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AMSAT Reschedules Fox Series Launches


AMSAT has announced that the launches of its Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D CubeSats have been rebooked from a single launch to separate launches. Both satellites initially were set to go into space on the Spaceflight Formosat-5/Sherpa mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 (Sherpa is launched as a rideshare program for small, low-budget satellites). Fox-1Cliff will launch on Spaceflight’s SSO-A dedicated rideshare mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 scheduled to launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in late 2017 or early 2018. Fox-1D will ride into orbit on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle set to launch late this year.

“These moves will serve to expedite the launch of these two satellites, both of which carry an Amateur Radio U/V FM repeater and an experimental L/V FM repeater,” AMSAT said. “The satellites also carry scientific experiments from university partners Penn State, Vanderbilt University ISDE, Virginia Tech, and University of Iowa.”

Spaceflight said the recently announced 2017 SpaceX manifest would have a “significant” impact on the Formosat-5 mission. “We learned our launch would occur potentially much later than expected,” Spaceflight President Curt Blake, said in a March 2 statement. Spaceflight rebooked its Formosat-5 mission customers and found an alternative launch for each one, he said.

In addition to the launch of Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D, AMSAT is awaiting the launches of RadFxSat and RadFxSat-2. RadFxSat is currently scheduled to launch this August 29 aboard the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIV mission, as a secondary payload with the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) on a Delta II vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base. RadFxSat-2 will be launched no sooner than December 2017 by Virgin Galactic on its LauncherOne air launch system from Mojave, California on the ELaNa XX mission.

North of the Border, the University of Alberta’s AlbertaSat team has announced that Ex-Alta-1 — its first CubeSat — now has a ride. Ex-Alta-1 is set to launch this week aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station for later deployment into low-Earth orbit.

Ex-Alta-1 is part of the QB50 project, an international network of 2U and 3U university-designed and built CubeSats deployed in a “string-of-pearls” configuration to carry out space weather and atmospheric studies for up to 18 months. Ex-Alta-1 will carry a digital fluxgate magnetometer and use the 70-centimeter Amateur Radio band (436.705 MHz, 9600 kB GMSK) to downlink its telemetry.





Three Australian-designed QB50 project satellites were delivered to the International Space Station on March 25 for later deployment — the University of New South Wales’s UNSW-EC0 and INSPIRE-2 (a joint project with the University of Sydney), and the University of Adelaide/University of South Australia’s SUSat. All three have been coordinated for telemetry downlinks (9600 kB GMSK) in the vicinity of 436 MHz. UNSW-EC0 also has a 2.4 GHz downlink. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA; Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Larry Reeves, and other sources.







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