We went into orbit!

Our AMSAT Fox-1A satellite on board NROL55
Our AMSAT Fox-1A satellite on board NROL55

That’s right sports fans.  We went into orbit.

Yep … Low Earth Orbit (LEO)

Our Amateur Radio satellite, Fox-1A (now officially AO-85), hitched a ride on #NROL55 this morning out of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Anyone with a ham radio license can utilize the transceiver on board the satellite, at least once we complete testing and confirm full functionality.  The satellite is currently transmitting telemetry.

  • FM mode
  • UHF uplink: 435.180 MHz, PL tone 67 Hz
  • VHF downlink: 145.980 MHz.  This is the frequency on which you listen.

Lotsa moar details (PDF): Fox-1A Operating Guide

AMSAT blog posting: Announcement

😀

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Fox-1A satellite has been integrated for orbital launch

It’s done! The Fox-1A CubeSat satellite has been integrated into the Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer rig (P-POD) with two other CubeSats. The loaded P-POD will be integrated into the rocket payload for subsequent launch in late summer 2015.

Fox-1A was hand delivered in it’s Pelican case to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo for completion of CubeSat Acceptance Checks, then integration.

Representatives from Fox-1, ARC1, and BisonSat CubeSat teams, Cal Poly, Tyvak, NRO/OSL, and NASA were on hand during the integration.

Now we wait. [drums fingers on desk]

The following are photos concerning the integration. Click on each page for larger version (new window)

Fox-1A on the left with the two other CubeSats for this particular P-POD
Fox-1A on the right with the two other CubeSats for this particular P-POD
Fox-1A CubeSat satellite installed in P-POD
Fox-1A CubeSat satellite installed in P-POD
Larger view of the loaded P-POD
Larger view of the loaded P-POD
CubeSat P-POD closed
CubeSat P-POD closed

AMSAT Fox-1A satellite is ready for launch!

We finished!

Ok … we finished THIS flight unit lol. This past week we performed a ‘shake and bake’ on our completed satellite, Fox-1A.

The ‘shake’ is vibration testing based on the launching rocket’s expected frequency responses over the course of it’s flight into orbit.

The satellite is securely attached to the baseplate of the test platform. Then that frequency response profile is input to the testing system which then literally shakes the satellite.

Passed.

Then comes the ‘bake’. This thermal heating occurs in a vacuum chamber. There is just one intent, to ‘boil’ away any liquid related products; uncured glue, fingerprints, water, all kinds of stuff.

This way nothing remains that might off-gas in a vacuum environment and deposit itself in a different location, like the primary payload on the rocket.

Passed 😀

The unit is now wrapped in an anti-static bag and secured for launch. Integration to the payload will happen in 2Q and then launch.


Novel research. Easy right?

Interviews with people over a cup of coffee, maybe a light lunch.

Phone calls, emails and texts back and forth.

Poring over past videos, photos, notes and online forum posts from my personal experiences.

Then the typical bit of light reading (below).

All for my science fiction thriller. I’ve also got plenty of stuff for the civil forfeiture plot device.

Plus more still. Like more mechanical engineering textbooks, other novel related materials, notes …

I love it 😀

Book research