Category Archives: Space Radio

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Dec.9.2020

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

** Two Brigham Young University student Cubesats set to go to orbit on Virgin Orbit LauncherOne flight this month: How BYU’s work with NASA will allow satellites to take selfies in space – Deseret News

For the last five years, students at the BYU College of Engineering have been dreaming up, designing and building two tiny satellites. And after a two-year delay in the launch of NASA’s ELaNa 20 mission, the cube-like modules are finally ready to head to space.

The “CubeSats” have cameras attached to each of their six sides and are designed to take photos of other satellites, giving NASA a cheap method of visually examining the exteriors of spacecraft.

“The idea is you carry up one of these sort of selfie cameras,” said David Long, an engineering professor at BYU, “and when you needed to get a picture of your spacecraft — it is very inexpensive; it’s disposable — you kind of toss it out the window, conceptually, you know, you just deploy it, and it takes pictures of your main spacecraft. And then it just drifts off into space.”

BYU Passive Inspection CubeSat. Credits: BYU PICS

See also:

** Dept. of Education’s CTE Mission: CubeSat competition announces selection of 5 finalists: U.S. Department of Education announces five finalists in national challenge

[On Dec.2], the U.S. Department of Education announced the five finalists in CTE Mission: CubeSat, a national challenge to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond. Finalists will each receive $5,000 and in-kind prizes that they may use to build CubeSat (cube satellite) prototypes in the second phase of the challenge.

Congratulations to the finalists:

    • Anderson Clark Magnet High School (La Crescenta, California) is studying whether local encampments are in high-risk wildfire areas, with the goal of helping the local fire department save lives of people without housing.
    • Freeport High School (Freeport, New York) is measuring Earth’s surface temperature to study the differences in heat absorption and retention between urban and rural areas.
    • Mooresville High School (Mooresville, North Carolina) is measuring the effect of their town’s population growth on air quality, land use, and temperature.
    • Opelika High School (Opelika, Alabama) is collaborating with Columbus High School and Northside High School (Columbus, Georgia). The team plans to collect performance data for a new type of core material used in NASA-grade fluxgate magnetometers, which are used to study Earth’s changing magnetic field.
    • Princeton High School (Princeton, New Jersey) is collaborating with Montgomery High School (Skillman, New Jersey). The team wants to optimize space missions by examining topics such as atmospheric pressure density or habitable planetary environments.

The finalists will now begin work on the second phase of the program:

During Phase 2, which runs from January to May 2021, the finalists will have access to expert mentorship and additional virtual resources as they build CubeSat prototypes and plan flight events to launch their prototypes. The Department understands that due to current conditions, schools will need flexibility to safely collaborate when building and launching prototypes.

The prizes include development kits and expert mentorship donated to the Department from Arduino, Blue Origin, Chevron, EnduroSat, LEGO Education, Magnitude.io, MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, and XinaBox.

** MIT DeMi testing deformable mirror for hi-res telescope applications: Mini-satellite maker – MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Inside the small probe, named DeMi, was a deformable mirror payload that Cahoy and her students designed, along with a miniature telescope and laser test source. DeMi’s mirror corrects the positioning of either the test laser or a star seen by the telescope. On future missions, these mirrors could be used to produce sharper images of distant stars and exoplanets. Showing the mirror can operate successfully in space is also proof that “nanosatellites” like DeMi can serve as nimble, affordable technology stepping-stones in the search for Earth-like planets beyond our solar system.

See also

** The Philippines’ first student-built CubeSat Maya-1 ends two year mission:

Maya-1, the country’s first cube satellite, has completed its mission and flew back to the Earth’s atmosphere after two years.

“Initially, the satellite was expected to stay in orbit for less than a year only, but it had stayed in orbit for about two years and four months,” said Adrian Salces, one of the Filipino graduate students who developed Maya-1, as it returned last Nov. 23.

Maya-1, along with Bhutan-1 of Bhutan and UiTMSAT-1 of Malaysia, are produced under the auspices of the second generation of the Joint Global Multi-Nation BIRDS Satellite Project or the  BIRDS-2 Project of the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan.

Maya-1, a 1U cube satellite (CubeSat) in Japan, was deployed through the Japanese Experimental Module Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) in the “Kibo” module – the same module used to deploy Diwata-1.

The CubeSat is under the Development of Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) program, a research program jointly implemented by the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST-ASTI) in partnership with Kyutech in Japan.

** Students at University of Louisiana at Lafayette built CAPE-3 CubeSat that will ride on Virgin Orbit LauncherOne flight this month. CAPE-3 will m: Eagles to Land First Student Project on Moon to Snap Selfie of Lunar Landing | Aviation Pros

Once the University’s CAPE-3 satellite arrives in space, a spring-loaded mechanism will eject it 225 miles above the Earth’s surface. The small satellite – about 10 centimeters square – will circle the globe about every 90 minutes at 17,000 miles per hour.

Along the way, the satellite will dredge the atmosphere for radiation levels with two instruments – a plastic prototype chip about the size of a pencil eraser and a small Geiger counter.

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

ANS-313 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin for Nov.19

  • Australian Space Communications Station To Feature Optical Data Transfer
  • WB4APR Seeking high power VHF stations for Leonids Meteor Shower
  • AMSAT Italia and Italian Space Agency ISS STEAM agreement
  • ORI sponsors the M17 VOCODER and hardware development
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for November ##, 2020
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over
  • Tips for the New Operator – Mobile Apps

ANS-327 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Nov. 22

  • SpaceX Dragon Capsule Ferries Four Radio Amateurs to the ISS
  • September/October Issue Of The AMSAT Journal Is Now Available
  • New Launch Date for EASAT-2 and Hades Satellites
  • Arecibo Observatory Faces Demolition After Cable Failures
  • DX Portable Operation Planned From Thailand Grid NK99
  • Human Error Blamed For Vega Launch Failure
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for November 19
  • Moscow Aviation Institute Plans SSTV Event from ISS
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

ANS-334 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Nov. 29

  • Happy 7th Birthday AMSAT-OSCAR 73 (FUNcube-1)
  • Neutron-1 Signals Received
  • GridMaster Awards #20-#25 Issued
  • Changes to the AMSAT TLE Distribution for November 26th
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-341 AMSAT New Service Weekly Bulletin for Dec. 6

  • Launch Window for AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2/Fox-1E Opens December 19, 2020
  • FoxTelem 1.09 Released
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for December 2020
  • FO-29 operation schedule for December 2020 and January 2021
  • IARU Coordinates Frequencies for Three Satellites in November
  • Orbital Mechanics for Dummies
  • Brandmeister DMR Network Announces Password Implementation
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Adler-1 cubesat – hunting for bullets in the dark – Austrian Space Forum (OeWF)

** Rhodes College Cubesat Project. November 6, 2020 Meeting of the Memphis Astronomical Society.

** Operating the AMSAT CubeSatSim

**

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Nov.12.2020

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

** Teachers In Space‘s Serenity educational CubeSat is ready to go to orbit on the first flight of the Firefly Alpha orbital rocket. The launch is currently planned ro  lift off later this year from Vandenberg AFB in California. Teachers in Space Launch Serenity Satellite – Teachers In Space, Inc.

Serenity will contain several experiments including Gloversville School Districts radiation experiment and Villanova University’s Blockchain technology experiment.

The satellite developed by Teachers in Space is a pioneer CubeSat (CubeSat.org), that will provide low cost opportunities to test educational experiments in space. Teachers in space has previously guided high schools and other academic institutions in developing and flying experiments sub-orbitally with high altitude balloons, stratospheric gliders and rockets. This will be the first orbital satellite mission for TIS.

The Serenity CubeSat. Credits: Teachers in Space

The Serenity satellite will be carrying a suite of data sensors and a camera that will be sending data back to Earth through the use of HAM radio signals. There will be several ground stations connecting with the satellite during its orbital period. These ground stations will be collecting data and pictures sent back down to Earth.

How to communicate with Serenity. The best option is to connect with a local HAM radio club. They may have the equipment already set up to track satellites. If they do not, they will be able to assist you in finding one that does.

More about the VIlianova blockchain networking experiment on the Serenity spacecraft: The First Ethereum Network-Blockchain Satellite From Villanova University Set For Orbit – SatNews

This experiment will prove that blockchain can allow two satellites to reliably complete data transactions without communicating with a ground station to supervise these inter-satellite exchanges. The satellite will remain in LEO for approximately 30 days and controlled blockchain experiments will take place during the first 15 days the satellite is on-orbit.

Professor Sudler noted that the blockchain provides a trusted and immutable means of tracking these exchanges between satellites that may belong to different companies or even different countries.

Villanova researchers will grant 10 non-researchers with experience using blockchains with access to the onboard blockchain for the remainder of the flight for measuring transaction performance under heavier traffic loads. While the satellite is on-orbit, the latter half of the test period will be dedicated to open access from Villanova to perform test transactions between the ground station and the satellite.

The transaction data will be test files (text and images of various file sizes) that will create various loads on the blockchain. These transactions will also be allowed to interact with Ethereum smart contracts (programs that can automatically trigger a new transaction when a specific condition is met). All transactions are permanently recorded on the blockchain ledger.

** Tel Aviv University TAU-SAT1 CubeSat to go to ISS on NG Cygnus cargo resupply mission in early 2021: Tel Aviv University aims to launch shoebox-size satellite next year | The Times of Israel

“[…] TAU-SAT1 is the first nanosatellite designed, built and tested independently in academia in Israel.”

The TAU-SAT1 was created, developed, assembled, and tested at the new Nanosatellite Center in Tel Aviv, an interdisciplinary venture of the Faculties of Engineering and Exact Sciences and the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences of the university.

The primary goal of the mission is to measure space radiation:

The satellite will conduct several experiments while in orbit, including measuring cosmic radiation in space.

“We know that that there are high-energy particles moving through space that originate from cosmic radiation,” said Meir Ariel, director of the university’s Nanosatellite Center. “Our scientific task is to monitor this radiation, and to measure the flux of these particles and their products.

To communicate with the spacecraft, a satellite station was built on the roof of the university’s engineering building.

Students were a part of the team that developed the satellite:

The Tel Aviv University nanosatellite was built and tested with the help of a team of students and researchers, which built all of the infrastructure including cleanrooms, various testing facilities such as the thermal vacuum chamber, and the rooftop receiving and transmission station.

** Queensborough Community College in Bayside, NY receives NASA grant for CubeSat project:

The college is the recipient of a NASA MUREP MISTC-2 (Minority University Research and Education Project — Innovations in Space Technology Curriculum-Group 2). The grant entitled, “Using Technology to Engage and Inspire Students to Explore (SpaceTechEngine),” was funded in the amount of $410,574 for two years. 

Queensborough is partnering on the grant with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis (MESA) Division, the Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA), and City College of New York (CUNY) to capitalize on NASA’s ability to inspire both students and the public. 

Students will work on the Plasma Enhancements in The Ionosphere-Thermosphere Satellite (petitSat), a NASA funded CubeSat mission to be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2021. 

The petitSat Principal Investigator (PI) is NASA scientist Jeffrey Klenzing. Students will investigate both space weather effects on the ionosphere, which reflects and modifies radio waves used for communication and navigation; and simulate interacting with a CubeSat for preliminary assembly, integration and testing (AI&T).

** Brigham Young students built the Passive Inspection CubeSat (PICS), which is to launch this year, along with nine other NASA sponsored CubeSats, on a Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket.: BYU partnering with NASA to send a ‘spacecraft selfie cam’ into space on official mission – BYU.edu

After years of engineering, testing and coordinating with engineers from NASA’s Launch Services Program, Brigham Young University students have created a cube satellite that will launch into space on an official NASA mission later this year.

The 10-centimeter CubeSat, which includes contributions from more than 60 students over a five-year period, is outfitted with cameras on all six sides and will make it possible to inexpensively detect damage on the exterior of a spacecraft that cannot be seen in other ways.

“It’s a satellite that is designed to take pictures of another satellite,” said BYU engineering professor David Long. “In other words, it’s a spacecraft selfie cam.”

Passive Inspection CubeSat (PICS) at Brigham Young Univ. Credits: BYU Spacecraft Group

See also This BYU camera is launching into orbit to take photos of NASA spacecraft | KSL.com.

Here is a video about the project:

BYU engineers are preparing to launch a CubeSat that will float in space and take images of a spacecraft in orbit and then transmit those images back to Earth. The 10-centimeter CubeSat, outfitted with cameras on all six sides, works like a spacecraft “selfie cam” and will make it possible to inexpensively see the exterior of a spacecraft and detect damage that can’t be seen in other ways. The team received support and sponsorship from NASA’s Launch Services Program as well as from BYU’s Fulton College of Engineering for the mission that is expected to launch in late 2020.

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

ANS-306 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • Neutron-1 Scheduled for Deployment on November 5th
  • Upcoming Amateur Satellite Launches
  • EO-88 Distance Record Set
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-313 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • Neutron1 Launched from the ISS
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for November 2020
  • AMSAT GridMaster Award
  • IARU Coordinates Frequencies for Six Satellites in October
  • ARISS Team Attends ISS National Lab Education Summit
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Two new  introductory books on amateur satellite radio. The first is from the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL):

You can make contacts through amateur radio satellites, and even with the International Space Station, using equipment you probably own right now! All it takes is the right information, which you ll find in Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners. There are dozens of spacecraft in orbit just waiting for your signals, and more are being launched every year. This book is your guide to a whole new world of operating enjoyment. Inside you will: Be able to locate satellites and determine when they will be available in orbit. Gain tips for building your own satellite station even if it s just a dual-band FM transceiver and a mobile antenna. Find a simple step-by-step guide to making your first contacts. Discover satellite antenna projects you can build at home. Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners will introduce you to new experiences that you may have thought were out of your reach. Start reading and discover how easy it can be!

Amsats and Hamsats provides a step by step guide to how you can communicate through amateur radio satellites and how to receive signals from other small satellites and ‘weather’ satellites. The book gets right into the techniques you will need for working amateur radio stations through amateur radio satellites, then moves on to listening, or watching, signals from other satellites. There are chapters answering questions like, ‘how do satellites stay in orbit’ and ‘why are they so expensive to launch?’ Followed by sections about the history of amateur radio satellites, the mathematics governing orbits, TLE files, different types of satellite and their orbits. It covers the equipment you need, to track and use the amateur satellites and some of the satellite tracking software that is available. There are detailed sections covering transponders, satellite bands, feeders, masthead preamplifiers, antenna systems and automated rotator control. Plus chapters on the FUNcube Satellites, Weather Satellites and even the International Space Station. Amsats and Hamsats provides the ultimate guide to operating satellites and how they work. Its 368 pages are a great value guide to this stimulating and challenging area of amateur radio activity. Whether you want to get started or you are already an experienced operator you will find something of value in these pages.

** ADLER-1 cubesat – hunting for bullets in the dark

Space is a common good, just like the ocean 🌊 and the atmosphere 🌠. And as such it is subject for pollution. It is time to get more in-orbit data on this problem. With ADLER-1 cubesat we will find the “fast bullets in the dark”. How will this work? Have a look at our video ⤵️

** MicroGEO Satellites, Software-defined Radio and Getting the World OnlineConstellations Podcast – YouTube

** Jeff Greason discusses concepts for using space plasma for propulsion. Near the end of the video, he talks about the use of smallsats to test implementations of such systems. The Plasma Magnet, for example, has been extensively tested on the ground and now needs to be proven in space. The Plasma Magnet NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts  – Phase I Final Report – John Slough, Univ. of Washington (pdf).

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Check out out USA-Satcom for news and information on amateur satellite communications.

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.28.2020

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

** Embry-Riddle team building EagleCam CubeSat to captures images of the landing on the Moon of the Intuitive Machines Nova-C Lunar Lander: Eagles to Land First Student Project on Moon to Snap Selfie of Lunar Landing | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Intuitive Machines, the company developing the Nova-C, offered Engineering students at Embry-Riddle this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — to design and build a camera system that will deploy from the Nova-C to capture the landing and, in the process, become the first university student project ever to land on the moon. 

Supported by a network of national scientists, Embry-Riddle’s “EagleCam” team — three Engineering professors along with a large interdisciplinary team of students — is designing a camera and communication system, or CubeSat, to launch to the moon and shoot the astronomical selfie. Just before approach, the CubeSat will deploy and freefall 100 feet to the surface to give the world its first glimpse of the spacecraft’s lunar landing. 

See also Bedford student helps create technology to capture first selfie of lunar landing – unionleader.com.

** Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) students to build two CubeSats in cooperation with a New Zealand team as part of an effort by the Five Eye (FVEY) signals intelligence alliance to use space technology more efficiently: NPS Supports FVEY Efforts to Streamline Space Technologies – DVIDS

The creation of Space Force has inspired a renewed interest in space systems research and innovation. In August, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) received funding from the DOD to lead a project to streamline space technology among Five Eye (FVEY) countries. The project, headed by NPS professors Giovanni Minelli and Wenschel Lan, involves sending up two CubeSats containing experimental technology created by NPS students and New Zealand researchers. The payloads must be ready to launch into orbit by 2022. Once in space, the payloads will communicate with NPS researchers in the new Radio Frequency (RF) Testing Lab that overlooks the Monterey Bay.

NPS’ Space Labs have also brought elements of space to its students, so they can properly test out their payloads. The CubeSat skeleton is 3D printed, so students don’t have to start completely from scratch. They can carefully create their prototypes, using Raspberry Pi single-board computers in the clean room before testing them out in a variety of situations. For example, students have access to a thermo-pressure chamber and shaking machine that can “shake your teeth out,” according to Lan. They also conduct weather balloon tests to see how payloads respond to orbit-like atmospheric conditions. The goal is to think of everything that could possibly go wrong before actually sending a payload up into space.

** Taiwanese student CubeSat to fly on Momentus’  Vigoride demo mission set for this December: Momentus Announces Service Agreement for Gran Systems NUTSAT – Gran Systems (pdf)

The 2U NUTSAT was designed by the National Formosa University with the backing of the National Space Organization (NSPO) in Taiwan. One of the three NSPO cubesats launching this year, NUTSAT is a systems engineering training education program integrating an ADS-B receiver onto the cubeSat to demonstrate and enhance commercial aviation safety technology. NUTSAT is the first of the three cubesats to go for the launch integration.

** Univ. Colorado CubeSat project among 5 winners of the NGA MAGQUEST contest, which aims to encourage advancements in measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Compact Spaceborne Magnetic Observatory (COSMO) CubeSat (University of Colorado Boulder). A CubeSat specifically designed and tested for magnetic cleanliness and accurate data from a compact form factor. A compact scalar-vector magnetometer designed specifically for CubeSats enables high-quality collection of magnetic field data.

** University of Iowa HaloSat discovers clumpy-ness in the halo of hot gases surrounding the Milky Way : Clumpy, Recycled Gas From Stars Surrounds Milky Way | NASA

The Milky Way galaxy is in the recycling business. Our galaxy is surrounded by a clumpy halo of hot gases that is continually being supplied with material ejected by birthing or dying stars, according to a NASA-funded study in the journal Nature Astronomy.

A halo is a large region filled with hot gas that surrounds a galaxy, also known as a “circumgalactic medium.” The heated gaseous halo around the Milky Way was the incubator for the Milky Way’s formation some 13 billion years ago and could help solve a longstanding puzzle about where the missing matter of the universe might reside.

The new findings come from observations made by a small spacecraft called HaloSat. It is in a class of minisatellites called CubeSats and is roughly the size of a toaster, measuring 4-by-8-by-12 inches (about 10-by-20-by-30 centimeters) and weighing about 26 pounds (12 kilograms). Built by the University of Iowa, HaloSat was launched from the International Space Station in May 2018 and is the first CubeSat funded by NASA’s Astrophysics Division.

While tiny compared to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, HaloSat’s X-ray detectors view a much wider piece of the sky at once and therefore are optimized to doing the sort of wide-area survey needed to measure the galactic halo.

Because of their small size, CubeSats allow NASA to conduct low-cost scientific investigations in space. Six CubeSats to date have been selected in this Astrophysics Division series. 

In the new study, researchers conclude the circumgalactic medium has a disk-like geometry, based on the intensity of X-ray emissions coming from it. 

See also Where Does the Missing Matter of the Universe Reside? Halo of Gas Surrounding Milky Way May Help Solve Puzzle – SciTechDaily.com.

An artist’s rendering of the HaloSat in orbit. Credits: Blue Canyon Technologies.

The Iowa Univ. team and its partners, NASA/GSFC ( Goddard Space Flight Center) and JHU/APL (Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory), focused on developing the scientific instruments while Blue Canyon Technologies built the CubeSat hardware: HaloSat – eoPortal Directory – Satellite Missions

Deployment of HaloSat and NASA JPL’s RainCube from the ISS on  July 13th, 2018:

** CU Boulder leads CubeSat project with an innovative UV imaging system to study early universe: New CubeSat will observe the remnants of massive supernovas | CU Boulder Today

Scientists at CU Boulder are developing a satellite about the size of a toaster oven to explore one of the cosmos’ most fundamental mysteries: How did radiation from stars punch its way out of the first galaxies to fundamentally alter the make-up of the universe as it we know it today. 

Those insights will come from the Supernova Remnants and Proxies for ReIonization Testbed Experiment (SPRITE), a NASA-funded mission led by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at CU Boulder. 

Scheduled to launch in 2022, the $4 million SPRITE is the latest in LASP’s line of little-spacecraft-that-could. This “CubeSat” will measure just over a foot in length and will weigh about 40 pounds. It will also collect unprecedented data from modern-day stars and supernovas to help scientists better understand a time in the history of the cosmos called the “Epoch of Reionization”—a period in which the universe’s first stars lived fast and hard, burning out and going supernova in a span of just a few million years. 

“We’re trying to establish what the universe was like when it first formed and how it evolved to where it is today,” said Brian Fleming, a research professor at LASP who is leading the SPRITE mission. 

The team also hopes that SPRITE will show just how much CubeSats can achieve. To date, most of these miniature spacecraft have focused on studying phenomena that are closer to home—such as weather on Earth or flares erupting from the surface of the sun. 

“There has been a perception that to do new astrophysics you need to collect a lot of light so you need something big,” said Fleming, also of the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. “SPRITE is trying to do something different. There’s a lot of science you can do by optimizing your design and using new technologies.”

An artist’s rendering of the SPRITE CubeSat in orbit. Credits: LASP

** Neutron-1 CubeSat studies neutrons in low earth orbit as preparation for the LunaH-Map satellite to use neutrons to study distribution of the lunar surface. The neutron detectors on the satellites are developed by a Arizona State University team.

An ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration professor’s technology for detecting water ice, or hydrogen, on the moon debuted as part of the recently launched Neutron-1 3U CubeSat mission. 

Water ice, or lunar water, is the first evidence that water could exist on the moon and was confirmed to be on the moon by NASA in 2018.

Principal investigator on the project and professor Craig Hardgrove, along with an ASU team, developed a neutron detector that will be integrated with the Neutron-1 3U CubeSat mission led by Lloyd French, a program manager for University of Hawaii at Manoa and co-founder of the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory.

The neutron detector allows researchers to map neutron abundances in low earth orbit as part of the LunaH-Map mission. The detector will also assist in UHM’s mission to study neutrons while testing its own efficacy for its intended mission.

The LunaH-Map satellite will orbit the moon in search of water ice sources on its surface. The CubeSat mission helps pave the way for LunaH-Map’s next year. 

Neutron-1 will be deployed from the ISS late this year. LunaH-Map is currently set to launch in November 2021 and will take about six months to reach the Moon.

More at:

The LunaH-Map CubeSat is in development by an Arizona State Univ. team. It will be the  first NASA mission designed, built and operated on the ASU Tempe campus. Credit: LunaH-Map/ASU

** Ohio State student built Bobcat-1 CubeSat reached the ISS via the recent Antares/Cygnus cargo mission. When deployed from the station, the CubeSat will study

From the Ohio News article:

Measuring approximately 12”x4”x4”, the nanosatellite will be deployed into low-Earth orbit to study Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), like GPS, in an effort to improve the availability and performance of these navigation systems for other satellites and spacecraft. 

The satellite is one of 11 small spacecraft designed at American universities selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch initiative in 2018 to be transported into space. Dr. Sabrina Ugazio, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and four OHIO engineering students developed the nanosatellite and the ground station, located on the Stocker Center roof, that will control and communicate with the spacecraft during its nine-month orbit.

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

ANS-292 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • ARRL Comments in Orbital Debris Mitigation Proceeding
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for October 15, 2020
  • PREDICT-2.2.7 for Linux, Unix, Android, and Raspberry Pi Platforms
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over
  • Tips for the New Operator

ANS-299 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin

  • AMSAT Virtual Symposium Replay Available on YouTube
  • AMSAT Board of Directors Elects Robert Bankston, KE4AL, President
  • Satellite Acronyms Wiki Established
  • New Satellite Distance Records Claimed
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for October 22
  • FO-29 operation schedule for Nov. 2020
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** 2020 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting:

The 38th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting, held on October 17, 2020 includes updates on AMSAT projects and presentations on amateur satellite technology. For details on presenter names and presentation titles, visit https://www.amsat.org/38th-annual-ams….

AMSAT members can access the Symposium Proceedings at https://launch.amsat.org/Proceedings.

0:00:00 Welcome
0:02:07 AMSAT GOLF-TEE System Overview and Development Status
0:43:02 GOLF IHU Coordination
1:19:10 GOLF Downlink Coordination
1:50:15 FUNcube Next
2:13:50 LunART – Luna Amateur Radio Transponder
2:45:35CatSat HF Experiment Overview
3:13:30 Neutron-1 CubeSat
3:39:58 Progress and Development of Open Source Electric Propulsion for Nanosats and Picosats
4:15:00 AMSAT Education
5:14:00 ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) / AREx (Amateur Radio Exploration)
6:14:00 AMSAT Engineering
7:21:16 AMSAT Annual General Meeting

** Overview of the NASA TROPICS CubeSat Constellation Mission

Lecture: Overview of the NASA TROPICS CubeSat Constellation Mission Speaker: William Blackwell, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, USA [2020 IEEE GRSS & ISPRS] Young Professionals & Student Consortium Summer Schoo

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Oct.12.2020

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 Hawaiʻi student-built Neutron-1 CubeSat reaches the  International Space Station (ISS): UH satellite to collect neutrons in space – University of Hawaiʻi System News

Diagram of the Neutron-1 CubeSat. Credits: Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL)

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo vessel berthed to the ISS on October 5th after launching on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island on October 2nd. The Cygnus NG-14 mission carried roughly four tons of cargo, including Neutron-1 and several other smallsats for deployment into orbit from the station. Neutron-1 holds instruments to measure neutrons in space, particularly those coming from the Sun.

Through the 2015 RockSat-X mission, Kauaʻi Community CollegeWindward Community CollegeHonolulu Community College and Kapiʻolani Community College were also involved with the development of this mission. The Project IMUA community college collaboration led to the development of a functioning neutron detector, however it was lost during a suborbital test launch from Wallops Flight Facility. This set back the project until Arizona State University (ASU) became a collaborator on this mission by providing the neutron detector in 2018.

“Neutron-1 is a 3U CubeSat [small satellite],” said Amber Imai-Hong, an avionics engineer at HSFL and ground station coordinator for the Neutron-1 mission. “It’s approximately the size of a loaf of bread and the data gathered by the satellite will be used to understand the relationship between the Earth and the Sun by mapping neutrons in the low-earth orbit.”

Neutron-1 is launching on a rideshare mission, which includes other satellites, and will be in space for approximately one year. UH delivered the small satellite to NanoRacks, LLC in Houston, Texas on August 20.

** CSFU students developing a satellite to study wildfires: Students Fired Up to Develop Miniature Satellite to Fight Wildfires – Cal State Fullerton Univ. A group of undergraduates at Cal State Fullerton

are designing, manufacturing and building a cube-shaped, miniaturized satellite, known as a CubeSat, to observe Earth from space to predict and detect fires. The data captured is used to detect areas of risk — to put out fires before a blaze even starts.

“This year’s fire season has been particularly harmful. With the onset of climate change, we need to utilize tools such as satellites to study Earth and try to predict and prevent natural disasters,” said senior Patrick Babb, a mechanical engineering major who is leading the team project.

The 10-member student team is developing a prototype, dubbed “TitanSat,” which incorporates infrared cameras and solar power to monitor Earth’s climate and detect hot and dry zones that pose a wildfire risk. 

** Updates on the UAE MeznSat CubeSat recently launched in to orbit on a Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket along with 18 other smallsats. (See previous posts here, here, here, and here.)

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

ANS-271 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin – September 27, 2020

  • 2020 Virtual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting [See also AMSAT 2020 Virtual Symposium schedule announced – Southgate Amateur Radio News]
  • Reminder: Current AMSAT Journal is available on Member Portal
  • AMSAT-DL Online Symposium
  • AMSAT-UK Convention
  • ARRL LOTW new user guide
  • AMSAT Field Day Results for 2020 have been posted
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

ANS-278 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin – October 4, 2020

  • Virtual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting – October 17
  • AMSAT-UK Colloquium Online – October 11
  • ARISS Worldwide SSTV Event – October 4-8
  • Happy 27th Birthday, AMRAD-OSCAR 27
  • FCC Deletes 3.4 GHz Amateur Satellite Service Allocation
  • Chinese Amateur Radio Satellite Launches Delayed
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for October 2020
  • Message to US Educators: ARISS Contact Opportunity – Call For Proposals
  • Changes to AMSAT TLE Distribution for October 1, 2020
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • AMSAT Awards News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

ANS-285 – AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletin – October 11, 2020

  • AMSAT 2020 Virtual Symposium Schedule Announced
  • UH Satellite Successfully Blasts into Space
  • ARISS to Celebrate 20 Years of Ham Radio on the ISS
  • IARU Region 2 Releases 2020 Band Plan Revision
  • Two More Astronauts Earn Amateur Radio Licenses
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** SEDS-Canada x Canadian CubeSat Project PanelSEDS-Canada

** BWSI Build A CubeSat Final PresentationsMIT Beaver Works Summer Institute

Caution: portions of the audio are difficult to hear
Build a CubeSat – Sierra Nevada Corp. Project Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to design, build, and test a prototype CubeSat. Students will explore all the major subsystems of a satellite and get hands on experience with mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. The class will use these new skills to demonstrate a real CubeSat science mission in partnership with scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
– Introduction by Jack Fox
– Presentations
Astrobeever
Buzz Lightyear
Team Oddsat
BYJ Cube
Rubble Space Telescope
– Q&A

** 84- Microsoft Azure Orbital, Ground Station as a Service, and Dynamic GroundConstellations Podcast

On this Constellations podcast, the focus will be on Microsoft’s recent announcement of their Ground Station as a Service (GSaaS) offering “Azure Orbital” and what it means for the satellite industry. Azure Orbital is Microsoft’s managed service that is designed to deal with the growing flood of data for Earth Observation and Internet of Things applications. The managed service lets users communicate to, control their satellite, process data and scale operations directly in Microsoft Azure. Microsoft’s GSaaS takes a very different approach compared to traditional ground systems. Azure Orbital leverages key technologies such as virtualization, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and cloud computing to enable customers to automate and scale operations across the globe. On this podcast Nora Zhan, Product Manager for Microsoft discusses Azure Orbital. She is involved in Azure Space, Satellites and Ground Stations and in bringing this new platform to market to provide satellite connectivity.

** The Open Source Satellite ProgrammeBritish Computer Society Open Source Specialists

Presented by Paul Madle Over the last 25 years, the UK has brought positive disruptions to the space industry. The University of Surrey innovated small spacecraft: leveraging Commercial-Off-The-Shelf components that could compete with larger more traditionally designed spacecraft. In the last 7 years, Scottish CubeSats (very small satellites) have grown from academic projects into commercially viable products performing earth observation and other applications. Both of these innovations have brought down costs and made space more accessible to greater numbers of people. KIPSE Space Systems aspires to be a catalyst for the next step-change to the industry by collaboratively designing a new, capable spacecraft platform that is open source, all design being freely accessible through the internet.

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