle of the School of Engineering, the team has developed an antenna system with a steerable beam which will enable scientific data downloading from spacecrafts to labs on earth 24 hours a day.

As the first move towards rapidly growing space systems, the low-profile antenna system was designed for US company Audacy who launched the world’s first entirely Ka-band CubeSat (a type of miniaturised satellite that can be used for a variety of space applications including earth imaging, astronomy, science experiments, climate monitoring and surveillance) called Audacy Zero into space via a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket in December 2018.

Audacy, a company spun off Stanford University and based in California, is developing the world’s first commercial inter-satellite data relay network. Audacy Zero was the first iteration of a radio that will enable Audacy customers’ spacecraft to connect to this network.

“Data from your CubeSat will travel through the relay system down to earth to the internet and cloud,” explains Prof Esselle.

“Without such a space relay network, a CubeSat can be seen from a fixed ground station only for a few minutes per day and that is often not enough to download all the data collected by the CubeSat.

See also:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-153 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Dollar-for-Dollar Match on your ARISS Donation Thru June 17, 2019
  • Call for Nominations – AMSAT Board of Directors
  • AMSAT Field Day on the Satellites
  • Lightsail-2 Scheduled for Launch June 22 – Beacon on 437.025 MHz
  • AMSAT-EA FossaSat-1 Receives IARU Coordination
  • QO-100 meets HAM RADIO 2019 in Friedrichshafen
  • ARISS SSTV Planned Over Russia for Moscow Aviation Institute
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Send Your Name (and callsign) to Mars
  • RS-10 Downlink Provides Unique Troubleshooting Solution
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


The Case for Space:
How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up
a Future of Limitless Possibility