AMSAT has reported that its Fox-1A CubeSat has been “mated” to the Centaur rocket in preparation for launch this fall from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. The CubeSat completed its Mission Readiness Review at Cal Poly in February. AMSAT said Fox-1A 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 will host a Penn State student experiment involving micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) gyros.
Early this year, AMSAT announced that the Fox-1A satellite would launch on August 27, but this past spring that date was slipped to late September. The CubeSat will include a Mode B FM transponder with an uplink frequency of 435.180 MHz, and a downlink frequency of 145.980 MHz, with capabilities similar to those of 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 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. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY