Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – July.16.2019

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

** University built RFTSat to test space-based solar power microwave transmission system: Launch of RFTSat this Sunday! – The Propagation Group/Georgia Tech

This Sunday, a Falcon 9 rocket will launch a SpaceX Dragon capsule that will rendezvous with the International Space Station.  Part of this mission will include RFTSat, developed by a team of Northwest Nazarene University (Boise, Idaho) led by Prof. Joshua Griffin and a team of Georgia Tech Researchers in ECE.  

This CubeSat experiment will have a unique RF energy-harvesting radio designed and built by the Georgia Tech Propagation Group. PhD student researcher Cheng Qi has built a one-of-a-kind microwave backscatter reader and tag-sensor combo that will drive the mission science package.

The low-powered reader designed by our team deploys a sensor that unfurls a distance away from the spacecraft. The reader then energizes and receives backscatter information from the device using a 5.8 GHz transmission. The launch info can be tracked here.  Interesting articles on the launch can be found here and here.

The project was funded by NASA, but could not have been completed without private matching funds from the Space Solar Power Institute.  Complete with generator, retrodirective antenna, and rectenna harvester, the radio package qualifies as the first microwave space-based solar power satellite ever tested — despite the somewhat limited 1m range.  You have to start somewhere!

RFTSat (Radio Frequency Tag Satellite) CubeSat built by teams at Northwest Nazarene University and Georgia Tech. It will demonstrate RF energy harvesting and backscatter communication.

* AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-195 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • 2019 AMSAT Board of Directors Election Ballots Sent
  • New Orbitrack iOS app free for Apollo 11 Anniversary
  • Help Needed – JAISAT-1 Telemetry
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for July 11, 2019
  • How to Support AMSAT
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V 21309
Outer Space Model Rocket for Kids and Adults, Science Building Kit
(1900 pieces)