Category Archives: Space Radio

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

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – April.1.2019

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

** Yale student team to build BLAST CubeSat with cosmic ray detector. The NASA sponsored spacecraft will launch in 2020: Student-built satellite to launch into space – Yale Daily News

On March 14, a group of Yale students learned some stellar news — NASA selected their satellite to be launched into space. The announcement marks the first time a Yale undergraduate group will launch a spacecraft.

The team — which consists of members of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association — received the launch grant through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative competition. Over the course of four years, students designed a satellite called BLAST, which stands for Bouchet Low-Earth Alpha/Beta Space Telescope.

See also:

** CubeSat SeaHawk-1 with an ocean color instrument was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in December. The SeaHawk team has released the first images from the spacecraft: SeaHawk-1 CubeSat Captures First Ocean Color Image –

This first SeaHawk-1 engineering test image (pictured above) was captured by the HawkEye instrument on March 21st, 2019 at 18:47 UT from an altitude of 588 km and superimposed on Google Map data © 2019 Google, INEGI. At the current altitude that SeaHawk is flying, the pixel resolution of the HawkEye instrument is approximately 130 meters (425 feet) giving us an image size of approximately 6000 lines along track (780 km or 485 mi) x 1800 pixels across track (234 km or 145 mi). The true color full resolution closeup of the region from south of Monterey Bay to north of San Francisco (presented below) was produced by combining three of the Hawkeye bands (red band-6 (670nm), green band-5 (555nm) and blue band-2 (443nm).

The project is led by the SOCON (Sustained Ocean Color Observations using Nanosatellites) team at Univ. of North Carolina at Wilmington and also includes NASA, AAC Clyde Space, and Cloudland Instruments. The project was funded with grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

SeaHawk-1 is a 3U CubeSat (size 30x10x10cm and weight 5kg) designed and built by AAC Clyde Space and launched in December 2018 aboard SpaceX Falcon 9. SeaHawk-1 CubeSat was one of the 64 satellites included in the Spaceflight SSO-A Small Sat Express: their first dedicated ride-share mission for small satellites.

SeaHawk-1 is also the first 3U CubeSat specifically designed to carry an ocean color instrument payload (HawkEye). The goal of this proof-of-concept mission is to provide free high-spatial resolution images of Earth’s coastal regions. HawkEye, designed by Cloudland Instruments, is an 8-band multispectral instrument similar to SeaWiFS (one of the most successful ocean color missions to date).

It differs in that: it was miniaturized (10x10x10cm) to fit inside the CubeSat, band 7 was modified to improve atmospheric correction, all bands were designed not to saturate over land, and the entire sensor was built with low-cost, off-the-shelf materials.

** University of Toronto students fund and build CubeSat for space biology experiment: Lofty goals: UTAT gears up for milestone competitions – U of T Engineering News

The Space Systems Division is preparing to launch the first fully student-funded Canadian satellite into orbit. The small satellite, or cubesat — about the size of a loaf of bread — will carry a biological payload and will analyze the behavior of bacteria in space with the aim of assessing the risk of infections during a long-term space mission.

The team has a busy summer ahead: they’ll be testing the accuracy of the sensors on the cubesat, running hundreds of hours of electronics tests and conducting thermal tests to ensure their satellite’s components can withstand the extreme temperatures it will experience in orbit, between -40 and 80 degrees C.

The cubesat is scheduled to launch on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in January 2020.

“Cassandra Chanen (Year 2 EngSci) shows off the Heron MK II, a cubesat that will take a microbiology payload to space. (Credit: Erica Rae Chong)”

** More about the Hampton University students developing CubeSat software in a project sponsored by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium:

Hampton University is part of a collaborative project of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium where students from three Virginia universities delivered small satellites to NanoRacks in Houston, to be integrated into a CubeSat deployer (NRCSD), which will be launched into space on April 17, 2019. Four undergraduate Hampton University students worked on the project by developing software to perform analysis on the data that will be received from the satellites.

“Hampton University has always been on the forefront of innovation. The work our students are doing is being recognized and utilized by industry leaders, and we are excited to be part of this collaboration,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

The satellites will communicate data to ground stations at Virginia Tech, University of Virginia and Old Dominion University for subsequent analysis using an analytical tool being developed by Hampton University students from the Atmospheric and Planetary Science Department.

More than 140 undergraduate students have been hard at work on the mission since June 2016 as a cross-institutional team. Undergraduate student leaders and team members from physics, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and computer science disciplines have worked together to make the mission a reality. The students have been coached by faculty advisors and have benefitted greatly from advice from NASA, industry and academic advisors, and NanoRacks, the world’s leading commercial space station company.

“Asanji Chofor at the CubeSat build AGILE workshop.”

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-090 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • SSTV Transmissions from ISS Set for April 1-2, 2019
  • AO73/FUNcube-1 Mode Changes
  • AMSAT Academy to be Held Prior to Hamvention Thursday, May 16, 2019
  • ARISS Out-of-this-Word Auction Starts April 8, 2018
  • International Space Station Astronauts are Calling CQ Students
  • India Space Research Organization to Launch EMISAT With 28 Satellites on April 1, 2019
  • AMSAT India Requests APRS Reports
  • GRCon19 to be Held September 16-20, 2019
  • This Month in AMSAT History
  • AmazonSmile for AMSAT!
  • Microwave Update Conference October 3-5, 2019 in Lewisville, TX
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Mar.25.2019

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

** Arizona student team to build CubeSat with inflatable antenna for NASA program:  UA Student-led CatSat Mission Selected by NASA | UANews

An inflatable space antenna designed by University of Arizona students is one of 16 small research satellites from 10 states NASA has selected to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The selections are part of the 10th round of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.

CatSat is a 6U CubeSat led by UA students from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and various departments including aerospace and mechanical engineeringastronomycomputer science, and systems and industrial engineering.

CatSat is the size of a large cereal box. When fully deployed, the inflatable expands in a bubble gum fashion, forming a sphere three feet across that sticks out from one side of the box. An aluminized spot inside the inflated sphere is used as the communication antenna to beam data back to the Earth. Since Catsat will be in low Earth orbit, the data can be downloaded using a ground station located at the UA.

CatSat is mainly a technology demonstration mission to mature this inflatable concept in Earth orbit. The ultimate goal is to fly such an antenna on an interplanetary mission that Reddy wants to lead to explore small bodies in the solar system.

** Hampton Univ. student team developing improve software for Cubesats: Hampton University students developing analysis software for satellites |

College students from all around Virginia, including in Hampton, are working on a major project that will analyze data of tiny satellites sent into space.

Four undergrad students from Hampton University are working with students from three other state universities to deliver small satellites to NanoRacks in Houston, Texas to be integrated into a CubeSat deployer (NRCSD).

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-083 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Activities at Hamvention 2019
  • NASA on the Air
  • Satellite Operating Demonstrations Planned for Tucson Hamfest
  • Three more 50th Anniversary Certificates Earned
  • “Getting Started” Guide CLoseout
  • Canadian Artist To Use HAARP To Transmit SSTV
  • ESEO Satellite Commissioning Starts
  • FoxTelem Version 1.07 Released
  • Sally Ride EarthKAM @ Space Camp’s 66th Mission Is Open For Registration
  • K6FW Gets 488 Grids
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


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New enhancements to low-cost GOES weather satellite station for amateurs

I’ve posted a couple of times about the  HRIT and LRIT Low-Cost System for capturing weather satellite images:

A reader who keeps me up-to-date on the project says the system now includes

“improved color images and the addition of IR enhancements showing storm intensity for Band 13 images as well as IR color enhancements for Band 8 images.”

Check out the images and updates here.

Image from GOES 16 satellite on Feb.17, 2019.


Enhanced image from GOES 16 taken on Feb.18.2019


GOES 16 enhanced image taken on Feb.18.2019


Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past