Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – June.2.2019

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

[ Update: A satellite developed by China’s AMSAT group and the Beijing Institute of Technology ( BIT ) is set to launch this month on a Chinese commercial rocket:

From ARRL:

… the CAS-7B satellite, also designated as BP-1B, a short-lived spacecraft that will carry an Amateur Radio payload. An unusual feature of the spacecraft is its “sail ball” passive stabilization system. The 1.5-U CubeSat is attached to a 500-millimeter flexible film ball — or sail — that will offer passive “pneumatic resistance” stabilization. CAS-7B is expected to remain in orbit for up to 1 month.

The spacecraft will carry an Amateur Radio transponder and educational mission. CAMSAT is working with Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), a top aerospace school, which is providing launch support in launch of the satellite. BIT faculty and students are participating in the development and testing of the satellite, and, with CAMSAT’s help, the university has established an Amateur Radio club (call sign BI1LG). CAMSAT said many students are now members, “learning Amateur Radio satellite communication and experience[ing] endless fun.”

The CAMSAT BP-1B/CAS-7B cubesat duringa thermal vacuum test with the “sail ball” deployed.


**  Dubai university ground station to allow students to communicate with, monitor and control SmallSats in orbit: Amity University in Dubai opens satellite ground station on campus – SatellitePro ME

The next phase of this project involves the construction of a 4U (40 cm3) CubeSat in accordance with the UAE’s Environment Vision 2030.

Amity University, Dubai has launched a satellite ground station on their campus, which will allow students to track satellites, predict weather patterns and pollution levels, as reported by Khaleej Times.

The station at Amity University is aimed at garnering the participation of students studying aerospace, electrical, electronics, computer science or nanotechnology engineering.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr Vajhat Hussain, CEO of Amity University Dubai, as quoted by the English daily, said: “The main goal of the ground station is to give students the opportunity to perform the following operations – telemetry data visualisation and storage, antenna control and positioning system, radio communication using very high frequency (VHF) and satellite data analysis. Through this initiative, students will not only learn how to read and analyse such data but also get the support they need for research projects.”

** California high school offers CubeSat program for students: Lab launches engineering students’ lofty dreams | Simi Valley Acorn

Creating satellites to explore space is no longer just for adults.

At Grace Brethren High School, a group of about 20 students have made it their mission to launch a small satellite into orbit by 2020.

Known as CubeSat, the device contains a payload that can be monitored from the ground and is equipped with small yet strong LED lights that will send satellite-operating information to the mission operations center at the Grace Brethren Space Lab, said Annabelle Hynes, an 18-year-old graduate who worked on the project.

“Being the only girl involved in the spacecraft class and working on CubeSat has been an interesting experience, and we’ve gotten to do a lot of really exciting, hands-on things with this project,” Annabelle said.

“We’re still figuring out the basics, but . . . the plan is to track the satellite from the school and communicate with it. It will be open to other organizations so they can use the data we collect.”

** University College Dublin student team building EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite: Celtic New Space: Scotland’s Clyde Space To Provide CubeSat Platform For Ireland’s EIRSAT-1 – SpaceWatch.Global

EIRSAT-1 will be fully designed, assembled, tested and operated in Ireland by staff and students at UCD. This is primarily a technology demonstration and science mission with three payloads, a gamma-ray detector, a materials science experiment and a novel spacecraft control algorithm. It will also demonstrate a low-profile UHF/VHF Antenna Deployment Mechanism. Clyde Space are providing UCD with its full set of CubeSat avionics, including a flight proven onboard computer, an attitude determination and control system and its high-performance power system products.

** Australian university team develops antenna for system to allow continuous ground contact with SmallSats in low earth orbit: New antenna system enables 24/7 connectivity to space – The Lighthouse/Macquarie University

Led by Professor Karu Esselle of the School of Engineering, the team has developed an antenna system with a steerable beam which will enable scientific data downloading from spacecrafts to labs on earth 24 hours a day.

As the first move towards rapidly growing space systems, the low-profile antenna system was designed for US company Audacy who launched the world’s first entirely Ka-band CubeSat (a type of miniaturised satellite that can be used for a variety of space applications including earth imaging, astronomy, science experiments, climate monitoring and surveillance) called Audacy Zero into space via a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket in December 2018.

Audacy, a company spun off Stanford University and based in California, is developing the world’s first commercial inter-satellite data relay network. Audacy Zero was the first iteration of a radio that will enable Audacy customers’ spacecraft to connect to this network.

“Data from your CubeSat will travel through the relay system down to earth to the internet and cloud,” explains Prof Esselle.

“Without such a space relay network, a CubeSat can be seen from a fixed ground station only for a few minutes per day and that is often not enough to download all the data collected by the CubeSat.

See also:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-153 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • Dollar-for-Dollar Match on your ARISS Donation Thru June 17, 2019
  • Call for Nominations – AMSAT Board of Directors
  • AMSAT Field Day on the Satellites
  • Lightsail-2 Scheduled for Launch June 22 – Beacon on 437.025 MHz
  • AMSAT-EA FossaSat-1 Receives IARU Coordination
  • QO-100 meets HAM RADIO 2019 in Friedrichshafen
  • ARISS SSTV Planned Over Russia for Moscow Aviation Institute
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Send Your Name (and callsign) to Mars
  • RS-10 Downlink Provides Unique Troubleshooting Solution
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:


The Case for Space:
How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up
a Future of Limitless Possibility

Videos: “Space to Ground” ISS report – June.1.2019

The latest episode of NASA’s Space To Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Three commercial teams were chosen by NASA’s Artemis lunar program to send landers and rovers to the Moon:

** Time-lapse Earth Flyover from NASA astronaut on the ISS:

This time-lapse video taken by NASA astronaut Nick Hague squeezes a 30-minute International Space Station trip over a cloudy Earth into 60 seconds, covering the Pacific to the Atlantic.

** A NASA video promoting the Artemis lunar program with the help of commercial and international partners:


Moon Rush: The New Space Race