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AO73/FUNcube-1 is entering a further period of full sunlight

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AO73/FUNcube-1 has been in space for almost five years and the original Sun Synchronous Orbit has now changed slightly such that the spacecraft will no longer be in eclipse for 35 mins every orbit.

The eclipse period has already reduced and will again become zero on September 8th 2018. This means that our usual autonomous switching between transponder on in eclipse and high-power telemetry when in sunlight will no longer be effective!

This schedule was originally planned to provide a very strong telemetry signal for schools to use during daylight hours and for amateur operation at night (and also at weekends and over holidays).

We have already experienced a short period of full sunlight but this time it looks like the spacecraft will be in this situation for more than eight months until sometime in April next year.

In addition to the additional thermal effect that will occur during this period, we also expect that the spin rate will increase. The reason for this effect is not yet fully understood but may be related to the amount of current flowing from the solar panels to the spacecraft bus being sufficient to cause a torque effect with the earth’s magnetic field.

23augillumination

We have therefore decided to have AO73/FUNcube-1 initially operate for alternate periods of one week in either safe or educational modes. This should enable us to evaluate whether the currents do affect the spin rate. Safe mode provides low power telemetry and education mode the usual high power telemetry. It will also enable an analysis to see whether the satellite becomes hotter or cooler in each mode.

This schedule may be changed in light of experience and we will update everyone on such changes via the AMSAT-BB in the usual way.

The new schedule will be put into effect on Friday 31st August 2018.

This will be a new experience for the spacecraft so the capture of the largest possible amount of telemetry remains an important tool for the team to have. We are very grateful to everyone who continues to upload the telemetry they have received to the Data Warehouse. It is invaluable.

In addition to AO73/FUNcube-1, the FUNcube-2 transponder on UKube-1 remains operational and EO88/Nayif-1 continues to operate autonomously with the transponder on when in eclipse and high- power telemetry in sunlight.

 

 

 

 

 

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AO73/FUNcube-1 Illumination – update 1

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The time when AO73 enters continuous sunlight, for the first time, is fast approaching. Current estimates show that this will commence on February 6th and last through until March 13th.

Obviously, the autonomous switching system that the spacecraft has been using to switch between amateur mode, with the transponder on in eclipse and educational mode with high power telemetry only in sunlight, will no longer work.

Already the periods of eclipse are reducing quite rapidly and we are therefore planning for manual mode switching to take be undertaken. This will start from the week beginning Jan 21st and will follow this initial plan.

Wednesday evening (UTC) or Thursday morning – switch to full time amateur mode – ie transponder on with low power telemetry.

Sunday evening (UTC) or Monday morning – switch to full time educational mode with high power telemetry only.

So if you are planning school demonstrations or particular  DXpeditions please take this new schedule into account.

The team may have to flex this plan with experience as this situation was not allowed for in the original mission plan!

AO73/FUNcube-1 spin period and illumination

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The attitude of AO73/FUNcube-1 is passively stabilised using the traditional magnet and two hysteresis rods. Since the launch over four years ago we have been intrigued with the resultant actual spin rate/period which seems to vary over time for reasons that have not yet been properly explained.!cid_part2_D32CA4A6_34E80464@bigpond_net

This graphic, which has been developed from telemetry received and maintained by Colin, VK3HI, and his team, shows the variations in some detail. Explanations would be gratefully received.

As it is expected that illumination levels may be having an influence, the next few months and years will prove interesting. The spacecraft will be entering periods of continuous sunlight. Initially this will be for a six-week period but then for periods of up to nine months!Screenshot 2017-11-25 16.58.03

This illustration from Mike, DK3WN’s, illum.exe software shows the predicted duration of the first period.

 

 

FUNcube-1 celebrates its 4th birthday

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Today, November 21st 2017, marks the fourth birthday for FUNcube-1 in orbit.

FUNcube-1 was launched at 07:10 UTC on November 21st 2013 and its first signals were received immediately after deployment over the Indian Ocean by amateurs in South Africa. Since then it has been operating continuously in either its education mode or, with the transponder active, in amateur mode when in eclipse and at weekends.

The spacecraft has spent the four years in space orbiting the earth at between 640 and 580 km and has now travelled around the earth more than 20,000 times. That represents a distance travelled of approaching 500 million miles.

Up to now, each of the orbits has been spilt approximately 65% in sunlight and 35% in eclipse. This has resulted in the temperatures inside the small spacecraft varying by about 25o C during each orbit.

fc1 tempriseDuring the recent AMSAT Colloquium, Wouter, PA3WEG, during his presentation about the FUNcube project mentioned that the power available from the solar panels has been slowly increasing since launch. This observation led the team to do some further investigations as to the cause.

Although the launch was into a nominally Sun Synchronous orbit, over time this has drifted and the spacecraft is now entering a period when it will be in the sun for longer periods during each orbit.

The exact details are still being determined, but it seems likely that, starting from January 2018, there will be periods when the spacecraft will be in the sun for all, or almost all, of its orbits. Of course, this means that the on-board temperatures will be much higher than we have previously experienced in flight, although we have some test records from pre-flight thermal air testing that were undertaken after integration.

The key will be to discover what the equilibrium temperature will be internally. For comparison, AO85 has already “enjoyed” periods of full sun and its internal temperatures have reached up to around 55o C.

So the next few months will be quite an exciting time for the team! We remain extremely grateful to everyone is using the spacecraft for both its educational and amateur missions. Of course we are also very very grateful to those who are downloading the telemetry and uploading the data to the Data Warehouse. It continues to provide a unique record of “life on board” a 1U CubeSat in space.

Jordan’s first satellite – JY1-SAT

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During the final satellite integration training for Jordan’s first satellite, JY1-SAT, the team was supported for the final stages of integration by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II. The spacecraft has been given to students of the Masar Initiative at the Jordan University of Science and Technology as part of the JY1-SAT mission support and training program under the Crown Prince Foundation given by ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space and AMSAT UK and AMSAT Netherlands,.

The JY1-SAT mission was proposed by Jordanian students who participated in the first batch of the cooperation program with NASA, after which the interns had suggested the design and launch of the first Jordanian satellite CubeSat.

To build up the capability to design and develop such a first mission, the Crown Prince Foundation signed a support agreement with ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space and the AMSAT Radio Amateur Societies of the UK and the Netherlands, for hardware and training support, building on ISIS’ and AMSAT’s experience with FUNcube radio amateur transponder missions.

As a special development for the JY1-SAT mission, AMSAT has expanded the capabilities of the FUNcube transponder to be able to transmit stored images reflecting the Jordanian culture and its historical heritage, along with a voice message recorded by the Crown Prince to be transmitted in space to receivers around the world.

The launch of the JY1-SAT, scheduled during the first half of next year, is in memory of His Majesty the late King Hussein, the first founder of the HAM Radio in Jordan and holder of call sign JY1.

JY1-SAT will have a linear, inverting, transponder downlinking between 145.855 & 145.875 MHz with the uplink between 435.100 & 435.120 MHz. The telemetry downlink will be on 145.840MHz and be FUNcube compatible. A new Dashboard will be made available before the launch of JY1-SAT

Nayif-1 and Dashboard news

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Nayif-1

Nayif-1 has now been in orbit for more than two weeks and all systems continue to operate nominally. The power budget is positive, the spin/tumble rate is acceptably low, on board temperatures are perfectly ok and, importantly, the educational/amateur transponder switching is taking place autonomously as  planned.

This image, by ISRO, shows the moment of deployment of Nayif-1.nayif-space-4

Nayif-1 has also been granted an “OSCAR” number and now has the secondary title of “EO88 – Emirates Oscar 88”.

More than 250 stations around the world have provided telemetry to the Nayif Data Warehouse and we are extremely grateful to them for their invaluable support.

The experts have now formally allocated Catalog Number 42017 to Nayif-1 (EO88) and the TLEs can now be downloaded from all the usual sources. For instance, go to  Celestrak – TLEs

New Dashboards

We have now updated the Dashboards for both Nayif-1 and FUNcube-1 so that they display only the telemetry received from the individual spacecraft that they are designed for. This will help users to display only the correct information and graphs and reduce confusion. Whilst they only display the data from ONE spacecraft, they will, as now, receive and decode the data from all FUNcube payloads currently in orbit and automatically submit it to the relevant Data Warehouse.

The new Dashboard for FUNcube-1 (ver 1044) can be downloaded from here: FUNcube-1 Dashboard Installer 1044

The new Dashboard for Nayif-1 (ver 1040) can be downloaded from here: Nayif-1 Dashboard Installer 1040

Additionally some command line parameters have been added to enable the programmes to auto-start with the desired parameters.  These are:

/minimized
/autostart
/source=dongle
or
/source=soundcard

Some notes on how to impliment these parameters can be found here: funcube-dashboard-autostart

Nayif-1 UPDATE -Thursday 16th Feb 2017

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All the tlm numbers “in the green”! With the  Nayif-1 patch and lapel badge

Nayif-1 was successfully launched at 03:58UTC on February 15th 2017 and good signals were soon heard by stations in North America. We are pleased to be able to confirm that the first telemetry was submitted to the warehouse by Christy Hunter, KB6LTY, who will be receiving a specially produced Nayif-1 lapel badge and woven mission patch. Many thanks to everyone who was listening and sending reports, recordings or submitting data.

The satellite looks to be in perfect health and it was placed in autonomous mode before the end of the first day in orbit. Just like FUNcube-1, this mode has the spacecraft sending high power telemetry when in sunlight and with the transponder active when in eclipse. Already many contacts have been made through the transponder. As expected, the frequency stability of this spacecraft is much better than its predecessors.

The launch provider has published a video of the deployment of the 104 satellites. https://youtu.be/3KqTr1oNYwk  The image here shows Nayif-1 just after deployment from the launch vehicle.nayif-space-4

A new post-launch set of TLE’s has been issued by the launch authority and it can be downloaded from here

Please note that these numbers are not based on JSpOC observations so we do not yet have a valid catalog number.

During the Launch and Early Operation phase (LEOP) of the mission, the Nayif-1 command team have been headquartered at the American University of Sharjah Ground station in the United Arab Emirates. They have been very grateful for all the telemetry received from around the world. It has proven to be immensely useful to the team in checking that the spacecraft is functioning correctly.

Our world-wide network has greatly impressed the many professionals that have been watching our activities. Already more than 100 ground stations are submitting data to the Nayif Data Warehouse. Please continue uploading the data as this will further enhance our knowledge about the spacecraft and the space environment through which it is travelling at 7.6 km/s.

The Data Warehouse has been updated and can be seen here: http://data.amsat-uk.org/nayif1/index It now includes the Whole Orbit and High Res graphs and the upload ranking. It also includes telemetry details from the ADCS sub-system – this is called the iMTQ and is capable of actively magnetorquing. Over the coming days, we will be further tweaking the warehouse, so bear with us if it is unavailable for short periods of time.

A slightly updated Nayif-1 Dashboard is now available – this corrects one graphing error for negative values. It can be downloaded from here:http://download.funcube.org.uk/nayif-1_Dashboard_1039_Installer.msi

Guidance notes for setting this up are here : Guidance Notes

A reminder that if you are already a registered user of the FUNcube Dashboard then you do not need to re-register. Your existing details will transfer automatically to the new Dashboard when you run it for the first time.