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RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Launch Scrubbed Again, but More Foxes are on the Way!


The launch of the already-delayed United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket that will transport the RadFxSat (Fox-1B) CubeSat carrying an AMSAT Amateur Radio payload and other payloads into orbit was scrubbed on November 14, with just over 15 minutes to liftoff.

“The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying the JPSS-1 mission for NASA and NOAA was scrubbed today, due to a range safety hold and high upper-level winds,” ULA said in a tweet. “The team is working to establish a new launch opportunity.” ULA said weather balloons found that upper-level wind conditions “are red for the launch window, causing today's attempt to be scrubbed.”

The launch was postponed on November 6 due to a faulty battery on the booster. RadFxSat is one of four CubeSats making up the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 mission, set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

RadFxSat is a partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE) and hosts four payloads for the study of radiation effects on commercial off-the-shelf components. It will carry a Fox-1 style FM U/V repeater with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz. Satellite and experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the DUV subaudible telemetry stream, which can be decoded using FoxTelem software.

To keep up with launch updates, call the ULA launch hotline, (877) 852-4321, via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, hashtags #DeltaII and #JPSS1.

Meanwhile, progress continues on getting future Fox payloads into space. On November 6, AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, delivered Fox-1D to Spaceflight, Inc in Seattle, where it was integrated into its Innovative Solutions in Space QuadPack for delivery to India. Fox-1D will launch on the next ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flight, scheduled to take place by the end of December.

In addition to the Fox-1 U/V FM transponder, Fox-1D will carry several university experiments, including a MEMS gyro from Pennsylvania State University-Erie, a camera from Virginia Tech, and the University of Iowa’s High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument (HERCI) radiation mapping experiment.

Fox-1D also carries the AMSAT “L-Band Downshifter,” which gives the option of utilizing a 1.2 GHz uplink for the FM transponder.

The NASA ELaNa XX mission that will carry RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) into orbit will take place no earlier than the end of next March, AMSAT reported recently. The ELaNa XX mission will carry 12 CubeSats constructed by NASA and by several universities around the US. That mission will be launched by Virgin Galactic on its LauncherOne air launch to orbit system from Mojave, California. Like RadFxSat (Fox-1B), RadFxSat-2 is a partnership opportunity between Vanderbilt University’s ISED and AMSAT and will carry a similar radiation effects experiment, studying new FinFET technology.

RadFxSat-2 will be the fifth Fox-1 satellite built by AMSAT. Fox-1A, now AMSAT-OSCAR 85 (AO-85), was launched on October 8, 2015 and is fully operational, providing science data from its onboard experiments and FM transponder service for the Amateur Radio community. Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D are scheduled to launch soon.

The RadFxSat-2 spacecraft bus will be built on the Fox-1 series but will feature a linear transponder upgrade to replace the standard FM transponder used in Fox-1A through Fox-1D. In addition, the uplink and down- link bands will be reversed from the previous Fox satellites in a Mode V/U (J). The downlink will feature a 1200 bps BPSK telemetry channel to carry the Vanderbilt science data in addition to a 30-kHz wide transponder for Amateur Radio use. — Thanks to ULA, AMSAT News Service