Friday, September 1, 2017

Satellite Roundup

Two of the three Russian cubesats launched in August
(AMSAT-UK Photo)

Three Russian cubesats were deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) during a spacewalk on August 17. According the AMSAT News Service, one of the three satellites has casings made with 3D-printed materials and will test the effects of low-Earth-orbit on their composition and durability. A second satellite transmits recorded greetings in 11 different languages, and the third marks the 60th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1 as well as the 160th birthday of noted Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovskly. 

The crossband repeater on the ISS was being used to relay signals from two of these cubesats, as controllers feared they were spinning more than expected and hoped that the receiver on the ISS repeater could pick up and relay telemetry that wasn't making it back to Earth. As of late August, hams were being asked not to try to use the ISS repeater to avoid interference with this relay.

In late June, six tiny "Sprite" satellites were launched from India. The ARRL Letter, referencing an article in Scientific American, said each Sprite consisted of a 4-gram circuit board packed with different experiments and are carried as secondary payloads by larger satellies. Signals from at least one of them (all three are on the same frequency) have been received back on Earth.
AMSAT's RadFxSat/Fox-1B satellite has been integrated into a deployment container called a P-POD and is now ready for launch. The AMSAT News Service says the launch is currently scheduled for November 10. Such dates, of course, are always subject to change.