Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Good News, Bad News, From Orbit


 AMSAT-NA's first cubesat - formerly known as Fox-1A and now AMSAT-OSCAR 85 - has been formally commissioned and is now in regular amateur service. It apparently suffers from a lack of
sensitivity, according to the AMSAT News Service, so AMSAT is recommending a minimum uplink power level of 200 watts EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power). Contacts have been made using 5 watts and a gain antenna such as an Arrow handheld Yagi.


Meanwhile, AMSAT-UK reports that efforts to deploy the experimental de-orbiting sail on the University of Surrey's DeorbitSail satellite have proven unsuccessful, so the control team is refocusing on making the best use of what does work aboard the satellite, which was launched last July. One goal of the project was to demonstrate the use of a deployable sail to quickly slow the satellite's orbit and speed up a planned re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.