Thursday, 18 February 2010

Second lecture continues Space Systems series

The second in the series of Space Systems lectures was given today by Tim Ecclestone, one of the Mechanical Engineers at Astrium in Stevenage.

The lecture on spacecraft structures was delivered to the two enthusiastic Lunchsat and Campus Management teams in Stevenage and to Portsmouth via video link.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Opportunity to attend IAC 2010 announced

An opportunity for three members of the Lunchsat team to attend the 2010 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Prague has been announced.

Three papers are to be submitted to the IAC, one on Lunchsat as a training programme by project lead Nick Fishwick and two technical papers written by team individuals.

Nick is calling for ideas for abstracts this week, to gauge interest from the Lunchsat community. The abstracts are then to be written by 5 March for submission to the IAC committee. Based on a final decision from the IAF, a panel of representatives from Lunchsat management, Human Resources, Public Relations and ACR will then select to fund two members to write their papers and attend the conference in September, based on their previous merits and dedication to the Lunchsat project.

For further details of this year's conference, visit the website of the International Astronautical Congress which is organised by the International Astronautical Federation. IAC2010 runs from 27 September to 1 October in Prague.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Licensed to CQ: groundstation team pass Amateur Radio course

After a rollercoaster weekend of getting to grips with the principles of radio and Paul Steed, our groundstation guys passed their Foundation exam in Amateur Radio. In doing so, these members of the Lunchsat team are now licensed to transmit from a groundstation at a maximum power of 10W.

In a nod towards the radio exam success of yesteryear, Matthew Ashworth (Portsmouth Groundstation), Timothy Mead (Power), Mauricio Molas Serrano (Portsmouth Groundstation), Jason Stones (Media) and Benjamin Yarwood (Mechanical) all passed the exam, demonstrating proficiency in Morse code, groundstation hardware, the etiquette of transmission, the terms of the Amateur Radio license, and the physics of radio communications.

It followed a two-day introduction to Amateur Radio held on the final weekend in January, which saw the group of five radio hopefuls:
  • send messages in Morse code with Navy transmitters that were actually used in World War II (check);
  • transmit to another radio amateur from a groundstation in proper radio etiquette and with the use of callsigns (check);
  • learn the physics involved in telecommunications (check);
  • watch a cheesy educational video made by BT from the eighties (check).
All in a weekend's work. So what does all this mean for Lunchsat?
Once work on the Portsmouth groundstation is completed with Foundation licenses in hand, the team will be able to communicate with other satellites via radio groundstations around the world. With an Intermediate license, scope for transmission will extend to 50W, to allow for communication with the International Space Station -- one of the outreach goals of the Lunchsat project!

Paul Steed, a member of St Johns Ambulance, reprised his role as tutor for the two-day course -- held on his home turf in the humble abode of SJA in Waterlooville, a few junctions north of Portsmouth on the A3.

Not fazed in the slightest at the prospect of yet more radio goodness, Ben, Tim, Andrew and Jason are set to head towards the next frontier -- the Intermediate course -- on the weekend of 20-21 February. Lucky devils.

The Radio Society of Great Britain offers such two-day training courses in Amateur Radio across the country -- check out their website for details of courses available in your region. Radio spectrum in the UK is regulated by Ofcom, which issues and regulates Amateur Radio licenses. For further information and to get involved in the global Amateur Radio community, check out the Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation (AMRAD).