AMSAT’s Fox-1Cliff CubeSat Ready for Launch


AMSAT reports that Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, delivered and integrated its Fox-1Cliff CubeSat into the launch vehicle on September 24, in preparation for sending it into orbit later this year. AMSAT has purchased a commercial launch opportunity for Fox-1Cliff and has been seeking contributions to cover its costs. The Fox-1Cliff CubeSat was named in memory of long-time AMSAT member, contributor, and benefactor Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR (SK), who died in 2016.

“This is the last step for AMSAT Engineering in getting one of our satellites to orbit,” Buxton said in a YouTube video that explains what is involved in the final step of getting an Amateur Radio CubeSat to orbit. He explained, “Spacecraft integration is the process of mounting the spacecraft on the launch vehicle.” He pointed out that a spring-loaded “dispenser” propels the CubeSat into orbit from the launch vehicle.

Fox-1Cliff will have FM voice uplink frequencies of 435.300 MHz and 1,267.300 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS tone), and FM voice and AFSK digital data (up to 9,600 bps) downlink on 145.920 MHz. The nominal transponder power is 600 mW. Because only one uplink frequency can be active at a time, use of the Mode L uplink is limited to experimental periods announced in advance.

Fox-1Cliff carries the flight spare of the AO-85 Vanderbilt University Low Energy Proton (LEP) radiation experiment, and the standard Fox-1 Penn State University-Erie gyroscope experiment. Virginia Tech provided a VGA camera, which is the same as the camera onboard AO-92 offering 640 × 480 image resolution. These non-SSTV images will be decoded in the FoxTelem software.

Unlike the other three Fox-1 FM spacecraft, Fox-1Cliff does not have an active AFC on the uplinks.

Fox-1Cliff’s Subaudible Telemetry (low-speed telemetry) will be the same as that on AO-85, AO-91, and AO-92. It will be supported by the same FoxTelem software already released.

Buxton said Fox-1Cliff will share dispenser space with ExseedSat-1, a CubeSat built by an eight-person team at Exseed Space Innovations Private Limited, based in Hyderabad, India, and co-founded by Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE, the designer of the µBitX SSB/CW transceiver. Farhan and engineer Gurudatta Panda, VU3GDP, were on hand for the integration. ExseedSat-1 carries an Amateur Radio FM transponder and APRS digipeater, with a repeater, digipeater, and telemetry downlink of 145.900 MHz FM, and a repeater and digipeater uplink of 435.340 MHz.

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