Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ham Radio Satellite Milestones

Former CQ columnists
Bill Orr, W6SAI (SK) and
George Jacobs, W3ASK,
hold the OSCAR-1
satellite shortly before its
launch in December 1961.
(Photo from CQ magazine,
used by permission)

December marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of OSCAR-1, the first amateur radio satellite and the first non-government satellite every placed in orbit. (See N6CL's "VHF-Plus" column on page 74 of the December issue of CQ for a look back.)

In addition, October marked the 30th anniversary of the launch of UoSat-1 (UO-9), built by the University of Surrey in England. According to the AMSAT News Service, UO-9 was the first amateur satellite to carry an on-board computer, to have battery and attitude management capabilities, a CCD camera and other features that became the foundation for amateur satellite technology in future years.