Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio Payload Launched to International Space Station


When the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 resupply vehicle lifted off from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station on September 21, it also carried theSpinSat satellite, which includes an Amateur Radio payload. The satellite will be stowed aboard the ISS until deployment later this fall from the airlock of the Japanese Experiment Module.

Developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, the 125-pound SpinSat is a 22- inch diameter sphere carries a 2 W 9600 bps AX.25 packet radio store-and-forward system on 437.230 MHz. The satellite’s primary mission is to demonstrate a new micro-thruster technology, from which SpinSat derives its name; its 12 electronically controlled solid-propellant thrusters will be fired in pairs to spin the spacecraft.

While in space, SpinSat will be used in a test to calibrate the Space Surveillance Network. Lasers will be aimed at the spacecraft from Earth, and the reflected light measured to determine the where the satellite is passing overhead. SpinSat also will model the density of the atmosphere.

Equipped only with primary batteries and just 4.8 grams of fuel, the satellite’s working phase is expected to last up to 6 months. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Trevor, M5AKA; NASA, and SpaceX