The receiver on the newly launched Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 CubeSat seems to have suffered a receiver failure that could render the satellite unusable, AMSAT said over the weekend. Efforts continue by AMSAT Engineering to establish the cause of the problem and determine if a fix is possible. AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, reported over the weekend that the issue cropped up during efforts to commission Fox-1Cliff/AO-95.
“After a few days of tests, analysis, and discussion, it appears that Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 will not be commissioned as our fourth Fox-1 Amateur Radio satellite,” Buxton said. Commissioning began on December 4, right after the CubeSat’s successful launch a day earlier.
“AMSAT Engineering will continue to evaluate and test Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 for solutions to the anomaly, and your continued help in providing telemetry is appreciated so that we can have data throughout her daily orbits, rather than limited data over our US stations,” Buxton said. “The data, analysis, and testing could lead to a positive solution, but at the very least will be important to AMSAT’s satellite programs in providing information that would help us and others avoid similar situations with future missions.”
In a post to AMSAT-BB, Buxton mentioned one suggestion of employing a high-power station to see if AO-95 could hear its signal, but he added that AMSAT Engineering would not be offering a blow-by-blow narrative of its efforts to restore the satellite to operating condition, “unless it is something of merit or actionable.”
Buxton noted that AMSAT’s resources are limited, and all involved are volunteers. “Most — if not all — of our remaining Fox-1 engineers are also involved in the GOLF-TEE project, so I have asked them to give that first priority with their available volunteer time in order to keep the schedule,” Buxton said. “AO-95 is in orbit now, and we can vary the amount of attention on her as resources allow in order to achieve both goals. If the results of our investigation point to a possibility of recovery, be it partial, full, or some workaround method, we would all like to see her working as much as the rest of you, and that is a driver for this investigation.”
Buxton said he anticipates that AMSAT Engineering will continue to seek the cause of the apparent receiver failure, “until we have results or reach a dead end, because of the inability to take the lid off and look inside AO-95.”
“I will certainly be keeping everyone posted when we have something new to report,” Buxton said.
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