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[ANS] ANS-049 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

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Mark Johns, K0JM via ANS

Feb 17, 2024, 7:12:04 PMFeb 17

In this edition:

* SpaceX Delays Crew-8 Astronaut Launch to Make Way for Private Moon Missio
* Upcoming Rideshare Launch to Include Amateur Payloads
* Bill Introduced to Eliminate Private Land Use Restrictions on Amateur
* Small Launch Companies Seek Niches to Compete With SpaceX Rideshare
* Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for February 16
* ARISS News
* Upcoming Satellite Operations
* Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
* Satellite Shorts From All Over

The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and information
service of AMSAT, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS publishes
news related to Amateur Radio in Space including reports on the activities
of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an active
interest in designing, building, launching and communicating through analog
and digital Amateur Radio satellites.

The news feed on publishes news of Amateur Radio in
Space as soon as our volunteers can post it.

*Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to: ans-editor [at] <>*

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ANS-049 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

>From: Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation
712 H Street NE, Suite 1653
Washington, DC 20002

DATE 2024 Feb 18
SpaceX Delays Crew-8 Astronaut Launch to Make Way for Private Moon Mission

NASA’s next astronaut launch will delay nearly a week to let a moon
leave Earth first.

NASA’s Crew-8 astronauts, who will launch on a SpaceX Crew Dragon,
will fly
to space no earlier than Feb. 28. The delay from Feb. 22 will make room for
the expected launch of Intuitive Machines’ moon lander from the sam
e launch
pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Odysseus, a robotic lunar lander built by the Houston-based company
Intuitive Machines, lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASAâ
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida early in the morning on Thursday,
Feb. 15.

If all goes according to plan, Odysseus (designated IM-1) will touch down
near the moon’s south pole on Feb. 22, becoming the first-ever priv
spacecraft to ace a lunar landing. Success would also be a big deal for the
United States, which hasn’t been to the lunar surface since NASAâ
�™s Apollo
17 mission more than half a century ago.

“NASA and SpaceX will continue to assess Crew-8 readiness and may a
the Crew-8 launch date following a successful IM-1 launch,” agency
officials wrote in a statement on Feb. 13, while announcing the delay. The
astronaut mission will serve as relief for Crew-7, which flew to space on
Aug. 26 for an International Space Station mission expected to last six or
seven months.

*SpaceX Crew-8 crew. From left to right: Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander
Grebenkin, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, KD5MIJ, NASA astronaut Matthew
Dominick, KCØTOR, and NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, KF5QNU.*

Crew-8 includes NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, KCØTOR (commander),
Michael Barratt, KD5MIJ (pilot), and Jeanette Epps, KF5QNU (mission
specialist), along with Roscosmos cosmonaut and mission specialist
Alexander Grebenkin.

Both the ISS crew and the IM-1 launch are using a pad SpaceX leases at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The moon mission has a fairly narrow l
window as the IM-1 lander needs specific landing conditions to land at the
lunar south pole, which is part of why the launch date for Crew-8 may be

Crew-8, as the name implies, is the eighth crewed operational mission by
SpaceX that sends commercial crews to the ISS on NASA’s behalf. Sta
the second vendor, may fly its first test crew in mid-April 2024.

[ANS thanks for the above information.]

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Upcoming Rideshare Launch to Include Amateur Payloads

The SpaceX F9 Transporter-10 Rideshare mission has been scheduled for
launch on 1 March 2024. In addition to a half dozen commercial payloads,
two amateur satellites are on the launch manifest: SONATE-2 from Germany
and CroCube from Croatia.


SONATE-2 is a 6U+ CubeSat designed and built by the University of Wuerzburg
in Germany. As for many university satellites, the mission objectives of
the SONATE-2 satellite can be divided into three different parts:
– The operation of an amateur radio payload
– The development and operation of the satellite for the education
– The operation of a novel payload as a technology demonstration in

The amateur payload of SONATE-2 consists of a VHF transceiver that was
already built for the predecessor mission SONATE over the course of several
student theses. For SONATE-2 additional student theses extended the
transceiver functionalities. It will provide regular SSTV downlinks with
images from the optical sensors included in the AI payload as well as an
APRS digipeater and CW beacon.

On the education side, the mission will serve as a foundation for different
aspects of the university aerospace and computer science engineering
program. In the context of practical courses, theses or as student
assistants, students can participate in the development of all subsystems
of the space and ground segment, including the amateur radio payload and
the technology demonstration payload. In the context of mandatory lectures
and exercises on space operations every student will also be included in
the operations of the satellite. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) offers a
School Lab for high school students at the location of our external ground
station in Neustrelitz, Germany.

Besides experiments on space and satellites, the School Lab includes
amateur radio contacts to the ISS under the supervision of licensed local
radio amateurs, which they wish to extend to other satellites like in this
cooperation with the SONATE-2 mission.

In addition to the amateur and educational mission parts, the SONATE-2
mission also has a research objective for the demonstration of novel
artificial intelligence technology in the space environments. While the AI
payload is mainly operated using a separate up/downlink in the space
operation service in S-band, the satellite bus and the amateur payloads are
operated in the amateur service. Housekeeping telemetry in the amateur
service also contains status information of the non-amateur payload.

Proposing CW, SSTV using Martin M1 and APRS downlinks on VHF and a 9k6
G3RUH AX25 telemetry downlink on UHF. Planning a launch into a 550 km
Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). More info at
Downlinks on 437.025 MHz, 145.825 MHz, 145.840 MHz and 145.880 MHz have
been coordinated by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).


CroCube is a 1U CubeSat mission to support the Croatian, but also worldwide
amateur radio community with many HAM services and activities. The
mission’s goal is also to facilitate the technological development
Croatia, create an advanced society focused on prosperity and innovation,
and increase participation in the global space sector. Also, drive Croatia
into the space era, increase interest in astronomy and space projects, and
develop STEM and tech entrepreneurship, create a platform for founding a
space center in Croatia, increase investments and employment in robotics,
technology and ICT and finally reduce unemployment and prevent brain drain.

The CroCube satellite is designed for HAM radio activities. The main
purpose is to provide services for radio amateurs in Croatia and worldwide,
and also for students of technical universities to get hands-on experience
with satellite communication and get radioamateur licences. One of the
project goals is to popularize HAM activities across the common population,
students and children in Croatia.

CroCube will provide these HAM services:
– AX.25 telemetry
– CW beacon – Digipeater
– Anniversary/special occasions AX.25 & CW messages for community e
– Experimental SSDV transmissions
– SATNOGS integration, decoder, dashboard

Proposing a UHF downlink using 9k6 G3RUH GFSK with AX25 telemetry. Planning
an Exolaunch deployment into a 510 km SSO. More info at . A downlink on 436.775 MHz has been coordinated by

[ANS thanks Libre Space, Jan van Gils, PE0SAT, and IARU for the above

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*Keeping Amateur Radio in Space.*
Bill Introduced to Eliminate Private Land Use Restrictions on Amateur Radio

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (MS) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced
S.3690 on January 30, 2024, the Senate companion bill to H.R.4006,
introduced last June. Both bills reflect the Congressional campaign efforts
by ARRL to eliminate homeowner association land use restrictions that
prohibit, restrict, or impair the ability of an Amateur Radio Operator to
install and operate amateur station antennas on residential properties they

Amateur Radio Operators repeatedly are relied upon to provide essential
communications when disaster strikes, but their ability to do so is being
impaired by the exponential growth of residential private land use
restrictions that hinder their ability to establish stations in their homes
with which to train and provide emergency communications when called upon.

In announcing the introduction of S.3690, Senator Wicker said: “Bec
communication during natural disasters is often hindered, we should be
making every attempt to give folks more options. Reliable access can make
the difference between life and death in an emergency. Our legislation
removes roadblocks for amateur radio operators looking to help their
friends, families, and neighbors.”

In a similar announcement, Senator Blumenthal stated: “Our measure
help clarify the rules so ham radio enthusiasts can successfully continue
their communications.

In the face of emergency or crisis, they help provide vital, life-saving
information that allow listeners to properly and safely respond, but
prohibitive home association rules and confusing approval processes for
installing antennas have been an unnecessary impediment. The Amateur Radio
Emergency Preparedness Act resolves these bottlenecks and ensures that
radio operators can function successfully.”

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, and Director John Robert Stratton,
N5AUS, Chair of the ARRL’s Government Affairs Committee, both exten
ded on
behalf of ARRL, its Members, and the Amateur Radio community their thanks
and appreciation for the leadership of Senator Wicker and Senator
Blumenthal in their continuing efforts to support and protect the rights of
all Amateur Radio Operators.

[ANS thanks ARRL News for the above information]
Small Launch Companies Seek Niches to Compete With SpaceX Rideshare

Small launch vehicle developers are working to carve out niches in a market
for smallsat launches that is increasingly dominated by SpaceX’s
Transporter rideshare missions.

The Transporter missions, which fill a Falcon 9 often with more than 100
smallsats, offer per-kilogram prices significantly below dedicated small
launch vehicles. SpaceX has seen high demand for those missions and
announced plans last year for a related line of missions called Bandwagon
that will go to mid-inclination orbits.

“The Transporter program was created a few years ago with, in my op
the sole purpose of trying to kill new entrants like us,” said Sand
Tirtey, director of global commercial launch services at Rocket Lab, during
a panel at the SmallSat Symposium in Mountain View, Calif. on Feb. 7. â
we are still flying because we offer something unique.”

That uniqueness, he argued, is the ability to fly missions to specific
orbits not served by Transporter rideshare missions. An example is Rocket
Lab’s next Electron launch, which will place into orbit the ADRAS-J
inspector satellite for Astroscale. That mission requires a specific,
precise orbit so that ADRAS-J can rendezvous with a derelict Japanese upper

*A Rocket Lab Electron launched four smallsats for NorthStar Earth and
Space Jan. 31. Credit: Rocket Lab*

“Electron is really the only vehicle capable of delivering such a c
mission on an expedited timeline,” Peter Beck, chief executive of R
Lab, said in a Feb. 7 statement about the launch, scheduled for Feb. 19
(New Zealand time). Rocket Lab said the specific launch time will be
determined just a day before launch, with a near-instantaneous launch

“Most of the missions that we fly are enabled by the fact that we o
dedicated services,” Tirtey said, citing the upcoming ADRAS-J launc
“There is no way you could do this on a rideshare.”

Other panelists said they are targeting customers with specific
requirements or needs that make them less price-sensitive than those who
opt for the less expensive Transporter launches. That includes dedicated
orbits and high reliability, said Pablo Gallego, senior vice president of
sales and customers at Spanish launch company PLD Space. “We are of
fering a
premium service for the ones that are willing to pay.”

That argument, though, is in danger of being undercut by the combination of
rideshare launches and orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs), which can take
satellites to their desired orbit after being deployed from a Transporter
or similar launch. Several companies are offering such vehicles and using
them on Transporter launches.

While that combination may still be less expensive than dedicated launches,
it still doesn’t offer sufficient flexibility, launch providers arg
ued. “We
are excited to partner with a lot of OTV providers in providing that
service to our customers, but it comes down to performance and how quickly
you can get there,” said Robert Sproles, chief technology officer o
f launch
services company Exolaunch. “If it takes you multiple months on orb
it to
get to that final destination, there’s a strong argument to be made
going dedicated.”

Tirtey said that maneuvers that require plane changes can take months to
complete, adding that current OTV providers have yet to demonstrate the
ability to perform such complex maneuvers. “It could be useful, but
can’t expect a revolution because of physics.”

However, on another panel at the conference Feb. 6, industry officials said
they see challenges for small launch vehicles coming from SpaceX’s
Starship, which promises much greater performance at significantly lower
prices. “If you’re a smallsat company, your business model
should be
looking forward to the model of the Starship rideshare,” a scaled-u
version of Falcon 9 rideshare, said Abhishek Tripathi, director of mission
operations at the University of California Berkeley’s Space Science
s Lab
and who previously worked at SpaceX.

He said that the introduction of Starship could change how spacecraft are
designed, allowing the use of heavier but cheaper materials and components.
“You can throw mass and power and volume at your problem and thereb
y scale
up your satellite bus and still be cheap.”

[ANS thanks SpaceNews for the above information]

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Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for February 16

Two Line Elements or TLEs, often referred to as Keplerian elements or keps
in the amateur community, are the inputs to the SGP4 standard mathematical
model of spacecraft orbits used by most amateur tracking programs. Weekly
updates are completely adequate for most amateur satellites. TLE bulletin
files are updated daily in the first hour of the UTC day. New bulletin
files will be posted immediately after reliable elements become available
for new amateur satellites. More information may be found at

- Lume-1 NORAD Cat ID 43908 Decayed from orbit on or about 13 February
- FEES NORAD Cat ID 48082 Decayed from orbit on or about 12 February 202

[ANS thanks AMSAT Orbital Elements page for the above information]

Amateurs and others around the world may listen in on contacts between
amateurs operating in schools and allowing students to interact with
astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station. The
downlink frequency on which to listen is 145.800 MHz worldwide.

School TBD, Naro-Fominsk, Russia, direct via UB3AYC
The ISS callsign was RSØISS
The crewmember was Nikolay Chub
The ARISS mentor was RV3DR
Contact was successful for Thu 2024-02-15 08:22 UTC
Congratulations to the Naro-Fominsk students, Nikolay, and mentor RV3DR!

B. Russell High School, Rome, Italy, direct via IKØUSO
The ISS callsign was OR4ISS
The crewmember was Jasmin Moghbeli KI5WSL
The ARISS mentor was IKØUSO
Contact was successful: Thu 2024-02-15 11:32:10 UTC 54 deg
Congratulations to the B. Russell High School students, Jasmin, and mentor
Watch for Livestream atðYEgMvzbn8

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, direct via
The ISS callsign was to be RSØISS
The crewmember was Konstantin Borisov
The ARISS mentor was RV3DR
Contact was successful for: Fri 2024-02-16 09:10 UTC
Congratulations to the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University students,
Konstantin, and mentor RV3DR!

Girl Scout Troop 1089, Sacramento, CA, direct via N6NA
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS
The scheduled crewmember is Loral O’Hara KI5TOM
The ARISS mentor is AA4KN
Contact is go for: Thu 2024-02-22 18:26:02 UTC 89 deg

The crossband repeater continues to be *active* (145.990 MHz up {PL 67} &
437.800 MHz down). If any crewmember is so inclined, all they have to do is
pick up the microphone, raise the volume up, and talk on the crossband
repeater. So give a listen, you just never know.

The packet system is also *active* (145.825 MHz up & down).

As always, if there is an EVA, a docking, or an undocking; the ARISS radios
are turned off as part of the safety protocol.

Note, all times are approximate. It is recommended that you do your own
orbital prediction or start listening about 10 minutes before the listed

The latest information on the operation mode can be found at

The latest list of frequencies in use can be found at

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, one of the ARISS operation team mentors
for the above information]
Upcoming Satellite Operations

Jonathan Eernisse, N4AKV has been QRV from FM05/FM06 and FM15/FM16 this
week. Both LEO and IO-117. Details available on

A growing number of satellite rovers are currently engaged in sharing their
grid square activations on By visiting the website, you
gain easy access to comprehensive information about the operators
responsible for activating specific grid squares. Additionally, you have
the ability to assess the match score between yourself and a particular
rover for a given pass, while also being able to identify the upcoming
satellite passes that are accessible from your location.

[ANS thanks Ian Parsons, K5ZM, AMSAT rover page manager, for the above
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events

AMSAT Ambassadors provide presentations, demonstrate communicating through
amateur satellites, and host information tables at club meetings, hamfests,
conventions, maker faires, and other events.

+ 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Positive Impact of Amateur Radio on
Human Spaceflight
Thursday February 22nd through Saturday February 24th, 2024
Center for Space Education: Astronauts Memorial Foundation
Kennedy Space Center, M6-306 405 State Road, FL 32899

+ Dayton Hamvention 2024
Friday May 17th through Sunday May 19th, 2024
Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center
120 Fairground Road
Xenia, OH 45385

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Events page for the above information]
Satellite Shorts From All Over

+ The JAMSAT Annual General Meeting and Symposium 2024 will be held in
Sagano, Kyoto on 23-24 March 2024. To join the Symposium by ZOOM, please
send e-mail to Ueda-san,, with your Callsign and Name by
16 March. He will send you invitation email including Zoom URL. If you are
adept at reading Japanese (or have a good translation program) the latest
edition of the JAMSAT Newsletter is packed with excellent articles,
including a full report of satellite operations by the JAMSAT VK9QO
DXpedition to Cocos (Keeling) Island, amateur transmissions from the moon
by the SLIM LEV-1/LEV-2 landers, and a how-to on restoring a Yaesu G-5500
rotator. Visit the JAMSAT website at to learn
more. (ANS thanks Mikio Mouri, JA3GEP, JAMSAT Newsletter Editor, for the
above information.)

+ An unspecified defect in early model Starlink satellites has prompted
SpaceX to preemptively deorbit the units before they potentially fail and
become hazards in low Earth orbit. The company has already initiated the
disposal of 406 units from the nearly 6,000 satellites launched to date.
Among these, 17 are currently non-maneuverable but are expected to
naturally decay and eventually burn up in Earth’s atmosphere in the
years. However, the decision to deorbit a large batch of approximately 100
satellites within a brief amount of time is certainly out of the ordinary.
(ANS thanks Gismodo for the above information.)

+ The European Space Agency’s Cluster mission, which has spent 24 y
revealing the secrets of Earth’s magnetic environment, is coming to
an end.
The first of the four satellites in the Cluster quartet, named ‘Sal
will reenter Earth’s atmosphere in September 2024. This month, spac
operators carried out a series of manoeuvres to ensure this reentry will
take place over a sparsely populated region in the South Pacific. The end
of the Cluster mission offers a rare chance to study the safe atmospheric
reentry of four identical satellites under different conditions. (ANS
thanks The European Space Agency for the above information.)

+ Copernicus, the Earth observation component of the European Union�€
™s Space
programme, has confirmed that January 2024 was the warmest January on
record. Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change
Service (C3S) said: “2024 starts with another record-breaking month
– not
only is it the warmest January on record but we have also just experienced
a 12-month period [with a mean global average temperature] more than 1.5Â
above the pre-industrial reference period. Rapid reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions are the only way to stop global temperatures increasing.â

(ANS thanks for the above information.)

+ Voyager 1, humanity’s most distant scientific outpost, is current
careening away from Earth at 17 kilometers every second and unable to
transmit useful scientific or engineering data back to us across nearly a
light-day of space. The problem with the 46-year-old spacecraft cropped up
back in November, when Voyager started sending gibberish back to Earth.
Flight controllers have determined that the problem lies within the one
remaining flight data system (FDS) computer on board, most likely thanks to
a single bit of corrupted memory. The team has tried rebooting the FDS, to
no avail. With most of the engineers who originally built the spacecraft
long gone now, the team is treading very carefully. (ANS thanks Hackaday
for the above information.)

Join AMSAT today at

In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership to:

* Societies (a recognized group, clubs or organization).
* Primary and secondary school students are eligible for membership at
one-half the standard yearly rate.
* Post-secondary school students enrolled in at least half time status
shall be eligible for the student rate for a maximum of 6 post-secondary
years in this status.
* Memberships are available for annual and lifetime terms.

Contact info [at] for additional membership information.

73 and remember to help Keep Amateur Radio in Space!

This week’s ANS Editor, Mark Johns, KØJM
k0jm [at]
Categories AMSAT News <>, AMSAT
News Service <>, ANS
ANS-042 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins


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