Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Satellite Roundup

Es'hail-2, also known as Phase 4A, is the first
amateur radio satellite in geosynchronous
orbit (Photo courtesy Es'hailsat)
The first geosynchronous amateur radio satellite successfully orbited was undergoing in-orbit testing in early January. AMSAT-DL, Germany's amateur satellite organization, was conducting the transponder tests on the Phase 4-A, or Es'hail-2, satellite. Owned by the Qatar Satellite Company, Es'hail 2 has been moved to its permanent orbital position over Africa at 25.5ยบ east longitude.  According to AMSAT-UK, the satellite is expected to provide continuous access to hams from Brazil to Thailand.
If you think packet radio is dead, don't look up. A new packet system has been delivered to the International Space Station, where it was awaiting installation at press time. According to the ARRL Letter, the original packet system aboard the space station relayed nearly 89,000 messages, or roughly 250 per day, in the first half of 2017 before failing in July of that year. The original system had been in regular use for some 17 years. Timing of the new installation will depend on crew availability.

Two amateur satellites carrying D-STAR payloads were launched in late December aboard a Russian Soyuz flight. As of press time, beacon transmissions had been successfully received from both D-STAR-ONE-Sparrow and D-STAR-ONE-iSAT.  A third hams satellite was deployed on the same launch, this one carrying a packet digipeater on 70 centimeters.

Finally in satellite news, the AMSAT News Service reports that a Polish student satellite - PW-Sat2 - with a downlink-only transmitter of 435 MHz, deployed a student-built deorbiting sail it was intended to test. Video of the deployment is available on YouTube at <>.