New Amateur Radio satellite in orbit
HAMSAT (or VUsat) is the latest Amateur Radio satellite in orbit. It is India's first. "We congratulate all who have worked for the HAMSAT and its successful launch," said Sandip Shah, VU3SXE, AMSAT-India's treasurer, who was at the control center in Bangalore, India, for the May 5 launch. The satellite went aloft from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota. Going into space with the 42.5 kg HAMSAT was the primary payload--the 1560 kg Indian remote sensing satellite, CARTOSAT-1. The spacecraft were placed into polar sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of 632 x 621 km with an equatorial inclination of 97.8 degrees. HAMSAT is a microsat aimed at meeting the needs of amateur satellite enthusiasts in South Asia. The satellite will provide two new linear mode U/V transponders for SSB and CW use only. Only one transponder will be active at any given time. AMSAT-India indicates the UHF uplink will be in the 435.35 MHz range, while the VHF downlink will be in the 145.90 MHz range. Details are not yet available. Dutch graduate student William Leijenaar, PE1RAH, who designed one of the transponders aboard HAMSAT, saw the PSLV-C6 vehicle carry the satellite skyward from SDSC SHAR. "It was very interesting to see how my radio finally went into space," he said afterward. "It is the best ham radio experience in my life." Leijenaar said reports he'd received indicated that the onboard computer was showing the batteries and solar panels working normally. "We just are a few days away from 'CQ CQ HAMSAT' QSOs," he said. The satellite has not yet been given an OSCAR designation. There's more information on the AMSAT-India Web site.
Chris Jones - VK2ZDD
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