Excitement and enthusiasm over the recently launched Fox-1A CubeSat, now known as AO-85, permeated the just-concluded AMSAT 2015 Space Symposium and Annual Meeting. Nearly 120 attended the gathering October 16-18 in Dayton, Ohio. AMSAT Vice President for Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, told his forum that AO-85 is working well and that telemetry reports from users have been extremely helpful. Buxton told his forum audience that the Fox team is mulling what might be causing what he called “a perceived loss of sensitivity” on the AO-85 70 centimeter receiver. “There’s a lot of speculation,” he said. He also discussed the subsequent entries in the Fox CubeSat series. The AO-85 transponder is unavailable for general use until October 23 for further commissioning.
AMSAT-NA Board Member Bob McGwier, N4HY, of Virginia Tech, outlined efforts to orbit the Phase 3E (P3E) project announced earlier this year. Virginia Tech approached the US Government last July to fly P3E in order to support scientific payloads as well as to serve as an Amateur Radio satellite. As McGwier explained, the project faces some daunting political and technical challenges. He is working with AMSAT-DL to transfer the satellite — which has been in storage in Germany for years — to his Virginia Tech team for integration into a government project that would place the satellite into an elliptical high-Earth orbit (HEO). Before the satellite becomes available for Amateur Radio applications, though, it would be shifted into a new — and lower — elliptical HEO orbit. If all goes smoothly, the project could reach fruition in 2018.
AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, announced the appointment of Joe Kornowski, KB6IGK, of Austin, Texas, as the new editor of The AMSAT Journal, beginning with the November/December 2015 issue. He succeeds JoAnne Maenpaa, K9JKM. Kornowski has served as an Assistant Editor since 2014.
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, provided an update on Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). While the financial situation is not as bleak as it was in 2014, Bauer indicated that ARISS needs to raise $90,000 annually to maintain its current level of operation, and $214,000 to grow operations and meet its desired goals.
At the AMSAT Board of Directors meeting on October 15, prior to the start of the 2015 AMSAT Space Symposium, the Board approved the appointment of officers. Barry Baines, WD4ASW, will continue as the president of AMSAT-NA. Other officer positions also remained unchanged, with Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, as Vice President for Operations; Jerry Buxton, N0JY, as Vice President for Engineering, and Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, as Vice President for Human Spaceflight. Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, will serve as secretary, while Keith Baker, KB1SF/VA3KSF, will be treasurer. Martha Saragovitz will continue as AMSAT-NA manager.
The positions of Executive Vice President, Vice President for User Services, and Vice President for Marketing remain open.