AMSAT and ISS amateur radio news

Go to AMSAT News for the latest headlines about developments in amateur and student satellites and for updates about amateur radio on the ISS.

ANS 272 Weekly AMSAT Bulletin –  Sept.28 2013:
* Vandenberg Falcon 9 Launch Rescheduled for 29 September
* E. Mike McCardel, KC8YLD Appointed AMSAT VP-Educational Relations
* 2013 Symposium Commemorative Shirt Order Deadline
* September/October AMSAT Journal is Ready
* Chesapeake VA Club Conducts Demos in Support of STEM Education
* New AMSAT Shirts and Hat Rolled Out for 2013
* Successful ARISS Contact in Italy

Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo module captured with ISS robotic arm

Congratulations to Orbital Sciences and NASA on the successful capture of the Cygnus module by the robotic arm under the control of US astronaut Karen Nyberg and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano.

The module will be slowly brought up to the Harmony module for berthing around 9:00 am EDT.


[ Update Sept.30.13: Here is a NASA video of highlights of the capture and berthing:



It’s a busy day for NewSpace. At noon today, SpaceX is scheduled to launch its upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 for the first time.

NewSpace Watch, for which I am the managing editor, reports daily on exciting developments in commercial spaceflight like the Cygnus mission and Falcon 9 launch. Costs are dropping and capabilities are rising with the innovations by companies such as these that are pursuing innovative ways to reach and develop space. Subscribe for just $4.95 per month.

Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship approaching the ISS

Watch the Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship on NASA TV as it approaches the International Space Station for the first time:

Live streaming video by Ustream

Update: Get updates on the approach to the berthing at Twitter / Search – #Cygnus.

Update 2: Background information on this commercial cargo demonstration mission can be found at Orb-D1 COTS Demonstration.

A successful berthing will mean that NASA now has two commercial providers of cargo for the ISS. SpaceX has previously carried out one demo and two operational cargo missions to the ISS.

The entire program, including the development of two rockets (SpaceX Falcon 9 and the Orbital Sciences Antares) and two cargo carriers (SpaceX Dragon capsule and Orbital’s Cygnus module) cost the agency around $900M. This is less than than 2/3 the cost of a single Space Shuttle mission.

Sci-Tech: Carter Aviation makes progress on high speed, long distance VTOL/STOL aircraft

I’ve been following Carter Aviation Technologies for years as they developed their Slowed-Rotor/Compound (“SR/C™”) Technology, which

couples the speed, range and efficiency of an airplane with the vertical takeoff and landing (“VTOL”) capability of a helicopter and is scalable in size from very small unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) to large transport aircraft the size of a Boeing 767 equivalent. Whether incorporated into a non-powered rotor (transient hover capable) or a powered rotor (continuous / sustained hover capable) configuration, SR/C Technology offers the same extraordinary benefits during cruise flight in terms of dramatically enhanced speed and range performance.

The tips of their rotors have lead or tungsten weights that keep the rotors stiff as they are slowed down in horizontal flight. Slowing the rotors greatly improves the horizontal flight efficiency and the vehicles can go much faster than helicopters. The weighted tips prevent the rotors from flopping around and causing instabilities.

Here is a video of recent test flights of their Personal Air Vehicle prototype plus some animations of larger vehicles based on the same technologies: