Radio amateurs to help London children talk to ISS

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

On Wednesday, November 4 pupils at the Eleanor Palmer Primary School in Camden, London should have the opportunity to speak to an astronaut in space thanks to an Amateur Radio Telebridge link via Australia. The audio will be streamed via the web and Echolink.

ARISS LogoAn International Space Station school contact has been planned with participants at Eleanor Palmer School, London, United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 4. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 09:51 GMT. It is recommended that you start listening approximately 10 minutes before this time. The duration of the contact is approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

The contact will be a telebridge between astronaut Kjell Lindgren KO5MOS, using the callsign NA1SS from the amateur radio station in the ISS Columbus module, and Martin Diggens VK6MJ in Western Australia. The contact should be audible over portions of Australia and adjacent areas.  Interested participants are invited to listen in on the 145.800 MHz FM downlink.

Audio from this contact will be available via the amateur radio Echolink system on node *AMSAT* (101377) and via the IRLP Node 9010 Discovery Reflector.

Streaming Audio will be able on the web at https://sites.google.com/site/arissaudio/

Audio on Echolink and web stream is generally started around 20 minutes prior to the contact taking place so that you can hear some of the preparation that occurs. IRLP will begin just prior to the ground station call to the
ISS.

Contact times are approximate. If the ISS executes a reboost or other manoeuvre, the AOS (Acquisition Of Signal) time may alter by a few minutes

Eleanor Palmer Primary School, a non-selective community school, is located in central London in the United Kingdom. London is an exciting and dynamic capital city and its schools are the best in the country, attributed to the social and ethnic diversity, excellent local leadership and the quality of teaching.

Eleanor Palmer is a relatively small school of around 220 pupils with single classes of 30 children per year. The youngest pupils are 3 years old and the oldest 11 years old. Due to the central London location it is a highly diverse and inclusive school with staff and children from many different backgrounds.

The pupils achieve highly as judged by national benchmarks. One of the core aims of the school is to inspire in all pupils a love of learning and the desire to continue to learn and they therefore seek to provide a rich and broad curriculum opening minds and creating opportunities. The school hope that their contact with the ISS will inspire pupils to go on to learn more about space through the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:

1.  What have you seen that is more beautiful than earth?

2.  Who or what inspired you to choose this job?

3.  Does being in space make you feel differently about earth?

4.  What can you learn from the ISS that you cannot learn on earth?

5.  Will normal people who are not astronauts be able to visit space in the ISS one day?

6.  How do you sleep?

7.  Is it quiet up there in the ISS?

8.  When you get back to earth, do you have to re-train your muscles?

9.  Can you call home?

10.  Do you all have to be scientists?

11.  What do you think is the most important things children should know about space?

12.  What time zone do you use?

13.  Do you have plants on the ISS?

14.  What has been your favourite experiment?

15.  How does your brain respond to micro gravity?

16.  How do you wash your clothes?

17.  If you cry in space, with laughter, what happens to your tears?

18.  What do you want to do when you come back to earth?

19.  How do you get enough oxygen?

20.  Is it more scary taking off from earth or returning to earth?

21.  What is your energy source on the ISS?

22.  What does it feel like to be in space?

23.  Is it always dark in space?

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) lets students worldwide experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station, inspiring them to pursue interests in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through amateur radio. http://www.ariss-eu.org/

A telebridge contact is where a dedicated ARISS amateur radio ground station, located somewhere in the world, establishes the radio link with the ISS. Voice communications between the students and the astronauts are then patched over regular telephone lines.
http://www.ariss-eu.org/ARISS%20Telebridge%20Guidelines.doc

What is Amateur Radio ? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Eleanor Palmer Primary School
http://www.eleanorpalmer.camden.sch.uk/news/countdown-to-iss-link-up/
Twitter @eleanorpalmersc

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Tim Peake KG5BVI and the ISS Astro Pi’s

Competition winner Hannah Belshaw with the Astro Pi flight unit. Hannah’s entry logs data from the Astro Pi sensors, and visualises it later using structures in a Minecraft world.

Competition winner Hannah Belshaw with the Astro Pi flight unit.
Hannah’s entry logs data from the Astro Pi sensors, and visualises it later using structures in a Minecraft world.

AMSAT-UK members are leading on the Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) Schools contacts programme for the upcoming Tim Peake Principia mission to the ISS. A number of high profile school contacts are planned to be carried out and this activity is being coordinated with the UK Space Agency as part of the overall Principia Educational Outreach programme.

Two specially augmented Raspberry Pi’s called Astro Pi‘s are planned to fly on an Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo freighter to the ISS in early December. They will be used by UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI during his Principia mission on the Space Station which is expected to commence in mid-December.

The Astro Pi’s are planned to run experimental Python programs written by young people in schools across the country; the results will be returned back to Earth at the end of the mission. ARISS/AMSAT-UK members are actively involved in discussions with the UK Space Agency, ESA, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and others to establish the feasibility of re-purposing one of the Astro Pi units, either within or post Tim Peake’s mission, to provide an alternative video source for the amateur radio HamTV transmitter in the ISS Columbus module. Additional discussions are ongoing with all parties for joint educational activities into the future with the Astro Pi units being networked and potentially enhancing the capability of the amateur radio station on board Columbus.

The main mission of HamTV is to perform contacts between the astronauts on the ISS and school students, not only by voice as now, but also by unidirectional video from the ISS to the ground. ARISS has been working with Goonhilly and hope to provide a video download facility via one of their large dishes for the schools contacts as well as attempting to receive the video at each school as part of the contact.

Principia mission http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Principia

School Shortlist for Tim Peake Space Station Contact
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/07/14/school-shortlist-tim-peake-iss/

HamTV http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/hamtv-on-the-iss/

Astro Pi http://astro-pi.org/
Twitter https://twitter.com/astro_pi

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Fort Worth students talk to ISS

Daggett Montessori Students - Credit Fort Worth ISD

Daggett Montessori Students – Credit Fort Worth ISD

Students at Daggett Montessori School in Fort Worth used amateur radio to talk to astronaut Kjell Lindgren KO5MOS, aboard the International Space Station.

Grace Jordan talks to the ISS

Grace Jordan talks to the ISS

Before the contact Cowtown Amateur Radio Club member Keith Pugh W5IU explained to the students how they are able to talk to the ISS.

The contact, which took place on Thursday, October 29, gave the students the opportunity to ask questions about life in space. The Star-Telegram newspaper reports Grace Jordan, a seventh-grader, wondered about the effects of microgravity on food digestion.

Kjell used the amateur radio station in the ESA ISS Columbus module callsign NA1SS, while the students used the station K5COW set up by Cowtown Amateur Radio Club in the school auditorium.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) lets students worldwide experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station, inspiring them to pursue interests in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through amateur radio.

Watch Daggett Montessori MS Talk to Space Station 2015

Read the Star-Telegram story at
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article41837055.html

ARISS http://ariss.org/

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Proposed 50-54 MHz Agenda Item for WRC-19

Logo WRC RA 2015Details have been released by Ofcom of the UK positions for WRC-15 which takes place in Geneva, November 2-27, 2015.

Ofcom’s statement references the document containing the European Common Proposals for agenda items for the next conference, WRC-19. One proposal is EUR-A25-2 – Primary allocation of the band 50-54 MHz to the Amateur Service in Region 1. The inclusion of this proposal is very welcome since it would facilitate further worldwide harmonization.

Although the proposal only references the Amateur Service such an allocation would be of great benefit to the Amateur Satellite Service.

A 50 MHz Amateur Satellite allocation would offer:
• low Doppler shift
• good link budget requirements
• relieve pressure on the only existing VHF amateur satellite allocation on 145 MHz.

Doppler
A 50 MHz signal from a satellite in an 800 km orbit would have a Doppler shift of +/-1.1 kHz during a 15 minute pass compared with +/-3.27 kHz at 145 MHz greatly easing tuning requirements.

Link Budget
The free space path loss at 50 MHz would be 9.2 dB lower than on 145 MHz. A low path loss is particularly important for small satellites with a limited power budget such as CubeSats or PocketQubes. These satellites may be just 10x10x10 cm or smaller and the limited surface area restricts the amount of solar power than can be generated. Typical transmitter output powers range between 100 mW and 400 mW. This power might be shared by a beacon and up to 5 SSB stations in the transponder passband, giving maybe 50 mw per station. Because of their size these satellites have to use simple omni-directional antennas such as a dipole or monopole

Satellite antennas for this band will need to be kept to a manageable size, this will help drive experimentation and innovation in antenna design for these frequencies. Where the band is used as a satellite uplink there is no need to utilize a full size antenna.

The low path loss of this band could facilitate the development of compact rapid deployment satellite ground stations utilizing omni-directional antennas for emergency communication scenarios.

Relieve Congestion
The existing satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz is already congested with satellite downlinks. Most frequencies are already in use by four or more satellites. An additional VHF allocation would relieve the pressure.

ITU Footnote 5.282
This footnote currently covers the Amateur Satellite Service UHF and Microwave allocations between 435 MHz and 6 GHz.
It would be desirable if the footnote could be expanded to include operation in 50-51 MHz.
http://life.itu.int/radioclub/rr/arsfoot.htm

Read the European Common Position on Agenda Item 10

Ofcom statement http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/wrc15/statement/UK_Positions_for_WRC-15.pdf

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Detailed information on the hunt for XO53

SSETI Express LogoFollowing on from the brief notes provided earlier, AMSAT-UK now have been given exclusive access to the full SSETI Express Phase E 400-800 THz Downlink Report. This report provides a clear insight into the work carried out during their recent campaign and to methods and equipment used.

It is worthy of note that ten years ago there was only one radio amateur in the launch team and that, since then, four of the other five team members have now obtained their licences.

Read the EXPRESS_E_ESA_2015-10-27_-_400-800_THz_Downlink_Report

As the report states, further observations will be much appreciated!

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Young people build antennas at Goonhilly

Young people build antennas at GoonhillyYear 11 students have been spending a week’s work experience at Goonhilly Earth Station learning about radio and satellite receivers. They researched and built a low-cost receiver using the FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Software Defined Radio.

Watch the video How to listen to the International Space Station

Goonhilly Earth Station http://www.goonhilly.org/

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ SDR http://FUNcubeDongle.com/

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Tenth Anniversary of XO-53 Launch

SSETI Express XO-53 streaks across the dark Swedish sky on October 27, 2015. Two images combined, and zoomed. As you can see, they caught a flare. The gap in the middle is when the mirror of the camera was moving in between shots. The two stars marked are the upper two of The Plough.

SSETI Express XO-53 streaks across the dark Swedish sky on October 27, 2015.
Two images combined, and zoomed. As you can see, they caught a flare.
The gap in the middle is when the mirror of the camera was moving in between shots.
The two stars marked are the upper two of The Plough.

The XO-53 (SSETI Express) satellite was launched October 27, 2005 at 06:52 UT on board a Kosmos 3M rocket launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in central Russia.

SSETI Express XO-53

SSETI Express XO-53

SSETI Express was developed by the Education Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the “Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative”. The satellite measures 60x60x70 cm with a mass of about 50 kg. It was built by university students from a number of teams from all across Europe and assembled at the ESA ESTEC facility in the Netherlands.

AMSAT-UK provided a 3 watt S band transmitter to the project – on the basis that it could be linked to the UHF receiver for operation as a single channel FM voice transponder when all the experiments have been completed. The unit also incorporates its own switch mode power supply and a 38k4 TNC to allow the rapid downlinking of data – especially necessary for the camera experiment.

Shortly after launch SSETI deployed three CubeSats, XI-V, UWE-1 and Ncube-2, developed by university students. After deploying the CubeSats, XO-53’s batteries stopped charging and the spacecraft went silent.

ESRANGE in Arctic Sweden

ESRANGE in Arctic Sweden

On the 10th Anniversary of the SSETI Express Launch a crack squad of geeks, Neil Melville-Kenney PA9N, Graham Shirville G3VZV, Karl Kaas OZ2KK, Sascha Tietz KJ6LIL and Lars Mehnen OE3HWM, headed to the ESRANGE facility in Northern Sweden to attempt to SEE the spacecraft for the first time in a decade.

They successfully captured images of the satellite as it streaked across the dark Swedish sky.

Read the AMSAT-UK SSETI Express Handbook

Read the Story of the birth of the On Board Computer for SSETI Express by Karl Kaas

AMSAT-UK has been given exclusive access to the report on the hunt for SSETI Express. Read the SSETI Express Phase E – 400-800 THz Downlink Report

Further pictures are available on the Facebook page of Neil Melville-Kenney PA9N

Explanation of the SSETI Express XO-53 observed flare in terms of the two images captured on Oct. 27, 2015. Note, the team couldn't use mirror lock-up in combination with the specific remote. Hence the wobble.

Explanation of SSETI Express observed flare in terms of the two images captured Oct. 27, 2015
Note team couldn’t use mirror lock-up in combination with the specific remote, hence wobble

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UKube-1 CubeSat Completes Mission

UKube-1 in flight configuration in the cleanroom at Clyde Space Ltd - Credit Steve Greenland 2M0SCG

UKube-1 in flight configuration in the cleanroom at Clyde Space Ltd – Credit Steve Greenland 2M0SCG

UKube-1, the UK Space Agency’s first national spacecraft, has now completed its nominal mission following over 14 months of operations. Discussion is underway with AMSAT-UK about the possibility of taking over UKube-1 operations to continue its educational and outreach activities.

UKube-1 CubeSat installed in Deployment Pod

UKube-1 CubeSat installed in Deployment Pod

Launched in July 2014, UKube-1 is a technology demonstration mission with a broad set of objectives aimed at attracting and training future generations of engineers, encouraging collaboration across sectors and institutions, fast tracking space technology development and engaging with students.

As a 3 unit CubeSat (30x30x10cm), flying 4 main payloads, with all the key subsystems of much larger satellites, UKube-1 remains one of the most advanced CubeSats ever built. Despite some technical challenges in orbit, the mission has achieved a range of milestones including:

• delivery into the correct planned orbit (around 650km, sun-synchronous)
• successful deployment of solar panels and antenna
• good battery health
• slow spin rate measured
• uplink and downlink capabilities checked, including Large Data Transfer, downlink at 3 speeds, and redundant communications mode
• all core payloads commissioned and data collected for each
• on-board camera technology successfully tested
• data downlinked from multiple ground stations across the globe

UKube-1 has also helped maintain the UK’s leading position in the CubeSat sector. Participation in the mission placed Clyde Space in an excellent position to capitalise on the fast growing global nanosatellite market. The company has experienced 100% year on year growth, both in turnover and employees, as a direct result from involvement in UKube-1, and is firmly established as a global leader.

Andy Strain and Steve Greenland 2M0SCG in Kazakhstan with UKube-1 and Deployment Pod

Andy Strain and Steve Greenland 2M0SCG in Kazakhstan with UKube-1 and Deployment Pod

Mark McCrum, Bright Ascension Ltd, said:

“UKube-1 provided us with an invaluable opportunity to gain flight heritage for our software technology and to get deeply involved in the operation of a complex CubeSat mission. It gave a huge boost to our credibility as a space software provider and has been instrumental in winning further work.”

Craig Clark, CEO Clyde Space Ltd, said:

“UKube-1 represents a pivotal achievement in the development and growth of Clyde Space. The project moved the company from being a spacecraft subsystems supplier to providing full missions for our customers. To give some context to the extent that Ukube-1 has had to our business, Clyde Space has more than quadrupled in size in the last 3 years and there are currently over 60 CubeSats planned through production here in Glasgow over the next 18 months. The return on investment for Ukube-1 in terms of jobs and export sales for the UK has been outstanding and is a great example of industry and the UK Space Agency working together to put the UK at the forefront of global space technology.”

Professor Andrew Holland, Open University, added:

“Involvement in the UKube-1 mission, though our C3D instrument, has had a positive effect on our research and technology programme within the Space Instrumentation Group at the Open University, as well as a positive effect on our technology partners in the project; XCAM Ltd and e2v Ltd. The project has helped the OU to build a new strand of instrument development within the group, raised awareness of the CubeSat platform as a potential vehicle to accelerate the development of scientific space instrumentation, and has provided early in-orbit-demonstration of technologies. The mission introduced us to new academic and industrial collaborators operating in the space sector and supported the career development of the young engineers and scientists working on the project.”

Dr Helen Walker at the AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium - Credit DK3WN

Dr Helen Walker at the AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium – Credit DK3WN

STFC’s RAL Space provided the Ground Station for the misison at Chilbolton Observatory in Hampshire UK, and UKube-1 operations were commanded from there. Mission Manager Dr Helen Walker said:

“It has been a very exciting time, made possible only with the great support from all the teams involved.”

Although the Agency-supported mission phase has ended, discussion is underway with AMSAT-UK about the possibility of taking over UKube-1 operations to continue its educational and outreach activities until the satellite orbit naturally degrades.

More information about UKube-1 can be found in the missions section of the UK Space Agency website https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/ukube-1

Source https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukube-1-completes-mission

UKube-1 carries a set of AMSAT-UK FUNcube boards which provide an educational beacon for use by schools and a linear transponder for amateur radio communications.

UKube-1 nominal frequencies:
• 145.840 MHz Telemetry downlink
• 145.915 MHz FUNcube subsystem beacon
• 400 mW inverting SSB/CW linear transponder
– 435.080-435.060 MHz Uplink
– 145.930-145.950 MHz Downlink

Dr Helen Walker gave a presentation on UKube-1 to the 2015 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford.

Watch UKube-1: technology, mission and operations – Dr Helen Walker

UKube-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/ukube-1/

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Radiocommunication Assembly opens in Geneva

Delegates at the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly October 26, 2015

Delegates at the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly October 26, 2015

The ITU Radiocommunication Assembly (RA-15) has opened in Geneva ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) which commences next week.

Logo WRC RA 2015The Radiocommunication Assembly, which is responsible for the structure, programme and approval of radiocommunication studies, runs from October 26-30 followed by WRC-15 from November 2-27.

There are a number of agenda items for WRC-15 which may impact amateur radio, among them are:

• Agenda Item 1.1 – Additional allocations for Mobile (IMT) services and applications

• Agenda Item 1.4 Amateur service, on a secondary basis, in the 5250–5450 kHz band

• Agenda Item 1.10 – Additional mobile satellite IMT allocations in the 22-26 GHz range

• Agenda Item 1.18 – Radar for automotive applications in 77.5-78.0 GHz

• Agenda Item 9.1, issue 9.1.8 – Regulatory aspects for nano and pico-satellites

Pictures of the RA-15 Opening Plenary can be seen at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/22302633870/in/dateposted

RA-15 http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/conferences/RA/2015/Pages/default.aspx

WRC-15 http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/conferences/wrc/2015/Pages/default.aspx

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University of Southampton CubeSat Program

Aleksander Lidtke at 2014 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium - Image DK3WN

Aleksander Lidtke at 2014 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium – Image DK3WN

The University of Southampton is developing its own CubeSat with a view to obtaining a free launch on the VEGA launch vehicle.

University of Southampton Small Satellite is a group of students, primarily from a physics background, who aim to get a fully functional satellite into space, possibly by the end of 2016. Over a number of years they have designed the structure, the power, attitude control and the onboard processing and work is continuing on the development and integration of these subsystems into a full operational system.

Wessex Scene recently published an article about the project which included an interview with Aleksander Lidtke who in 2014 gave a presentation about the CubeSat to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford.

Phil Crump M0DNY has released a video showing the first step of the Southampton University Spaceflight CubeSat Telecommand Board construction.

Watch SUSF Telecommand Prototype: AVR + Switches + LEDs Demo

Wessex Scene article https://www.wessexscene.co.uk/science/2015/10/17/the-final-frontier-how-a-group-of-university-of-southampton-students-aim-to-get-a-satellite-into-space/

Watch the 2014 presentation by Aleksander Lidtke at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uWdPkHObJw

Videos of other presentations and PDF’s of the slides are available at
http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/presentation-videos/

University of Southampton Small Satellite UoS³ Cubesat Program
http://generic.wordpress.soton.ac.uk/uos3/

Southampton University Spaceflight Ground Station
http://susf.co.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=cubesat_ground_station

Follow SUSF on Twitter @SUSpaceflight

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