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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS012 (2004)

ARLS012 AMSAT-UK announces new amateur satellite project

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 012  ARLS012
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  August 4, 2004
To all radio amateurs

ARLS012 AMSAT-UK announces new amateur satellite project

AMSAT-UK Chairman Martin Sweeting, G3YJO, has announced that an
Amateur Radio transponder will be part of the European Space
Agency's (ESA) Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative
(SSETI) "Express" satellite. Onboard will be a 2.4 GHz transmitter
and a 437 MHz receiver. The pair will be turned into an amateur FM
voice transponder after the transmitter serves initial telemetry

"These frequencies will enable the many amateurs who already have
AMSAT OSCAR 40 equipment to use it in an exciting new way," Sweeting
said. Sweeting told participants at the 2004 AMSAT-UK Colloquium
July 30-August 1 that AMSAT-UK has arranged with the ESA to
provide--at very short notice--an S band transmitter for the SSETI
Express. The 2.4 GHZ transmitter will become the downlink of the
single-channel FM U/S transponder. Holger Eckart, DF2FQ, will
provide the UHF receiver.

An AMSAT-UK team is developing the 2.4 GHz downlink exciter,
switching-mode power supply and control interfaces. A 3 W 2.4 GHz
power amplifier--identical to the one flying in the recently
launched AO-51 "Echo" spacecraft--already has been completed. The S
band antennas consist of three flat-plate patches, engineered and
produced by Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland.

The SSETI Express is believed to be the first-ever pan-European
student satellite with more than 100 students and their teachers at
several European universities working on the project. The 2.4 GHz
downlink transmitter will send satellite telemetry and data at 38.4
kb/s before being switched over to voice transponder operation once
onboard experiments have been completed.

Spacecraft integration is due to start this month at the ESTEC
laboratories in the Netherlands. Plans call for launching the 80 kg
spacecraft into a 680 km sun-synchronous orbit next April from
Plestek, Russia.


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