Category Archives: Amateur/Student Satellite

Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.6.2019

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

** South Africa launches ZACube-2 nanosatellite – Telecompaper

The ZACube-2 weighs 4 kg and is South Africa’s second nanosatellite to be launched into space. It is three times the size of its predecessor, TshepisoSat. It is a precursor to the MDASat, a constellation of nine nanosatellites that will be developed to provide very high frequency data exchange communication systems to the maritime industry.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has invested ZAR 16.5 million in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for the project in support of Operation Phakisa. The project is managed by the DST’s South African National Space Agency (SANSA), in cooperation with the University of Montpellier, the French Embassy and the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

** MySat-1 opens up opportunities for UAE youth in space sector – GulfNews. com

Dubai: UAE students who built MySat-1, a ‘CubeSat’ launched last year to the International Space Station (ISS), are now more informed and capable to contribute to the developing space sector of the country.

The 10-centimetre cube satellite MySat-1 was developed by students of the UAE-based Khalifa University of Science and Technology and was successfully launched to space on board the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft.

MySat-1’s launch came on the heels of launch of KhalifaSat, the UAE’s first 100 per cent Emirati-made satellite launched on October 29.

** Eager for space experience? ULA invites K-12 students to submit payloads – Florida Today -This involves suborbital projects but good prep for small satellite development.

Twenty teams from kindergarten through 12th grade will be invited to design, build and launch payloads – objects, experiments and instruments – that will eventually take flight on an intern-built, 35-foot-tall Future Heavy Super Sport rocket. Next summer is the target launch window.

Teams can also compete for a chance at $5,000 for their school or organization. That competition is based on how close their payload gets to a target on the ground.

** Nepal launching own satellites by mid-May – The HimalayanTimes.com

According to Rabindra Prasad Dhakal, chief of technical department, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, the two have been provided Rs 20 million to launch the satellites named ‘Birds 3’. The amount was released to develop three satellites simultaneously and preparations are under way for the launch by mid-May.

The satellites will take photos of various parts of the country on a daily basis and also disseminate information about possible disasters. NAST scientists and the Minister of Science and Technology are scheduled to leave for Japan before the launch of the satellites.

** PW-Sat2 deorbit sail deployment – on-board camera footage | Southgate Amateur Radio News

PW-Sat2, the second Polish student satellite, also launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 SSO-A flight with AMSAT Fox-1Cliff, is a student project with the goal to test a new deorbit sail.

The sail was deployed on December 29, 2018. On-Board camera footage of the event can be viewed at

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

  • Recurring Donations Feature Added to AMSAT.org
  • D-STAR ONE Launched, Telemetry Received
  • Ham Talk Live Podcast Featuring W6RO Satellite Operation
  • PW-Sat2 Deorbit Sail Deployment – On-Board Camera Footage
  • JAMSAT NEXUS V/U Mode-J CubeSat Scheduled to Launch January 17
  • Australian National Scout Jamboree – AJ2019
  • DL50AMSAT Callsign IG HamSpirit Satellite Weekend January 18-20
  • VUCC Awards-Endorsements for December 2018
  • AMSAT South Africa Dual-Band VHF/UHF Yagi
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • AMSAT at Thunderbird Hamfest in Glendale AZ, 12 January 2019
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.1.2019

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

** Soyuz launches cluster of 28 satellites – Spaceflight Now

The University of Würzburg’s fourth experimental CubeSat, known as UWE 4, carries a miniaturized electric propulsion system to be demonstrated in orbit, and also serves as an educational tool for the German university’s engineering students.

The other satellites deployed in the Fregat’s final orbit were ZACube 2, a South African CubeSat, and the Lume 1 CubeSat from Spain.

Equipped with an AIS receiver to monitor ships and a medium-resolution near-infrared camera to track maritime traffic and detect wildfires, ZACube 2 was developed by the French South African Institute of Technology and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology near Cape Town. Lume 1 comes from the University of Vigo and a spinoff Spanish company named Alén Space, and is also designed for the early detection of wildfires.

** Würzburg experimental satellite “Uwe 4” arrived in orbit | BR24 (Translation)

From now on, “Uwe 4” should contact the ground station in Würzburg six times a day for about ten minutes. “Uwe 4” is supposed to circle the earth for about a year. The micro satellite carries an electric engine that allows it to change its orbit in orbit. In the class of the so-called “Pico satellites” , up to a weight of one kilogram, the Würzburg researchers are the first to succeed.

“In this respect, this is a new milestone for the world of micro-satellites, which was realized together with the partners of the Technical University of Dresden.” Professor Klaus Schilling from the Chair of Robotics and Telematics

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-364 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • AMSAT CW Activity Day January 1, 2019 In Memory Of W3XO
  • Soyuz Flight Deploys Amateur Radio Satellites
  • In-Orbit Test (IOT) of Es’hail-2 AMSAT P4-A transponders
  • Changes to the AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for December 27, 2018
  • Ham Talk Live Podcast Featuring KO4MA
  • Multiple Flight Projects Selected by International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory
  • AMSAT Awards Update
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

** Episode 146 – Making the Most of Satellite Time | Ham Talk Live! – “Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, from AMSAT is here to talk your calls about getting the most out of satellite time. We’ll talk about what to say, when to say it, and other etiquette and protocol issues so that you can make the most of your satellite operation!”

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General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

Rocket launches: Chinese Long March-2D + Soyuz-2.1a

A couple of launches by China and Russia finish out a busy year of global rocket traffic:

** Chinese Long March-2D/YZ-3 (Chang Zheng-2D/YZ-3) rocket launch today with six atmospheric environment research satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center –

More at

** Russian Soyuz-2.1a launched two remote sensing satellites plus 26 educational and commercial small satellites:

From the caption:

A Soyuz-2.1a (Союз-2.1а) launch vehicle, with a Fregat (Фрегат) upper stage, launched the Kanopus-V №5 (Канопус-В № 5) and Kanopus-V №6 (Канопус-В № 6) remote sensing satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Oblast, Russia, on 27 December 2018, at 02:07 UTC (11:07 local time). As secondary payloads, Soyuz-2.1a launched 26 small satellites: GRUS (Axelspace), Flock 3k (twelve Planet Labs Inc 3U Dove CubeSats), ZACube-2, Lume-1 cubesat, D-Star ONE (iSat), D-Star ONE (Sparrow), eight Lemur-class satellites (Spire Global Inc) and UWE-4 (Würzburg University).

More at:

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Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Dec.26.2018

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

** UF research satellite launches into orbit – Gainesville Sun – Gainesville, FL

… NASA launched a University of Florida satellite that could help improve the accuracy of timing-sensitive satellites, such as GPS.

The satellite is more than 500 kilometers (315 miles) above Earth, orbiting at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour.

“We’ve spent five and a half years to get to this point, and the launch is always the riskiest part,” said UF mechanical and aerospace engineering Associate Professor John Conklin. “Having passed that hurdle, it feels great.”

The UF satellite was one of 13 research cube satellites launched by Rocket Lab Electron from New Zealand as part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. The goal of UF’s research from space is to improve time-transfer synchronizing systems through laser technology. Systems like GPS synchronize their times through radio waves, which have a higher delay in the atmosphere and also a higher error rate.

** UWE-4 satellite ready to launch | Southgate Amateur Radio News – UWE-4 – Lehrstuhl für Informatik VII

The University Würzburg Experimental Satellite 4 (UWE-4) is the most recent project within the UWE CubeSat family. This 1U (one unit) CubeSat will incorporate for the first time in the UWE program a propulsion system. The satellite is scheduled for launch on board a Soyuz-2 mission using a Fregat upper stage in December 2018.

** CubeSats Could Use Laser Pointers to Transmit Data to Earth > ENGINEERING.com

But laser communications also have a significant drawback: because laser beams are much more focused than radio waves, they need to be pointed with much greater precision at receivers on the ground.

The MIT team developed a laser-pointing platform about the size of a coffee mug that uses a mirror, smaller than a fingernail, to bounce the laser down toward a ground receiver. The platform can adjust the angle of the mirror to change the laser’s direction.

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-357 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Changes to the AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for December 20, 2018
  • UWE-4 Satellite Ready to Launch
  • New Amateur Radio Packet Gear Awaits Unpacking, Installation on Space Station
  • Successful “AMSAT on the Queen Mary” Operation
  • AMSAT CW Activity Day January 1, 2019 In Memory Of W3XO
  • ELaNa-XIX Successfully Launched
  • AMSAT Awards
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

  • Venture Class Rockets First Class Flights for CubeSats – NASA:

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Israel’s nonprofit SpaceIL lunar lander mission to include time capsule

The Israeli non-profit SpaceIL organization now expects SpaceX to launch its lunar lander mission in February. SpaceIL was a competitor in the Google Lunar XPRIZE contest, which ended before any entrant reached the Moon. However, SpaceIL and several other GLXP entrants are continuing with plans to send landers to the lunar surface. Recently, for example, three former GLXP entrants are involved in partnerships with NASA to participant in the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Delivery program in which NASA will pay commercial companies to take technology and scientific experiment payloads to the Moon.

Here is the latest announcement from SpaceIL:

SpaceIL, IAI to Send Time Capsule on Israel’s Historic Moon Mission
The time capsule will include Israeli national, cultural and traditional symbols,
such as Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Hebrew songs, the Wayfarer’s Prayer,
and paintings by Israeli children.

YEHUD, Dec. 17 – Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) presented today at IAI’s Space Division a time capsule that will travel to the moon — and remain there indefinitely — with the first Israeli spacecraft, which will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in February, 2019.

The SpaceIL lunar spacecraft. Photo by Yoav Weiss

The time capsule consists of three discs, each containing hundreds of digital files. Included among the files, which will travel to the moon inside SpaceIL’s lunar spacecraft, are: Details about the spacecraft and the crew building it; national symbols, like Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Bible, Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah”, and the Israeli flag; cultural objects; materials – paintings, for example – collected over many years from the public for sending to the moon; dictionaries in 27 languages and encyclopedias, an indication of knowledge accumulated by all humanity thus far; Israeli songs; the Wayfarer’s Prayer; books of art and science and Israeli literature; information about Israeli scientific and technological discoveries and developments that influenced the world; photos Israel’s landscapes and of leading figures in Israeli culture; a children’s book that was inspired by SpaceIL’s mission to the moon.

The time capsule, along with the spacecraft, will remain on the Moon indefinitely, even after completing Israel’s first lunar mission. With no plans to return to Earth, the spacecraft and information within the time capsule’s disks will possibly be found and distributed by future generations.

Time capsule data disks to go to the Moon on SpaceIL lander. Photo by Yoav Weiss

In early 2019, the spacecraft, recently named Beresheet (the Hebrew word for Genesis), will launch alongside other satellites as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The precise launch date remains undetermined, as SpaceIL awaits final confirmation from the launch company.

“This is another step on our way to the moon,” said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. “Inserting the disks into the spacecraft, which is a real “time capsule,” indicates the spacecraft’s readiness to blast off from the launch site in a few weeks. SpaceIL’s crews and IAI have completed testing of the spacecraft and its systems, and are preparing for the beginning of the amazing and complex journey that exemplifies innovation, creativity and courage. The spacecraft’s historic journey, which also includes a scientific mission, makes a significant contribution to advancing the space industry and the subject of space in Israel.”

Yonatan Winetraub, one of three SpaceIL founders, said, as he inserted the time capsule into a spacecraft:

“This is a very emotional moment. We do not know how long the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the moon. It is very possible that future generations will find this information and want to learn more about this historic moment.”

Opher Doron, IAI’s Space Division General Manager, said:

“We are proud to be the first non-governmental entity in the world to go to the moon. Landing on the moon was for many years a little-discussed topic among the public, but recently we see growing interest as world superpowers seek to return to the moon in a variety of commercial missions. There is no doubt that the technological knowledge acquired by IAI during the development and construction of Beresheet, together with Space IL and combined with the space capabilities developed over more than 30 years at IAI, puts us at the global forefront in the ability to complete lunar missions.”

The spacecraft, whose construction was carried out at IAI’s Space Division, successfully completed a series of recent tests to examine the integration of systems, and a series of complex experiments aimed at testing its durability. Concurrently, validation and verification tests checked the function of the spacecraft in scenarios it could experience during the mission. Since actual space conditions cannot be replicated, tests are carried out in part by a SpaceIL simulator that mimics space conditions and part on the spacecraft itself. Next, SpaceIL will soon ship the spacecraft to the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In October, SpaceIL and the Israeli Space Agency announced a collaboration with NASA that will enable SpaceIL to improve its ability to track and communicate with the spacecraft before, during, and after landing on the moon. Two weeks ago a retro-reflector from NASA was installed on the spacecraft, an instrument that reflects laser beams and will enable NASA to precisely locate the spacecraft on the lunar surface after the landing. SpaceIL, the Israel Space Agency and NASA also agreed that NASA will have access to data gathered by the magnetometer installed aboard the Israeli spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site.

About SpaceIL: SpaceIL is a non-profit organization established in 2011 aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. The organization was founded by three young engineers: Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub who answered the international challenge presented by Google Lunar XPRIZE: to build, launch and land an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. SpaceIL was the only Israeli representative. In October 2015, SpaceIL reached a dramatic project milestone by becoming the first team to announce a signed launch contract, that symbolizes an actual “ticket to the Moon”. In January 2017, SpaceIL became one of the competition’s five finalists. The competition officially ended with no winners in March 31, 2018, after Google ended their sponsorship.
Regardless of the competition, SpaceIL is committed to continue and complete its mission, to land on the Moon and to the advancement of science and technology education in Israel.

SpaceIL is actively working to create an Israeli “Apollo Effect.” SpaceIL is committed to inspiring the next generation in Israel and around the world to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The launch will take place on an American SpaceX rocket in first quarter of 2019, and the Moon landing will be at the end of a two-month journey in space, after the launch. Read More

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