Today, November 21st 2016, marks the third birthday in space for our baby, 985 gram, spacecraft.
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 FUNcube team are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing their telemetry records to the Data Warehouse and also to those who are using FUNcube-1 for educational outreach to schools and colleges around the world. This important part of our mission is intended to encourage young people to develop an interest and passion in all STEM subjects for their future.
The spacecraft is operating nominally – the telemetry indicates that all the sub-systems are fine. The battery voltages, solar panel charge currents and on board temperatures are virtually unchanged since launch.
In addition to FUNcube-1, there are now similar FUNcube transponders operating in low earth orbit on the UKube-1 and EO79/QB50p1 CubeSats.
The team has recently contributed to the development of Nayif-1, which is presently awaiting launch, and is currently working on a number of further CubeSat and microsat projects.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AO73!
AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL working with ISIS BV are delighted to announce that the FUNcube U/V transponder, on the 2U CubeSat QB50p1, has now been activated with a regular schedule.
Due to power budget constraints the transponder cannot be operational 24/7 and an orbit specific schedule has been developed. The transponder will commence operation 27 minutes after the spacecraft enters sunlight and will stay on for a period of 25 minutes. This schedule may be modified over the forthcoming weeks as a result of experience.
The transponder frequencies are:
Uplink: 435.047-435.077 MHz LSB
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz USB
And the output power is approximately 400mW.
Qb50p1 was launched in June 2014, as a collaborative effort led by the von Karman Institute and ISIS-BV, into a sun synchronous 620×600 km polar orbit as a precursor spacecraft for the QB50 mission. The primary function of the satellite was to test a number of the systems and science payloads. This phase has now been completed and we are grateful to VKI and ISIS BV for carrying this transponder into space and, again, to ISIS, for developing and uploading the new, required, flight code.
We hope you have lots of fun using EO79!
FUNcube-1 was launched into space two years ago on November 21st 2013.
We are delighted to be able to report that more than 900 stations, including many schools around the world, have received the telemetry from the spacecraft since launch. Our Data Warehouse is storing more than 750 MB of data from almost 1 million data packets. We are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing to the success of this mission. Please continue to keep the data flowing as it will provide a valuable resource for students in the future.
The stats continue – speeding along at around 17,500 mph, FUNcube-1, which had a launch mass of just 982 grams, has completed more than 10,500 orbits of the earth. This means a total distance travelled of more than 260 million miles.
All telemetry sensors continue to provide valid data, real time, whole orbit and high resolution channels alike. The flight code is really robust and we have only had three unexpected “events” since launch. Two of these we believe to have been caused by noise of the command receiver being incorrectly interpreted as a command and only one appears to have been caused by a RAM error. The battery and solar panels also continue to work perfectly and provide a very positive power budget.
Good Morning All
Firstly -thanks to all for your help, we had a great morning at Green Top and the highlight was FUNcube.
I started with a slide show talking about communications from cave paintings all the way up to smartphones, we looked at space communications and travel from Sputnik to Astra and Apollo to the Millennium Falcon! We spoke about satellites and how they are used every day and how we all got to watch “I’m A Celebrity” via Satellite last night from Australia.
I brought in lots of props too, some old Motorola MX330 radios, some PMR 446, and a marine band radio .I also had a small model of a CubeSat that I knocked up over the weekend, I also passed around some NOAA images from last week’s Abigail storm and I had a few QSL cards from ISS and MIR from years ago when I lived in Ireland.
The FUNcube pass was great, really strong signals, I had my turnstile and FCD set up and had audio through speakers and used the class projector to show Satpc32 and the Dashboard.
There was a great buzz of excitement when we got the first packet and even more when the Fitter messages came through. The kids were fascinated to see the signal arrive just as the software predicted and then hear the telemetry and the decode.
After the pass we were able to look at the Warehouse online and print off the QSL card and certificate.
I didn’t get a chance to take many pics but Mrs Overson will update the School Blog and she took lots of pics.
Once again thanks to all at FUNcube, looking forward to Tim Peake on the ISS in the New Year and planning another visit to the School then.
Dave EI4HT / M0GIW
PS: I was back dropping my own kids off this morning and Mrs Overson told me they have printed a QSL card and Certificate for each of the students and they have used them for their class journals.
As well providing a great educational resource, FUNcube-1 operates at night and generally at weekends with the linear transponder active for radio amateurs to use for communications. The transponder continues to provide an excellent service. As users will be aware, the transponder uplink frequencies vary with receiver temperature. The RX temp telemetry channel is the best one to use for tracking this effect. This does make it quite difficult to use full computer control for transponder operations and we have already developed new oscillator circuits to improve this performance for future missions.
For the telemetry uplinked to the Data Warehouse, it is possible to download special Certificate or QSL Card here http://amsatuk.me.uk/on/funcube_qsl.php and, for transponder users, the “73 on 73 award” continues at http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/
The Nayif-1 CubeSat mission, which includes a full FUNcube payload, is expected to be launched into a similar orbit in the first half of next year and will provide an additional level of service to the community.
Meanwhile we hope everyone will continue to have fun with FUNcube-1!
As announced at the recent AMSAT-UK Colloquium, a ‘Certificate of Achievement’ and/or an amateur radio style ‘QSL’ card are now available online. Only those who have successfully received telemetry from FUNcube-1 AND uploaded it to the Warehouse are able to download these documents. The place to download them is amsatuk.me.uk, and chose the appropriate link (the bottom one).
The Certificate of Achievement is aimed at schools, etc, and the QSL card at radio amateurs who would like confirmation of their report. However, station operators are welcome to download both if they wish. Each is personalised with the callsign/name which has been previously registered with the Warehouse, and the date and time of the first packet to be uploaded by the requesting station is also added.
Having two live projects underway is proving an enjoyable challenge for the AMSAT-UK teams involved. Both the Nayif-1 CubeSat and our payload on ESEO will provide similar 1k2 BPSK FUNcube compatible downlinks so the teams have quite a lot in common.
Both teams got together for two days at BT’s Adastral Research facilities at Martlesham over the weekend of May 30/31st.
As will be more fully reported in the next edition of the “Oscar News”, the work concentrated on updating the suite of existing FUNcube software for the forthcoming Nayif-1 spacecraft and also the first power on for the combined CCT/EPS (computer and power) board for ESEO with its ATMEL AT32 microprocessor.
AMSAT-NL has just announced that an initial series of tests of the FUNcube transponder payload aboard the QB50p1 CubeSat have been successfully completed.
QB50p1 is one of two QB50 precursor spacecraft that were launched from Yasny in Russia in June 2014.
The primary science payloads are still being extensively tested but it has now been possible to undertake a short test of the transponder payload as well. The transponder is intended as a long term secondary mission following the initial technology demonstration and de-risking phase.
After spending ten months in space, the transponder was commanded on for short periods during each of the three morning passes over Europe on Monday 27th April 2015. A number of FUNcube team members in the Netherlands and in the UK were standing by to run through a predefined test plan.
The transponder has a similar performance to that of FUNcube-1 but the passband is nominally 5 kHz wider by design.
It is not yet known when this transponder may be available for regular usage but AMSAT-NL is delighted to be able to report that the hardware is functioning and is very grateful to the QB50 project, the Von Karman Institute and ISIS B.V. for their ongoing support.
More information about the QB50 project can be found at https://www.qb50.eu/
AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL are delighted to announce that a FUNcube communications package has been selected as a major payload for the Nayif-1 CubeSat mission. This 1U mission is intended to provide Emirati students with a tool to design and test systems in space. It is being developed by the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) in partnership with American University of Sharjah (AUS).
It is expected that this payload will provide a large amount of valuable environmental data from space together with a new, enhanced, UHF to VHF linear transponder.
The AMSAT team will be working closely with the Emirati students, in collaboration with support partner, ISIS – Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. from the Netherlands, to develop this new system in time for the launch which is scheduled to take place towards the end of this year.
More information, with details of frequencies and planned operating schedules, will be made available as soon as possible.
Graham Shirville, G3VZV, and ISIS System Engineer Adrien Palun, getting ready to listen to FUNcube-1 during their visit to Dubai in early April