Category Archives: Space Radio

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Apr.8.2020

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

** Cubesat program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, wins grants from NASA lunar exploration technology program: NASA Small Satellite Program Selects Cal Poly to Help Develop New Technology for Lunar Exploration Missions – Cal Poly News

Cal Poly will participate in a pair of two-year projects, both in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The grants are valued at $200,000. The first, under the SmallSat Propulsion for Lunar Missions area, will team Cal Poly with UC Irvine for a project titled “Variable Specific Impulse Electrospray Thrusters for SmallSat Propulsion.”

The project will build on existing propulsion technology that uses electrostatic charges to propel liquid droplets to generate thrust. It will further develop and test a more-versatile system capable of operating in either a high-thrust mode when needed, or more efficient low-thrust mode to conserve fuel and save weight. This technology will add mission flexibility to electrospray propulsion systems while keeping within the size suited constraints of small spacecraft.

“Cal Poly will be providing a design for a CubeSat to test the thrusters, including an electrical subsystem that is capable of powering the thrusters,” Bellardo said. “UCI will be focusing more on the thruster side. Cal Poly will be focused on the spacecraft side.”

The second proposal, under NASA’s Advanced Electrical Power Subsystem and Thermal Management Technology area, pairs Cal Poly with Cal State Los Angeles for a project titled “An Additively Manufactured Deployable Radiator with Oscillating Heat Pipes to Enable High Power Lunar CubeSats.”

Compact CubeSats do not efficiently dissipate heat, yet lunar missions will demand even more electrical power, which produces heat as a byproduct that could damage core components of a small satellite. The equipment needed for longer duration missions far from Earth orbit includes more powerful radio transmitters while simultaneously dealing with the harsh cislunar thermal environment. The grant will fund the development of a deployable radiator with flexible oscillating heat pipes to provide more efficient heat transfer than traditional thermal straps.

“The more power a spacecraft needs, the more heat gets generated — both during power generation and consumption,” Bellardo said. “Radiators are part of the solution to keeping the spacecraft cooler. The technology is applicable to other small spacecraft as well.”

More about the Cal Poly projects and about lunar technology projects at other universities selected by NASA: NASA Selects Universities for Collaborative Development | NASA.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-096 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Ham Radio Book Featured in “Story Time From Space” on ISS
  • NO-104 / PSAT2 Status
  • VUCC Standings for April 2020
  • AMSAT Awards During Stay-at-Home Orders
  • Radio Amateurs of Canada Offers New Online Amateur Radio Course
  • AMSAT South Africa Reports Good Progress with AfriCUBE
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Exploring CubeSats!MIT Full STEAM Ahead

** SunRISE – NASA’s new mission to study giant space weather stormsYour Space Journey

NASA has just selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms into space. The new mission is called SunRISE, which stands for Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment. This mission will ultimately help protect astronauts traveling to the Moon and Mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment they must travel through. The principal investigator of SunRISE, Dr. Justin Kasper, joins us to discuss this incredible mission. Justin is also a professor of Space Science & Engineering for the University of Michigan, where he designs sensors for spacecraft that explore extreme environments in space from the surface of the Sun to the outer edges of the solar system. SunRISE is an array of six CubeSats operating as one very large radio telescope. NASA has awarded $62.6 million to design, build and launch SunRISE by no earlier than July 1, 2023.

** 2019 IAF Global Technical Symposium – Small Satellite MissionsIAF Young Professionals

The Small Satellite Missions Global Technical Session (GTS) is collaboration between the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Small Satellite Missions Symposium and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Workforce Development/Young Professionals Programme Committee. This session is unique in that it allows for sharing of information on a global scale with presenters and audience both at the IAC venue and online at their home/work/university locations.

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Apr.2.2020

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

** Univ. of Michigan to  lead SunRISE multi-cubesat mission selected by NASA to study solar storms by detecting radio waves that precede coronal mass ejections: ‘Largest radio telescope in space’ to improve solar storm warnings – The Michigan Engineer News Center

The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, or SunRISE, consists of miniature satellites called cubesats that form a “virtual telescope” in space to detect and study the radio waves that precede major solar events. The waves can’t be detected on Earth’s surface due to interference from the region of Earth’s upper atmosphere known as the ionosphere. 

SunRISE, expected to launch in 2023, will offer a never-seen-before glimpse at what goes on in the area above the sun’s surface, the sola

The virtual telescope formed by the cubesats is illustrated in this video:

From the caption:

The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) is expected to launch in 2023. The project is led by University of Michigan climate and space sciences and engineering professor Justin Kasper. The team will deploy miniature satellites, called cubesats, that form a “virtual telescope” in space to detect and study the radio waves that precede major solar events. This is will greatly improve our solar storm warning system. SunRISE is a $62 million project, one of NASA’s Missions of Opportunity. $5 million will go to U-M for its science team and operating costs while the rest will be used for launch. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will manage the mission. Space Dynamics Laboratory, a non-profit research corporation, is the other major partner that will build the spacecraft.

See also:

** An update on the Univ. of Washington HuskySat-1 CubeSat in orbit: The first cube satellite made by [UW] students makes it to space – DailyUW.com

HuskySat-1
HuskySat-1. Credits: Husky Satellite Lab at the Univ. Washington

Just last November, students worked to launch a loaf of bread into space; that is, a satellite the size of a loaf of bread.

The UW’s Husky Satellite Lab successfully launched the HuskySat-1 (HS-1), a cube satellite, into space Nov. 2, 2019. This initiative was started about four years ago by two graduate students: Paige Northway and Paul Sturmer.

Space development is not anything new to the UW, but HS-1 is the first cube satellite to be launched by a university from Washington state.

The Husky Satellite Lab’s mission was related to demonstrating a pulsed plasma thruster and a high-frequency communications system. Beyond that, Sturmer pointed out the huge success of being able to launch and have a working satellite.

According to Sturmer, the initial project was made up of over 50 students — mostly undergraduate students — who did the actual engineering, prototyping, and testing. Sturmer acted as the technical lead and product manager.

Members of the Husky Satellite Lab have now put their focus on other projects, such as the Miniature Microgravity Electroplating Experiment (MiniMEE) and the Platform for High Altitude Testing 2 (PHAT-2).

Several Roundups have mentioned HuskySat-1.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-089 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Sean Kutzko, KX9X, Appointed AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator
  • AMSAT Office Closed Until Further Notice
  • First Satellite Contact to be Noted in May QST
  • Amateur Radio Satellite Spreads Fight Coronavirus Message
  • Ham Talk Live! Interviews Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
  • ISS Crew Transition Affected by CoViD-19
  • Upcoming ARISS Contacts
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Mar.18.2020

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

** The student-led GU Orbit program at the University of Glasgow aims to

bring students into the world of space systems. It will primarily focus on developing micro-satellites with a specific mission in mind and getting them launched into orbit. Students from various disciplines are welcome to become members as we hope to create an interdisciplinary environment and ultimately provide members with an industrial-like setting so that they can get a feel of what it is like to work in the space technology sector.

The program recently arranged for getting their first satellite, Astraeus-01, to orbit via the Responsive Access launch broker: University of Glasgow GU Orbit Team Signs Smallsat Mission Agreement with Responsive Access – Satnews

Responsive Access Ltd. aims to simplify access to space through the use of innovative software and key partner relationships that provide a one-stop-shop for the launch of CubeSats and other small payloads into orbit.

While the search for a suitable rocket gets underway, GU Orbit are focusing on the technical development of their satellite, which is set to become the first ever to be fully built by a Scottish university. The University of Glasgow’s satellite could be set for launch by as early as next year, creating the possibility for it to be one of the first payloads to reach space from a developing UK spaceport.

GU Orbit’s President, Philip Voudouris, explained that thanks to the tremendous effort from the team members, significant progress on the cubesat, Astraeus-01, has been made, finally bringing ideas and ambitions to life as prototypes are manufactured and tested. The University of Glasgow has a strong reputation regarding its involvement in space technology and having opened its first space lab just last year, it has shown that it is prepared to push the boundaries of human presence in space. With Responsive Access helping to plan the mission ahead and selecting a suitable launch vehicle for Astraeus-01, the company is now one large step closer to seeing this satellite reach orbit and subsequently opening an exciting new frontier for students and researchers with a passion in space.

Astraeus-01 is intended “to demonstrate two innovative technologies: a deployable drag sail and a graphics processing unit (GPU)” (ref).  More at GU Orbit on Facebook.

** Environmental monitoring MeznSat cubesat, built by UAE based university teams, will launch on a Soyuz rocket this summer:

MeznSat is a nanosatellite for climate observation, manufactured by Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST) in partnership with the American University of Ras Al-Khaimah (AURAK) and funded by the UAE Space Agency. The satellite’s primary payload will be a shortwave infrared (SWIR) spectrometer that makes observations in the 1000-1650 nm wavelength range to derive atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

The secondary payload on MeznSat will consist of a VGA camera for post-processing that brings increased precision and accuracy to the SWIR spectrometer data. The combination of visible and SWIR bands will make MeznSat a unique CubeSat mission, specifically designed to generate a rich dataset for exploring atmospheric correction algorithms.

** Univ. of Iowa Halosat is demonstrating effective astrophysics observations on a cubesat platform: HaloSat Offers Galactic X-Ray Measurements on Shoestring Budget – SPIE

The entire scientific instrument weighs in at less than 3 kg and consumes about 4 W. The control system brings the package up to 12 kg, while the entire satellite is about the size of a thick book.

HaloSat was launched in 2018, and its mission has been extended until mid-2020. So far, it has mapped x-ray emissions from the Milky Way and the Crab Nebula. The simple mapping spectrometer has delivered remarkably clean data, which will enable a few years of analysis and insights.

Live fast, die young

HaloSat will deorbit before the end of 2020 due to drag, so the mission cannot be extended much longer. Such temporal limitation is part of the life of a CubeSat-they are the mayfly of spacecraft. The question is not if the satellite will live longer, but if useful scientific results can be gained from such a short mission. The researchers have proven the affirmative: low-cost, short-lived satellite missions can deliver useful results.

Deployment of HaloSat and RainCube cubesats from the ISS on July 13, 2018. Credits: NASA & Nature Magazine

Here is a technical paper published about the project: Design and construction of the x-ray instrumentation onboard the HaloSat CubeSat, D.M. LaRocca et al, J. or Astronoical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems – SPIE

HaloSat is the first mission funded by NASA’s Astrophysics Division to use the CubeSat platform. Using three co-aligned silicon drift detectors, the HaloSat observatory measures soft (0.4 to 7 keV) x-ray emission from sources of diffuse emission such as the hot, gaseous halo of the Milky Way. We describe the design and construction of the science payload on HaloSat and the reasoning behind many of the choices. As a direct result of the design choices and adherence to best practices during construction, the HaloSat science payload continues to perform well after more than one year on-orbit.

This NASA video mentions HaloSat:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-075 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 38th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting Announced
  • Update from the AMSAT President
  • ARISS Video of SpaceX CRS-20 Launch Carrying IORS
  • Minor Update to FoxTelem Released
  • Use the NO-84 PSK31 Transponder Now!
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – March.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):

** The A&A CubeSat Team at the University of Wisconsin is building SOC-1  or Satellite for Optimal Control and Imaging:

The SOC-i mission will carry an advanced guidance, navigation and control (GNC) payload capable of reorienting the spacecraft while satisfying multiple pointing constraints. SOC-i will also carry an Earth imaging camera, enabling it to take pictures of specified ground locations.

The mission will operate in space for 6 months, and will be supported by a UW ground station being developed in the Aerospace Engineering Research Building. It is a stated goal of the mission to be completely open-source, maintain code on our team’s GitHub page .

See also: Down the rabbit hole of UW’s STEM RSOs – dailyuw.com

Members collaborate throughout the entire design process of the CubeSat, developing different aspects, from its guidance navigation control, electrical power system, physical structure, communications, command and data handling, and imaging configuration.

“Space engineering is such a multifaceted discipline that really, if you show up and just do 10 hours of work, you’re going to learn a hundred new things,” Tormey said. “The thing you get out of it is experience. Even if the work is grueling and hard, knowing that ultimately you’re going to send something up into space is the best motivator ever.”

** The BUSAT (Boston University SATellite) program will see ANDESITE launched on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket. Trisept completes Cubesat integration for NASA ELaNa 32 Andesite Mission – SpaceDaily.com

“Our ANDESITE mission with NASA will demonstrate how CubeSats can play a vital role in providing an unprecedented view into the variations of electrical activity racing through space and its impact on our lives here on earth. GPS services, for example, can be directly affected,” explained Josh Semeter, an electrical engineering professor with Boston University’s Center for Space Physics who first conceptualized the ANDESITE mission.

“If all goes as planned, our CubeSat will release eight small satellite sensors in space to form a first-of-its-kind free-flying mesh network capable of delivering uniquely comprehensive data mapping of magnetic fields and space weather to our smart phones here on campus.”

“TriSept, the University spacecraft team and NASA have completed the initial integration of the ANDESITE mission by installing the CubeSat into the dispenser device and preparing the spacecraft for shipment to Rocket Lab in New Zealand,” said Jason Armstrong, TriSept’s Director of Launch Integration Services.

Illustration of the ANDESITE 6U CubeSat with picosat deployed to study currents in the magnetosphere. Credits: BUSAT

Here is a BUSAT video from 2015 about the ANDESITE project:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-068 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Welcome Back XW-2D
  • PSAT3 Launch CANCELED [See also Cancellation of PSAT3 Launch Means No DARPA Launch Challenge Winner – ARRL]
  • AMSAT Academy to be Held Prior to Dayton Hamvention
  • The 23cm Satellite Band is Under Scrutiny in Europe
  • Replacing the International Space Station?
  • FO-29 Operational Schedule
  • ARISS News
  • AMSAT Will be at ScienceCity in Tucson, March 14-15
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Michael Maloney – Satellite Design For Recovery – Cold Star Project S02E23

Michael Maloney, founder of the advocacy organization Satellite Design for Recovery, is on the Cold Star Project with host Jason Kanigan to talk about the need for including a critical but not-yet-required component to the design of all objects launched into Earth orbit. Satellites and other orbital objects should have mandated design requirements for rendezvous, capture and disposal. The cost of not doing so will be chaos in orbit. Mike is here to tell us about these consequences. Satellite Design for Recovery website: https://satdfr.org/

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – March.6.2020

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

** Killick-1 CubeSat is a undergrad and grad engineering student project at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. The satellite will  measure the thicknesses of sheet ices. ‘Launch’ forth: Students designing and building small satellite to collect big data – MUN Gazette

Since the project was announced in 2018, the team has worked on the conceptual design and definition of the cubesat’s mission. They moved on to the design and building phases in the fall of 2019.

When the cubesat is completed in 2022, it will be launched from the International Space Station – something the team is very excited about.

“We have our very own slot to go into space,” said Mr. Power. “That is very cool and exciting.”

When the satellite is launched into space, it will orbit 400 kilometres above Earth and use global navigation satellite system reflectometry to collect sea ice, waves and wind data.

This involves receiving direct and reflected signals from GPS satellites to measure geophysical features of the ocean such as temperature, salinity and wave height.

** Students at Fryeburg Academy, a private high school in Maine, will build a payload for MESAT-1, a CubeSat project supported by the Maine Space Grant Consortium and recently selected by NASA for a ride to orbit (see previous Smallsat Roundup) : NASA Selects MESAT1 Satellite with Fryeburg Academy’s CubeSat Experiment – Fryeburg Academy

Fryeburg Academy is pleased to announce its proposed CubeSat experiment, chosen by the Maine Space Grant Consortium last fall,  will launch on the MESAT1 satellite—the very first satellite from the State of Maine. It’s one of 18 small research satellites selected by NASA to carry auxiliary payloads into space between 2021–23, and is part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative that provides opportunities for nanosatellite science and technology payloads built by universities, schools, and nonprofit organizations to rideshare on space launches.

“We began this venture last year with the formation of our Space Raiders club and working with CubeSat simulators,” says FA’s science teacher Dr. Warren Ziegler. “Since then, we’ve partnered with UMaine Orno and The Wells Estuarine Research Reserve and other partners to leverage their resources and knowledge on our chosen experiment that determines water quality and biological markers through imaging coastal estuaries.”

Ziegler and his club will work with Dr. Ali Abedi from UMaine Orno to assemble the CubeSat satellite experiment— aptly named IMAGER— and Dr. Jason Goldstein who leads the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve in Maine. “Our contributions thus far for the project are the remote sensing and spacecraft attitude control sequences that allow the CubeSat to be controlled inflight,” continues Ziegler. “ The goal is to develop a remote sensing tool by modifying a digital camera to image shallow, coastal waters to distinguish water quality properties such as turbidity and phytoplankton concentration.”

See also:

** AcubeSAT – Physical ArchitectureA.S.A.T.

The Aristotle Space & Aeronautics Team (ASAT) is composed of students from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. ASAT is developing a 3U CubeSat to conduct a biological experiment that investigates molecular mechanisms that are affected by the space conditions. In particular, they will probe the dynamic regulation of gene expression of eukaryotic cells in Low Earth Orbit, using advances in Synthetic Biology and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).

 

** CSUM projectsCentre spatial universitaire

In France, the CSUM is the leader in the development of student nanosatellites. We are also a European center of reference devoted to bringing together equipment and skills for the development, production, testing and operation of nanosatellites. These projects involve student interns and encourage regional economic development.

The MTCube underwent vibration and other tests by ExoLaunch before its launch in July 2019. Credtis: CSUM

(Item via nanosat.eth (@myfirstsatellit) / Twitter.)

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-061 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Upcoming SpaceX CRS-20 Launch
  • FO-29 Operational Schedule
  • Georgia Institute of Technology GT-1 To Feature Amateur Radio Robot Operation
  • K7UAZ Radio Club Helps Prepare Satellite Radio Station for Space Camp at Biosphere 2
  • New QO-100 Band Plan Announced
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Students [sent] homemade satellite into space | Nine News Australia – About the Australis OSCAR 5 amateur satellite built by a group of Melbourne university students and launched into orbit in January 1970.

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Orbit Design, Debris Impact, and Orbital Decay Prediction