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Fox-1A Satellite Mated to Launcher for Liftoff This Fall


[UPDATED 2015-08-04 13:25 UTC] AMSAT has reported that its Fox-1A CubeSat has been “mated” to the Centaur rocket in preparation for launch late next month from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. NASA also Just alerted AMSAT on August 3 that the Fox 1-B (RadFxSat — Radiation Effects Satellite) CubeSat has a ride on a Delta II launcher with a NOAA spacecraft, due to go into space in late 2016. The availability arose because other CubeSats had dropped off the flight manifest.

The Fox-1A CubeSat 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. AMSAT said Fox-1A and Fox-1B will go aloft as part of the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program, which offers free launches to educational entities and encourages science missions. AMSAT has been developing a family of CubeSats with Amateur Radio payloads that can support advanced science experiments, and it has been working with universities on scientific and educational missions that fit the ELaNa mold.

“This provides us with a way to put ham radio transponders into orbit and provides our university partners with a reliable platform for space-based research projects,” AMSAT said on its “Meet the Fox Project” web page.

The Fox-1A mission hosts a Penn State student experiment involving micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) gyros. Fox-1B/RadFxSat is a joint mission by AMSAT and the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University.

Early this year, AMSAT announced Fox-1A satellite would launch on August 27. It will include a Mode B (U/V) FM transponder with an uplink frequency of 435.180 MHz, and a downlink frequency of 145.980 MHz and capabilities similar to those of the AO-51 satellite, which went dark in late 2011. Fox-1B also will offer a Mode B transponder (435.250 MHz up/145.960 MHz down, pending coordination).

The first phase of the Fox series 1-Unit CubeSats will allow simple ground stations using hand-held transceiver and simple dual-band antennas to make contacts. The Fox-1 CubeSats also will be able to transmit continuous telemetry during normal transponder operation. The satellites will feature 200 bps telemetry in the audio spectrum below 300 Hz.

AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, announced this past spring plans to incorporate an L-band receiver in the Fox-1C and Fox-1D satellites. This will allow ground controllers to select the normal U/V configuration or the new L/V 1.2 GHz (23 cm) mode. The Fox-1D satellite is a flight spare for Fox-1C.

AMSAT has a Fox-1 Operating Guide and links to other station and operating tips on its website. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY and NASA



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