Two satellites carrying amateur radio digipeaters were launched into a medium-Earth orbit (3,665 miles) in mid-July aboard the inaugural launch of the ArianeSpace Vega-C rocket. The AMSAT News Service reports that the digipeaters aboard the AstroBio and Greencube satellites may be useful for long-distance digital QSOs.
In addition, ten Russian “Radioskaf” cubesats were released into orbit from the International Space Station during a spacewalk on July 21. According to the Radioskaf website, the new satellites, all of which operate on the 70-centimeter band, are intended to form a peer-to-peer information network, study Earth’s magnetic field, measure radio noise in outer space and transmit both slow-scan TV images and voice messages to amateurs on the ground. The voice messages will be transmitted in eight different languages.
(Image: Arianespace Vega-C launch vehicle; European Space Agency image)