Welcome to launch week!
Well it has finally arrived. Little did we think, back in 2009 that we would not be launching FUNcube-1 until late 2013 but, at last, we are almost there.
The past four years have been spent trying to find a suitable launch opportunity, dealing with many legal and administrative issues, in addition to finalising the technical requirements for the spacecraft. We also then had to convert those requirements and ideas into reality.
The core FUNcube team comprises of just about a dozen of us – radio amateurs from the UK and the Netherlands together with software specialists from both countries. A few of us even have skills in both the analogue and digital domains!
We have met on numerous occasions for “face to face” meetings over weekends and held weekly Skype chats almost every Sunday evening. We have had highs and lows along the way but the end result – FUNcube-1 our tiny spacecraft is now sitting in an ISIPOD on the launch vehicle ready to take its chances in space on Thursday. Many hours of evaluation and verification testing of both the Flight Model and also the earlier Engineering Model have been undertaken, so we are as confident as we can be that we have done the best job possible.
This mission could not have been carried forward without the efforts of the team members but neither could it have been completed without the tremendous support that it has received from individual radio amateurs and others and other AMSAT groups around the world.
Thursday November 21st 2013 is our launch day and most of the team will be assembled at the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park to man a monitoring station for at least the first two days following the launch.The first signals from FUNcube-1 should be heard in Southern Africa and then in Hawaii and then Alaska. After that, we hope to hear signals in the UK on a very low pass to the east around 08:50 UTC.
We are very grateful to the RSGB for their support in allowing the use the NRC facilities which should be perfect for this operation. http://www.nationalradiocentre.com/ Although it is not large enough to be able issue an open invitation to everyone to join us on the day, we will be trying to do our best to keep everyone in touch with what is happening.
We will be setting up a webstream from the NRC using the services of the BATC.tv server http://www.batc.tv/ch_live.php?ch=3 This should be available from around 07:00 UTC on Thursday and will keep running for as long as we have something to show. As well as shackcam views it will also have a breaking news “tickertape” and some videos created during the development of the spacecraft.
Additionally we will maintain a presence on the #cubesat IRC channel which can be easily accessed by a web client from here: http://webchat.freenode.net/
Of course this website will also be kept up to date as possible and updates will be provided on AMSAT-BB.
So all we ask everyone to do now is to, download the FUNcube Dashboard, read the guidance notes, register with the Data Warehouse and hang on for an interesting Thursday. Oh and keep your fingers crossed.
Very many thanks for your support!