Category Archives: Amateur/Student Satellite

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – June.9.2019

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

** Crowd-funding chip-sats released into orbit on second try: Inexpensive chip-size satellites orbit Earth | Stanford News

A swarm of 105 tiny satellites the size of computer chips, costing under $100 each, recently launched into Earth’s orbit. Stanford scientist Zac Manchester, who dreamed up the ChipSats, said they pave the way for cheaper and easier space exploration.

Each ChipSat is a circuit board slightly larger than a postage stamp. Built for under $100 apiece, each ChipSat uses solar cells to power its essential systems: the radio, microcontroller and sensors that enable each device to locate and communicate with its peers. In the future, ChipSats could contain electronics tailored to specific missions, Manchester said. For instance, they could be used to study weather patterns, animal migrations or other terrestrial phenomena. Spacefaring applications might include mapping the surface features or internal composition of asteroids or moons orbiting other planets.

In 2009, while studying with Cornell professor Mason Peck, Manchester envisioned how to engineer the electronic essence of a satellite into a device even cheaper and easier to build than a CubeSat. In 2011, he crowdfunded his project by putting it on, quickly raising about $75,000 from 315 contributors, and what he initially called the KickSat project was born. “I want to make it easy and affordable enough for anyone to explore space” is how Manchester put it at the time.

Prof. Zac Manchester sent a swarm of postage-stamp sized satellites into orbit. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

The first attempt in 2014 failed when the CubeSat containing the ChipSats did not open before de-orbiting. The re-designed KickSat-2 was attached along with other smallsats to a Northrop-Grumman Cygnus cargo vehicle launched to the ISS last November.  After the Cygnus departed from the ISS, the small satellites were deployed into orbit. Then on March 18th, the 105 ChipSats were released from their CubeSat mothership.

That moment finally came, when the deployment commands were transmitted from the 60-foot dish behind the Stanford campus. Another anxious day passed before Manchester learned that the sensitive dish antenna had detected the faint signals from the ChipSats, which meant they were operational. Manchester worked with collaborators around the world to track the ChipSats as they transmitted data until reentering the atmosphere and burning up on March 21.

More about the project:

** HuskySat-1 is a student project at the University of Washington. The CubeSat is booked for launch aboard a Cygnus cargo vehicle (NG-12) on an Antares rocket that is currently set to lift off from Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia on October 19, 2019.

The Husky Satellite Lab  is a student-run aerospace research club working on establishing a space presence for the University of Washington. We are currently working on our first mission, HuskySat-1. The HS1 is currently undergoing flight model integration testing.

Our Mission is to foster interdisciplinary student participation in space systems research, to inspire and train future space scientists and engineers, and to advance spacecraft capabilities at the University of Washington.

Our Team is composed primarily of UW undergraduate and graduate students, as well as mentors from the local aerospace industry. Our lead principal investigator is Professor Robert Winglee.

“Almost all of HuskySat-1 is being developed at the UW. The satellite is broken up into different subsystems. Each component is designed to be modular so that they can be most easily developed independently from each other and reused for future missions.” – Husky Satellite Lab

** More about the Chinese amateur radio satellite mentioned here last week: CAS-7B (BP-1B) amateur radio satellite now ready for launch | Southgate Amateur Radio News

CAS-7B (BP-1B) satellite
Testing of the CAS-7B (BP-1B) satellite built by CAMSAT (Chinese Amateur Satellite Group).

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-160 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Field Day on the Satellites
  • Final Call for Nominations – AMSAT Board of Directors
  • AMSAT President Awarded Russian E.T. Krenkel Medal
  • 37th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium, October 18-20, 2019
  • Dollar-for-Dollar Match on your ARISS Donation Thru June 17, 2019
  • AO-85 Back in Operation
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for June 2019
  • 2019 Edition of Getting Started with Amateur Satellites Available
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule
  • CAMSAT Announces Upcoming Launch of CAS-7B
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

See AMSAT (@AMSAT) | Twitter for more AMSAT news.

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 – 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 – May.26.2019

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

** RWASAT, Rwanda’s first satellite, is a CubeSat developed with the University of Tokyo and is set to launch in July.

RWASAT-1. Credits: Space in Africa
RWASAT. Credits: Space in Africa

** UAE MeznSat is a CubeSat in development by the UAE Space Agency, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK),. The 3U CubeSat will study the Earth’s atmosphere. The launch is expected at the end of 2019. Preliminary design for UAE’s MeznSat 3U CubeSat under review – SatellitePro ME

… AURAK students are designing and building the satellite to collect and analyse data about carbon dioxide and methane levels in the atmosphere above the UAE. The students are utilising Masdar Institute’s facilities during the satellites design and construction.

MeznSat is to be launched in late 2019 from a site in Japan, in coordination with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Once in orbit, the satellite will use a visible camera as well as a shortwave infrared spectrometer to measure the abundance and distribution of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A team of students will monitor, process, and analyze the data sent from the satellite at a ground station in the UAE.

More at MeznSat: A CubeSat for Greenhouse GasesMonitoring and Algal Blooms prediction, Abdul-Halim Jallad et al, SmallSat Conference 2018 (pdf)

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-146 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Dollar-for-Dollar Match on your ARISS Donation Thru June 17, 2019
  • Keith Pugh, W5IU SK
  • AMSAT Journal Call for Photos
  • ANS Asks For Stories About Your Hamvention-AMSAT Experience
  • AMSAT Payload on ESEO Activated
  • ARISS/SAREX Teacher wins AIAA Achievement Award
  • Call for Nominations – AMSAT Board of Directors
  • AMSAT Golf Fundraising is Underway!
  • ESEO Mission Hampered by Anomaly
  • ARRL Updates TQSL Data for New Satellites
  • ARISS Hamvention Forum Slides Available for Download
  • ARISS SSTV Planned Over Russia for Moscow Aviation Institute
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • 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

The Space Show this week – May.20.2019

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, May 20, 2019; 2-3:30 pm PDT (4-5:30 pm CDT, 5-6:30 pm EDT): No show for today. Monday is for special and timely programs only.

2. Tuesday, May 21, 2019; 7-8:30 pm PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT, 10-11:30 pm EDT): We welcome back Dr. Philip Metzger on a variety of exciting space topics. Metzger is a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida. When he was at NASA he co-founded the KSC Swamp Works laboratory that develops technologies to use resources found in space.

3. Wednesday, May 22 2019: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, May 24, 2019; 9:30-11 am PDT (11:30 am-1 pm CDT, 12:30-2 pm EDT): We welcome back Dr. Gilbert Levin and for the first time Dr. Patricia Ann Straat regarding Pat’s new book, To Mars With Love.

5. Sunday, May 26, 2019; 12-1:30 pm PDT (3-4:30 pm EDT, 2-3:30 pm CDT): No show today due to the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend.

Some recent shows:

** Sun, 05/19/2019Emily Carney talked about Space Hipsters, which she co-founded, “and lots more regarding space programs, education, outreach, policy, and getting young women interested in space”.

** Fri, 05/17/2019Dr. Linda Spilker spoke about the latest findings from the Cassini Mission data, “new information on Saturn’s ring system, Titan, Enceladus, liquid methane oceans, life, NASA missions and more”.

** Tue, 05/14/2019: Dr. Robert Zubrin talked about his new book, The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility and about “the Gateway, lunar return, Mars, policy, China, Pell Grant funding and more”.

** Mon, 05/13/2019John Jossy, Kim Holder, and Rick Kwan reported on the innovative and cutting edge NewSpace technologies presented and discussed at Space Access 2019. This includes the exciting innovation going on in the commercial space entrepreneurial community.

See also:
* The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
* The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
* The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

The Space Show - David Livingston
The Space Show – David Livingston


Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – May.19.2019

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

** University of Hawaii to build cubesat with advanced earth observation imager: Mānoa: UH satellite selected for NASA’s CubeSat space missions | University of Hawaii News

Schematic of the HyTI nanosatellite. Credit: HyTI, UH Mānoa.
Schematic of the HyTI nanosatellite. Credit: HyTI, UH Mānoa.

A satellite designed and developed by researchers and engineers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is among 16 small research satellites from 10 states that NASA has selected to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in the next three years.

In August 2018, the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) received $3.9M from NASA in support of a two-year project to develop the Hyperspectral Thermal Imager (HyTI) CubeSat.

Currently, 12 UH Mānoa team members, nine of whom received degrees at UH Mānoa, are working to ready the HyTI for launch. Once in orbit, the satellite will scan Earth with specialized cameras and detectors that collect information about how much thermal radiation Earth’s surface and atmosphere emits at a variety of wavelengths. From this data, researchers will map irrigated and rain-fed cropland, and measure volcanic gases from space.

** Report on Planetary Society’s LightSail-2: A Last Visit With LightSail 2 at the Cubesat Developers Workshop | The Planetary Society

Mat Kaplan visits Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a last, clean room visit with LightSail 2, the Planetary Society’s solar sailing cubesat. While there, Mat also talked to attendees at the Cubesat Developers Workshop, including the creator of the tiny “Pocket Rocket” engine for small spacecraft. LightSail2 is now at the Air Force Research Lab for launch preparation, as we hear from Bruce Betts in this week’s What’s Up.

**  Women in Kyrgyzstan are fighting sexism by joining the space race | WIRED UK

The Kyrgyz Space Programme was started in March 2018 and has around ten full-time members who meet several times a week to study programming and physics, contact space experts and launch providers and practice soldering. Their aim is to construct and launch a small CubeSat satellite into space by 2021.

The Kyrgyz Space Programme’s members are aged between 17 to 25 and training is led by 19-year-old Alina Anisimova, who started teaching herself engineering skills by dismantling computers at the age of six and following online tutorials. “You can teach yourself anything you want, and you can be whoever you want,” says Anisimova, who started teaching herself English online three months ago.

Currently the Kyrgyz Space Programme is financed through a crowdfunding page aiming to raise around $150,000. Its goal is to build a CubeSat that can send and receive messages, include a camera and monitor the earth’s environment. They would like to launch their satellite from the ISS, as part of the payload of a rocket, and at this stage are still in talks with launch providers.

“The first satellite will be simple but in the future we hope to build more complex satellites and empower civil society and journalists with whatever satellites can offer them,” Iskender says. “As a long term expectation, we hope that our space programme will actually turn into something serious.”

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-139 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT Forum at Hamvention Well Attended
  • ARISS at Hamvention Shares Excitement of Space Exploration and Amateur Radio
  • ANS Asks For Stories About Your Hamvention-AMSAT Experience
  • ASTRO PI Student Programs Run on ISS
  • Call for Nominations – AMSAT Board of Directors
  • How to Support AMSAT
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


Archaeology from Space:
How the Future Shapes Our Past