Category Archives: Space Systems

Videos: “Space to Ground” + Other ISS reports – Jan.16.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Expedition 64 Inflight with Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Josh Dobbs – January 15, 2021

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover of NASA discussed life and work aboard the complex with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs during an in-flight event Jan. 15. Dobbs, who majored in aeronautical engineering at the University of Tennessee, and Glover answered questions provided by Pittsburgh-area students involved in local STEM activities. Glover, who arrived at the station in November aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience”, is in the midst of a six-month mission on the complex.

** Top 20 Earth Images of 2020NASA Johnson

The men and women who live and work on the International Space Station take thousands of photographs of their home planet every year, and we asked the folks at the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for a few of their favorites from 2020. Here are the top 20 from ’20, and you can check out the images for yourself at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth(https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/):

** International Space Station NASA View With Map – 1505 – 2021-01-14Julian Danzer – YouTube

** SpaceX CRS-21 Dragon undocking and departure

The SpaceX Dragon CRS-21 cargo spacecraft autonomously undocked from the International Space Station, on 12 January 2021, 14:05 UTC (09:05 EST). The CRS-21 Dragon is loaded with about 2360 kg of scientific experiments and other cargo; and is expected to make its parachute-assisted splashdown around 01:14 UTC, on 13 January 2021 (12 January, 20:14 EST). The audio commentary is provided by NASA’s Public Affairs Officer Shaneequa Vereen. Credit: NASA/SpaceX

** Expedition 64 Inflight with CNBC – January 15, 2021NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Mike Hopkins of NASA discussed life and work aboard the orbital outpost during an in-flight event Jan. 15 with CNBC’s Shepard Smith. Rubins, who arrived on the station last October on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and Hopkins, who few to the station last November on the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience”, are in the midst of their respective six-month missions on the complex.

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.14.2021

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

** Ten university student-built CubeSats on Virgin Orbit‘s upcoming LauncherOne flight. Several of the projects are described below. This Virgin Orbit PR includes the manifest: Announcing the Window for Launch Demo 2 | Virgin Orbit – Includes manifest

9 CubeSat missions comprising 10 total spacecraft are set to fly on LauncherOne during Launch Demo 2, which will also mark the 20th mission in NASA’s Educational Launch of NanoSatellites (ELaNa XX) series. NASA is using small satellites, including CubeSats, to advance exploration, demonstrate emerging technologies, and conduct scientific research and educational investigations. Nearly each payload on this flight was fully designed and built by universities across the US.

See also

** Cal Poly’s ExoCube-2 on LauncherOne. The 3U CubeSat built by students carries a

… spectrometer as its payload, made to analyze particle densities in the exosphere which can, in turn, show how geomagnetic storms affect the atmosphere. This data is then used to improve atmospheric models.

ExoCube-2 at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Credits: Cal Poly

More at:

** Over 250 students at Univ. of Michigan participated in the building of the  MiTEE-1  (Miniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment-1). The CubeSat is on LauncherOne. Pioneering a way to keep very small satellites in orbit | University of Michigan News

The team is studying the idea of tethering two cell phone-sized small satellites with a wire 10 to 30 meters long that is able to drive current in either direction using power from solar panels and closing the electrical circuit through the Earth’s ionosphere. When a wire conducts a current in a magnetic field, that magnetic field exerts a force on the wire. The team plans to use the force from the Earth’s magnetic field to climb higher in orbit, compensating for the drag of the atmosphere.

The first experiments to test the idea will be on a CubeSat satellite called MiTEE-1: The Miniature Tether Electrodynamics Experiment-1. The version being launched was designed and built by more than 250 students, over a course of six years. They were mentored by engineers and technicians of the U-M Space Physics Research Laboratory. The version launching now will have a deployable rigid boom, one meter long, between one satellite the size of a bread box and another the size of a large smartphone. It will measure how much current can be drawn from the ionosphere under different conditions.

** Brigham Young University students built the two Passive Inspection CubeSats (PICs) that will demonstrate in-space smallsat inspection operations after reaching space on Virgin Orbit LauncherOne flight. BYU students launch an idea into space with help from NASA – The Daily Universe

The Passive Inspection CubeSat is a 10 cm cube with cell phone-like cameras on all six faces. After the vehicle launches and reaches space, the two CubeSats are deployed in a Pez-dispenser fashion. Each CubeSat then immediately starts taking pictures of the spacecraft, the other CubeSat, earth and anything else near the satellite. Because there are cameras on each face of the cube, the data will provide a virtual environment, as if those viewing it are in space themselves.

** MIR-SAT1 (Mauritius Imagery and Radio – Satellite 1) to be first Mauritius satellite: 2020 in Review – Mauritius Space Program – Space in Africa

Mauritius was the winner of the 3rd round UNOOSA/JAXA KiboCube Programme in 2018 whereby Mauritius was awarded (by JAXA) the opportunity to build and deploy, for the first time in its history, a 1U Cube Satellite through the International Space Station (ISS). The MIR-SAT1 will be sent by JAXA to the International Space Station (ISS) and deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) “KiboCUBE”.

The first 1U Mauritian nanosatellite, MIR-SAT1 (Mauritius Imagery and Radio – Satellite 1) was designed by a team of Mauritian Engineers and an experienced Radio Amateur from the Mauritius Amateur Radio Society in collaboration with experts from AAC-Clyde Space UK.

The testing and building of the satellite (MIR-SAT1) was carried out by the MRIC’s collaborating partner, AAC-ClydeSpace in Glasgow and was completed in November 2020. JAXA started the 3rd Safety Assessment review, which will ensure that the cubesat is compliant with all the requirements of KiboCube Program. Further to the successful completion of this review, the MIR-SAT1 will be shipped to JAXA from Glasgow. It is expected that the Satellite will be at JAXA in January 2021. JAXA will then launch the satellite to the ISS via the launcher SpaceX-22 and eventually deploy it space by May/June 2021. The MRIC will be the operator of the satellite, and a state-of-the-art ground control station is currently being set up for this purpose.

See also Mauritius to Launch its First CubeSat in 2021 – ARRL.

**  Students at Univ. of Georgia built CubeSat Spectral Ocean Color (SPOC), recently deployed from the International Space Station. University of Georgia Students Launch CubeSat with NASA | NASA

Students and faculty from the University of Georgia, Athens, were thrilled to see their hard work on the CubeSat Spectral Ocean Color (SPOC) pay off when it deployed from the International Space Station recently.

SPOC, developed through the NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project, launched to the space station aboard a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket October 2, 2020, from Wallops along with nearly 8,000 pounds of cargo and science investigations. The goal of SPOC is to monitor the health of coastal ecosystem from space. The cubesat, about the size of a loaf of bread, includes an advanced optic system that can zoom in on coastal areas to detect chemical composition and physical characteristics on ocean and wetland surfaces.

** Brown University’s student-built EQUiSat, launched in 2018, reentered last December: 14,000 loops around the Earth later, Brown student satellite ends its mission | Brown University

The satellite was originally expected to stay in orbit for a maximum of two years, but a particularly mild solar cycle kept it aloft a bit longer. Rick Fleeter, an adjunct professor of engineering who is adviser to BSE, says the fact that EQUiSat’s systems kept functioning for its entire flight is a tribute to the students who designed, built and operated it.

“EQUiSat is just an assembly of parts — the success and the learning were accomplished by the ingenuity, hard work and dedication of a diverse team of Brown students past and present,” Fleeter said. “That’s what I will remember about it — the great satisfaction of having been a part of their team.”

To keep its systems running, the satellite’s custom-made solar array powered a set of LiFePO batteries, which were part of its mission objective. This type of battery had never flown in space before, so NASA was interested to see how they’d perform in an environment that goes from -250 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade to 250 degrees in the sun. Those batteries, along with the rest of the EQUiSat’s systems, performed about as well as anyone could have expected.

See also this earlier report on the project: After 7 years of work, Brown’s student satellite is cleared for NASA launch | Brown University – Mar.15.2018

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects:

ANS-003 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Jan. 3 – ANS – mailman.amsat.org:

  • 2021 Promises To Be A “Big” Year in Space
  • Changes to AMSAT News Service Bulletins Distribution
  • New AMSAT Contact Information
  • FO-29 operation schedule for Jan. – Feb. 2021
  • AMSAT Awards Update
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for January 1, 2021
  • New Mail System Archives Changes
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for December 31, 2020
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

ANS-0103 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Jan. 10, 2021 – ANS:

  • Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne Launch Demo 2 is go for launch
  • Cargo Dragon to Return to Earth from ISS
  • Portable QO-100 station activated on Antarctic cruise
  • AMSAT-SM releases a satellite memory set for the ICOM IC-705
  • AMSAT Ambassador Activities
  • AMSAT – Changes in Orbital Elements
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

** General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** CubeSat: Little Satellite, Big Deal : Short Wave – NPR

** History of the Wolverine CubeSat Team – Simmons COSPAR-K 2021 (Sydney, Australia)

** Understanding Radio Communications – Lecture 11: Receiving a satellite – Tutorial for teacher

This is the last in a series of 6 videos designed to accompany the “Understanding Radio Communications – using SDRs” teaching materials. It supports the lecture/lab work presented in lecture 11 of the 11 one hour sessions (Receiving a satellite) You can find out more and register to download the materials free of charge at this link: https://sdrplay.com/understandingradio

** Getting Started with Amateur Radio Satellites – Tom Schuessler N5HYP

** Q&A – Getting Started with Amateur Radio Satellites – Tom Schuessler N5HYP

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Videos: “Space to Ground” + Other ISS reports – Jan.9.2021

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Down to Earth: The Astronaut’s Perspective – NASA

Ever wonder what it’s like to see our planet from space? NASA’s astronauts will take you on a journey to the International Space Station, exploring the life-changing experience of an orbital perspective. View Earth as you’ve never seen it before: through the eyes of an astronaut.

** Expedition 64 Cygnus 14 Release – January 6, 2021NASA Video

After a cargo delivery run lasting three months at the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s unpiloted Cygnus spacecraft was released from the Canadarm2 robotic arm Jan. 6 to begin a three-week free-flight in support of additional scientific objectives. Ground controllers sent commands to the robotic arm to enable Cygnus – named the SS Kaplana Chawla after the NASA astronaut who lost her life in the 2003 Columbia accident – to begin its journey away from the complex after it brought several tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the orbital outpost. Northrop Grumman flight controllers will monitor Cygnus’ flight for the next few weeks until it deorbits late this month to burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

** Chasing SSTV signals from the International Space Stationicholakov

International Space Station beaming SSTV radio signals last week of December 2020. Using Software Defined Radio (SDR) to capture these ISS transmissions

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Videos: “Space to Ground” + Other ISS reports – Dec.19.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** ISS 20th Anniversary Panel: Trailblazing International Partnerships – NASA

The International Space Station is one of the most ambitious international collaborations ever attempted, and is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that provides humanity a one-of-a-kind proving ground for Artemis as we go forward to the Moon and on to Mars. International collaboration in space exploration serves as an unparalleled and inspiring example of what humanity can do when it comes together to achieve a common goal for the common good. NASA’s partnerships with the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos aboard the space station have led to an unprecedented continuous human presence in space for nearly 20 years. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station, listen as Space Foundation Board Member Jeanne Meserve sits down the International Space Station partner leaders as they discuss what it has taken to keep this global partnership successful. Joining the conversation is the International Space Station Partner Leadership consisting of Joel Montalbano of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Sergei Krikalev of Roscosmos, Luc Dubé of the Canadian Space Agency, Frank De Winne of the European Space Agency, and Junichi Sakai of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

** Cosmic Kiss: Matthias Maurer’s first mission to the International Space StationEuropean Space Agency, ESA

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer from Germany has been assigned his first mission to the International Space Station. He is expected to fly to the Space Station in the autumn of 2021. The mission is called Cosmic Kiss and Maurer will spend six months in orbit, carrying out vital science and operations on behalf of researchers and international partners worldwide.

** Oregon Charter Academy students spoke with astronaut on ISSKGW News

Students at Oregon Charter Academy spoke to an astronaut on the International Space Station and had ten minutes to ask their most pressing questions.

** International Space station DIY | Science models for Children | How to make ISSVaayusastra

** International space station Iss repeater Ham radioBen M1MLM

** Greenhouse in Antarctica Helping Astronauts on Long-Duration MissionsNASA’s Kennedy Space Center

A few intrepid researchers will begin an arduous journey to Antarctica on Dec. 20 to conduct plant cultivation investigations in an extremely remote region of the world at the German Neumayer III Station, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). One researcher heading to this desolate wilderness on the Ekstrom Ice Shelf is Jess Bunchek. The plant scientist from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will be a guest researcher at the German Neumayer III Station, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). Bunchek will spend about a year investigating plant cultivation in isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments in the EDEN ISS greenhouse, managed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Space Systems. These efforts complement NASA research on growing plants in the ultimate closed loop environment – space. For more than 20 years, a multinational partnership has allowed astronauts to live and work in a unique microgravity laboratory aboard the International Space Station. Research conducted at the EDEN ISS greenhouse on this mission could benefit people on Earth and astronauts on future missions to the Moon and Mars.

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Videos: “Space to Ground” + Other ISS reports – Dec.11.2020

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Expedition 64 SpaceX Corporate Event – December 4, 2020 – NASA

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 64 crewmembers Michael Hopkins and Shannon Walker of NASA discussed their flight to the complex last month on the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience” and the progress of their mission during a question-and-answer session Dec. 4 with SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. Hopkins and Walker rode “Resilience” to orbit atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida along with Crew Dragon crewmates Victor Glover of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and docked to the complex the next day for the start of a planned six-month mission.

** Expedition 64 Education In flight Nettleton STEAM – December 10, 2020 – NASA

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 64 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker of NASA discussed life and research aboard the orbital complex during an in-flight education event Dec. 10 with students from Jonesboro, Arkansas who provided their questions in advance to maintain proper social distancing. Rubins arrived at the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in October, followed a month later by Walker, who flew to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience”. The event also featured introductory remarks from former President Bill Clinton and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

** CRS-21 #NASASocial Science and Station Q&A – NASA KSC

[On Dec. 4th] a live #NASASocial show about the 21st resupply mission launching to the International Space Station this weekend! Representatives from NASA’s ISS Program Research Office, Nanoracks and The Effect of Microgravity on Human Brain Organoids experiment will be joining us to talk about the science going up on this mission, how the orbiting laboratory is continuously evolving and more about how the station is now welcoming commercial partners such as the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

** Watch SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon approach space station in stunning time-lapse – Space.com

SpaceX’s upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft captured footage of its approach to the International Space Station on Dec. 7, 2020. — SpaceX’s 1st upgraded Dragon cargo ship docks itself at space station with science, goodies and new airlock: https://www.space.com/spacex-cargo-dr…

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