Monday, March 9, 2020

Satellite Roundup: Three New "Birds" in Orbit; AO-85 Reaches "End of Mission"

(Univ. of Washington
Three new cubesats carrying amateur radio payloads are now in orbit. 

HuskySat-1, built by students at the University of Washington, was deployed from the International Space Station on January 31 and has been operating well so far. 

On February 19, the von Karman Institute's QARMAN satellite and Arizona State University's Phoenix cubesat were both deployed from the ISS. The AMSAT News Service notes that the latter two satellites are using the same downlink frequency, 437.350 MHz, for telemetry transmissions and are in very similar orbits, so it may take a while for trackers to determine which one they're hearing at any given time.
NEMO buoy
(From AMSAT-
LU website)

AMSAT-OSCAR 85 - the first AMSAT cubesat - has reached its "end of mission" after four-and-a-half years in orbit. The AMSAT News Service reports that the satellite went silent in mid-February after a long period of decline in its batteries. 

And AMSAT-Argentina has made a different kind of launch, deploying the NEMO-1 propagation research buoy in the Atlantic Ocean on January 30. According to the AMSAT News Service, the buoy was drifting free for 12 days before being picked up by a fishing boat captain who felt it was sailing "semi-sunk" and decided to rescue it. AMSAT-LU plans to redeploy the buoy farther out at sea to continue its propagation research mission.