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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS005 (2015)

ARLS005 Fox-1A Ready for Launch, Fox-1D to Carry Radiation-Mapping

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 005  ARLS005
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  March 10, 2015
To all radio amateurs

ARLS005 Fox-1A Ready for Launch, Fox-1D to Carry Radiation-Mapping

Following successful vibration and thermal/vacuum testing,
AMSAT-NA's Fox-1A CubeSat now sits in a clean environment awaiting
launch. AMSAT Vice-President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, said
that NASA, the launch provider, now is reviewing several required
reports. Fox-1A completed its Mission Readiness Review at Cal Poly
in San Luis Obispo, California, on February 24 before a review board
of Cal Poly and NASA representatives, he said, adding that Fox-1A
delivery and integration has been set for March 25.

"From there, we won't see her again, but certainly look forward to
hearing from her again," he said.

Fox-1A will include a Mode B (U/V) FM transponder and capabilities
similar to the AO-51 satellite, which went dark in late 2011. The
first phase of the Fox series 1-Unit CubeSats will allow simple
ground stations using hand-held transceivers and simple dual-band
antennas to make contacts. The Fox-1 CubeSats also will be able to
transmit continuous telemetry during normal transponder operation.

Fox-1A is scheduled to launch in late August from Vandenberg Air
Force Base in California, as part of the NASA Educational Launch of
Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program, which offers free launches to
educational entities and encourages science missions. Fox-1A will
host a Penn State student experiment with micro-electromechanical
systems (MEMS).

Meanwhile, AMSAT and University of Iowa have agreed to include the
University's High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument (HERCI)
radiation-mapping experiment on the Fox-1D CubeSat. Fox-1D is a
flight spare for Fox-1C, but AMSAT has said that if the CubeSat is
not needed for that purpose, it would be ready for launch on any
available slot.

"HERCI is intended to provide a mapping of radiation in a low-Earth
orbit," said Don Kirchner, KD0L, a University of Iowa research
engineer. "This is of scientific interest for planning CubeSat test
flights for low-energy X-ray detectors."

As Kirchner explained, the instrument consists of a digital
processing unit (DPU) that was derived from processors currently in
orbit around Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft and on the way to
Jupiter on the Juno spacecraft. "The DPU was shrunk to a CubeSat
form factor with funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium," he

The University of Iowa's history in spaceflight research dates back
to the earliest satellites. As Kirchner put it, "HERCI can be
considered a direct descendent of the first University of Iowa
spaceflight instrument flown on Explorer I in 1958." He said the
instrument is a senior design project by four UI electrical
engineering students working under the supervision of the space
physics engineering staff.

Buxton said the partnership is a win-win arrangement. "This
partnership with the University of Iowa illustrates our strategy of
leveraging the new CubeSat design to assist universities that need a
way to fly scientific payloads while providing a viable ongoing
platform for Amateur Radio," he said.