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Martlesham Development Workshop report


P1050647Having 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.P1050662

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  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.

Another FUNcube transponder!


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. imagesCAAFR7EH

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



Nayif-1 – a new mission for FUNcube


AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL are delighted to announce that a FUNcube nayif-1 patch2communications 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.

graham_and_AdrienThis exciting news was announced on the 25th of April during the Dutch “Interessedag Amateursatellieten”  or “Satellite Interest Day” event in Apeldoorn.

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



Solar eclipse update


Indeed, as expected, FUNcube-1 entered the shadow of the moon around 10:00 Eclpise day _solar panel current_20032015UTC

This is what happened to the solar panel currents, they dropped to almost zero.

solar panel current_normally This what we usually see from our Whole Orbit Data telemetry. Normally we are in the sun for 60 mins and in eclipse for around 30 mins…but not this morning!

Two Million Packets Uploaded to Warehouse


The FUNcube team are pleased to announce that the data warehouse has received 2M packets from ground stations around the world.

We normally get several people uploading the same packet but in this case it was an individual:

  • Carlos Eavis, G3VHF

The Data Warehouse statistics as of 09:53 GMT on March 15, 2015 were:

Number of registered users: 1529
Number of active users (data received in last two weeks): 193
Number of active users since launch: 818

Number of packets transmitted by satellite since deployment: 8312304 (2.13 GB)
Number of packets uploaded by users before de-duplication: 8539662(2.19 GB)

Number of packets stored in warehouse: 2000000 (512 MB)

Number of packets recovered & stored – Time – Coverage

  • Realtime 2M – 115 days – 25%
  • HiRes 3.9M – 1085 minutes – 19%
  • WOD 0.56M – 385.78 days – 80%

As always, many thanks for all those individuals and groups who are sending data to the warehouse.


Dave, G4DPZ

Solar Eclipse – March 20th 2015

solar eclipseWe have a total solar eclipse coming up on March 20th which tracks across the North Atlantic and eventually covers a lot of the Arctic.
It would seem that this will affect most spacecraft that are in a polar orbit to some extent as, at that sort of time, they would expect to be in sunlight at the time and location.

This website has a good animation of the eclipse

On FUNcube-1 we have a good power budget which means that we should be able to maintain our normal autonomous operation schedule for the day but, of course, if the spacecraft does go fully into darkness it should switch autonomously to transponder and low power telemetry.

It will be interesting to see what actually happens and we hope that as many listeners as possible will upload the data they receive between 0740 and 1150 UTC on that morning. Our Whole Orbit Data will show the solar currents, battery voltage and external temps clearly during this period so we should get a clear understanding of the effects on board.

If anyone has some super software that can model the satellite’s track and the expected impact of the solar eclipse it would be great to hear about it!

73 Graham G3VZV


FUNcube-2 Update – January 2015


Limited testing of the FUNcube-2 linear transponder on the UKube-1 spacecraft has been undertaken during the recent holiday period.

This testing has shown that the transponder is able to work effectively and that it is capable of a similar performance to the transponder already operating on FUNcube-1.

AMSAT-UK and the FUNcube team have now submitted a detailed report on the testing to the UK Space Agency, who are the owners and prime operators of the UKube-1 spacecraft. It is expected that a meeting will be held with them late Jan/ early Feb to plan possible future testing and operations.