Meet the Amateur Astronomer Who Found a Lost NASA Satellite

Amateur astronomer Scott Tilley made international headlines when he rediscovered NASA’s IMAGE satellite 13 years after it mysteriously disappeared. In this interview with Freethink, Scott discusses his role in the satellite’s recovery, why he enjoys amateur astronomy, and how citizen scientists like him have contributed to our knowledge of space from the space race to the present day.

Source: Scott Tilley and Freethink Media

Gauss Srl

Dear HAM Community, a QSL Card is a great achievement but what about being thanked directly by a satellite? In a few days, UniSat-6 will thank each radioamateur and enthusiast who has been tracking it during these years. Stay tuned!!

Data received by DK3WN.

Amateur Deep Space Tracking

This is a copy of a message send by PA0DLO to the Amsat-BB mailing list with information on how to track Satellites carrying amateur radio payloads that will go into deep space.

All,

Many radio amateurs are familiar with tracking amateur satellites that orbit the Earth in low orbits or high elliptical orbits. Several tracking programs and all required orbital parameters are available for tracking these satellites.

But soon spacecraft carrying an amateur radio payload will be launched towards the Moon and beyond. If amateurs want to track these spacecraft they will need suitable tracking software and orbital elements to be able to calculate the positions of these spacecraft.

Calculations

Unfortunately none of the currently available tracking programs, used for satellite tracking by amateurs, is suitable for deep space tracking. But fortunately two free, open source software packages for Windows, Linux and Mac are available, that will enable deep space tracking:

General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT)
http://gmatcentral.org/
https://sourceforge.net/projects/gmat/files/GMAT/GMAT-R2017a/

SciLab, including CelestLab, CelestLabX and Aerospace Blockset
http://www.scilab.org/
http://atoms.scilab.org/toolboxes/celestlab
https://atoms.scilab.org/toolboxes/aerospace_blockset

Probably most amateurs will prefer GMAT, because it is most user friendly, has a lot of documentation and help files, and contains many sample scripts. Scripts that are created by other amateurs can be used without having much knowledge or experience with GMAT.

Measurements

It is not certain that orbital elements for all deep space spacecraft carrying amateur radio payloads will be made available to radio amateurs. Therefore amateurs may need to measure these orbital elements themselves through doppler and ranging measurements. So amateurs will need to set up their own Amateur Deep Space Network, similar to NASA’s DSN, ESA’s Estrack, etc. This will require some stations with large enough antennas and with equipment to carry out doppler and ranging measurements to determine direction and distance to the spacecraft. This new development is an interesting challenge for radio amateurs.

For further details see my Amateur Deep Space Tracking page:
https://hamsat1.home.xs4all.nl/index.html

You can find further information on space flight on this very informative set of pages:
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/basics/
Deep space navigation is covered in chapter 13:
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/basics/chapter13-1/

Source: Nico PA0DLO

Some extra information by Daniel Estevez (EA4GPZ)
http://destevez.net/2018/05/dslwp-bs-journey-to-the-moon-part-i/

PicSat end of mission

On Tuesday 20 March 2018 PicSat suddenly fell silent, after two successful morning passes over Europe. Attempts to re-establish contact have failed, nothing has been heard from the satellite, no sign of life. On Thursday 5 April 2018 the team decided to call the mission to an end. A “pot” (French for party / drink) was organized at noon at the Paris Observatory in Meudon. Sylvestre Lacour did a short speech. Four radio amateurs who have been PicSat fans and great support joined in via a dedicated Google Hangout.

UWE-3 celebrating 4 years of operation in space.

UWE-3 News: celebrating 4 years of operation in space.

UWE-3 in clean room shortly before launch 2013.

During these last four years we received an outstanding support from the Radio Amateur Community from all over the world, which is highly appreciated. We would like to express our special thanks to:

DK3WN, Rainer, PE0SAT, SP7THR, EU1XX, JA1GDE, JA6PL, G7GQW, ON4HF, LU4EOU, DL8MCO, JA5BLZ, CU2JX, R4UAB, VK5HI, JA0CAW, IW0HLG, JO1PTD, YC3BVG, DB1VQ, JA6DHC, ZL4JL, VK2FAK, JE9PEL, JH4XSY, JF1EUY, N2ACQ, PY4ZBZ, CX8AF, DG4YDF, LU7DRR, PD0OXW, PA2EON, IK8OZV, ES5EC, K4KDR, ZR1ADC, JE1CVL, EA7ADI, EA1JM, PY2SDR, VE7CEW, PA3GUO, ES5TO, SM0TGU, EA4SG, DL1MX, W6YRA.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR EXTRAORDINARY SUPPORT!

Yours sincerely,

UWE-3 Team.