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AMSAT Board Approves Technology Development Seed Funding


As a part of AMSAT’s “Design The Next AMSAT Satellite” challenge, the Board of Directors has allocated $5000 from the 2015 engineering budget as seed money for future satellite development. Meeting December 2, the Board said it would also investigate and pursue additional funding sources.

“We’re prepared to return to space starting in 2015 with a fleet of satellites that will equal, if not exceed, the performance, and availability to the average ham, of our previously popular AMSAT OSCAR 51,” said AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW. “Meanwhile, we are preparing for the future looking to potentially leverage new technologies, to provide the best opportunities for enhancing Amateur Radio’s presence in space.”

Director Tom Clark, K3IO, noted the need for a defined future systems program. “We saw a significant number of both new and old members who want to see the development of critical system elements for future opportunities by 2018-20,” Clark said. “As I see it, critical ‘tall poles’ in applying potential technologies require significant work to begin now to ensure success.”

AMSAT is interested in supporting technology ideas that enhance the utility of using the CubeSat form factor to support more robust amateur satellite capabilities. These could include microwave technology suitable for use in amateur spacecraft, complementary, low-cost ground systems, development of coding and modulation schemes for low-power microwave use, and attitude determination and control systems to aim the spacecraft’s antennas toward the user while maximizing solar panel production.

Individuals interested in learning more about this initiative should contact AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY.

Development of AMSAT’s current series of the Fox-1 CubeSats continues on schedule. Buxton told the Board that construction and testing of five Fox satellites is on schedule, including Fox-1A, set to launch next fall. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service




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