AMSAT President Asks Members to Help Keep Amateur Radio in Space
From ARRL de WD1CKS@WLARB to QST on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 14:57:09
"It takes considerable volunteer effort and real dollars to keep Amateur Radio in Space?," AMSAT President Joe Spier, K6WAO, reminded the organization's members this week in a message that also updated AMSAT activities and issued an invitation to the organization's 50th anniversary Space Symposium and Annual Meeting in October. In addition, Spier put out a call for "important assistance" in the areas of User Services and Engineering (prospective volunteers may contact Spier via email).
"AMSAT has several fund-raising needs," Spier said, noting that contributions to AMSAT are tax deductible to the extent permitted by IRS rules. "The daily operation of AMSAT is accomplished by donations to the General Fund. The other main department needs are the fund for GOLF 3U CubeSats design/construction and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)."
Spier pointed to the 2018 successes of AO-92 (Fox-1D) and the launch of AO-95 (Fox-1Cliff). Although the latter satellite's receiver is not operational, Spier said AMSAT Engineering and Operations has been trying to determine the cause of the issue.
"AMSAT partnered with Spaceflight Inc. by contracting and paying for these launches," Spier noted. "Fundraising for Fox-series satellites has not yet recouped this expenditure, so donations are still being accepted." AMSAT expects to launch of RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E), in partnership with Vanderbilt University, no later than the end of summer. AMSAT is also partnering with several universities to fly the same linear transponder on their CubeSats.
AMSAT has been selected for two CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) opportunities for GOLF-TEE and GOLF-1. "GOLF's 3U spaceframe is being designed with versatility to add mission-specific radios, power supplies, and experiments," Spier said. "A series of GOLF CubeSats will provide better coverage, and a greater footprint will allow more coverage by fewer satellites."
GOLF-TEE could launch as early as next year and will carry an experimental 5 GHz/10 GHz software-defined radio transponder.
One-time or recurring donations to AMSAT and ARISS are welcome. Spier said an ARISS FundRazr campaign has raised $33,250 of the $150,000 needed for critical Amateur Radio infrastructure upgrades on the International Space Station (ISS) to enable students to talk to astronauts in space.
"AMSAT is also working with our ARISS partners to develop an Amateur Radio package, including two-way communication capability, to be carried onboard Gateway in lunar orbit," Spier said.