Launch and Deployment was Successful!
PE0SAT, ON4HF, and R2ANF heard signals on the first pass!
Fox-1A is now AMSAT-OSCAR 85 (AO-85)
GRACE2 1 99992U 15281.53437500 .00015007 00000-0 15580-2 0 00009 2 99992 064.7657 291.6734 0216442 282.3705 182.7702 14.73904028000019
AMSAT’s Fox-1A is set to launch as part of the GRACE (Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experiment) auxillary payload on the NROL-55 mission October 8, 2015 from Vandenburg AFB on an Atlas V vehicle. The launch is scheduled for 5:49 AM PDT, with the NASA TV webcast starting at 5:29 AM PDT. NRO has released this factsheet about the mission: GRACE_CubeSat_FactSheet
General information on Fox-1A is available in the downloadable AMSAT Fox Operating Guide.
There will be a briefing on October 7 to discuss the five NASA-sponsored CubeSats on this launch. This briefing will begin at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT) and will be broadcast via NASA TV and the NASA Website. The participants will be:
- Richard Welle, director, Microsatellite Systems department at The Aerospace Corporation
- Tim Olson, principal investigator for BisonSat, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana
- Morgan Johnson, team lead for the ARC CubeSat, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
- Jerry Buxton, vice president, Engineering, for AMSAT Fox-1
- Courtney Duncan, principal investigator for LMRST-Sat, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
FoxTelem software for decoding and submitting telemetry has been made available for download at http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=4532 .
Keplerian Elements: We will provide the Keplerian elements (aka Keps or TLEs) to enable you to track Fox-1a as soon after launch as we get them (and are cleared to release them). The information will be placed on http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/keps/current/nasabare.txt . We have no control over when we can release the information, although we hope it will be within hours of the satellite deployment.
Initial Commissioning Period: Initially the transponder will not be on and will not respond to uplinks. Please do not attempt to uplink while we check out the satellite and commission it. We will publicize when we have opened the transponder to general use. You should expect the checkout phase to last for a minimum of several days and possibly for several weeks.
What To Listen For: During the initial checkout period and when the satellite is in range, every two minutes you will generally hear about 5 seconds of data followed by a few seconds of a voice ID (and possibly a second data packet). You may occasionally hear ‘data’ mode which Chris, G0KLA, has famously described as sounding like an old-fashioned telephone modem. If you should happen to hear what appear to be QSOs, please resist the temptation to join in before the commissioning period is over.
Please Send Telemetry Reports and Data: We would love to have you collect and upload as much data as you can, and to give any other kind of report on the amsat-bb mailing list (which some of the Fox team will monitor). You can also report hearing or not hearing it on http://www.amsat.org/status/
You can upload data using the FoxTelem telemetry program that we recently released. (Check the “upload to server” box in the properties/preference page). More data will help us do the checkout faster! Remember if you hear the “telephone modem” sound, you must switch FoxTelem to high-speed mode manually. Similarly FoxTelem must be in low-speed mode at other times.
We are planning a special award to the person who submits the first data from the satellite (by which we mean the earliest downlinked mission elapsed time), so get your rigs ready!
As part of the preparations for the launch and activation of this new satellite, AMSAT is making our “Getting Started With The Amateur Satellites” book available for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT Store. This offer is only available with purchases completed online, and for only a limited time. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The 132 page book is presented in PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite.
Please take advantage of this offer today by visiting the AMSAT store (click here) and selecting any membership option. While there, check out our other items, including the M2 LEOpack antenna system, AMSAT shirts, hats, and other swag. Thank you, and see you soon on Fox-1A!