Monday, November 28, 2016

Amateur Satellite Roundup

Chinese middle school students work on CAS-2T satellite
(Photo via AMSAT-UK website)
A ham satellite designed by middle school students in China was launched in early November, carrying a 2-meter/70-centimeter FM transponder. 

CAS-2T, also known as "Dream 1," was a "technical verification satellite" for the CAMSAT CAS-2 series of ham radio satellites, according to the ARRL. The satellite was not intended to separate from its launcher, so an orbital lifespan of only 10-30 days was expected.

FUNcube-3, also known as EO-79, has been activated for ham use on a regular schedule. Due to limitations on the satellite's power budget, the AMSAT News Service says it will initially be turned on 27 minutes after entering sunlight on each orbit and then operate for only 25 minutes before shutting down until the next orbit. EO-79 has a single-sideband transponder with an uplink on 70 centimeters and a downlink on 2 meters.

Satellite contacts may return to the  HF bands if students at the U.S. Naval Academy are successful in building and launching a cubesat with a 15-meter uplink and 10-meter downlink. According to the ARRL Letter, the students' goal is to "demonstrate the viability of HF satellite communications as a backup communication system using ubiquitous HF radios that are often a part of every amateur station." There have been no HF amateur satellites in operation since Russia's RS-12/13 in the 1990s. No launch date has been set.

The AMSAT News Service also reports that the White House is launching an initiative to promote the development of more microsatellites, with at least $50 million provided for the effort, being administered by NASA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. More details are available at <>.