Ham Radio Transponder Payloads to Launch in 2014
Two CubeSats, carrying SSB/CW and FM voice transponders are scheduled to be launched into a 600 km orbit during the first half of 2014. That news came during the QB50 Project presentation at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium earlier this summer.
The QB50 project team has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-Francophone and AMSAT-NL to enable two Amateur Radio payloads to fly on two yet-to-be-named “precursor” CubeSats in advance of the main mission, to deploy about 40 double satellites. The CubeSat launch allows for the testing of key satellite and payload components. In addition, the precursor mission allows for experimentation and validation of the QB50 operational concept.
The Amateur Radio payloads will become the primary payload of the spacecraft once all QB50-related experimentation has been concluded. The AMSAT-F payload for one of the satellites will be an FM voice relay with VHF uplink and UHF downlink. It will also transmit FX25 telemetry at 9.6 kbit. The AMSAT-NL payload on the other precursor satellite will incorporate an SDR-based, linear V/U transponder core. It will provide a telemetry downlink at 1.2 kbit. The QB50 spacecraft generally will have downlinks in the 435-438 MHz Amateur Satellite Service allocation, although some are expected to use 2.4 GHz. — AMSAT News Service/AMSAT-UK