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Hamtronics in Space

It amazes us sometimes to hear about all the applications in which our customers use our equipment.  And frankly, we are proud of these affiliations; and it gives us energy to continue developing new products.  Over the years, we have had several commercial and military customers use our transmitters and receivers in aerospace applications with rocket telemetry, low cost satellites, airborne surveillance tv, unmanned airplanes, and drone target airplanes.  (It's great for business when your customer keeps shooting your product out of the sky!)

Many schools ask us how to use our equipment to make a communications satellite as a project.  The U.S. Naval Academy is the premier school doing this, and they suggest that the following web page is a good place to start for ideas.  This web page is a single starting point for their last 3 satellites, which were launched at the end of 2006 by the Space Shuttle.

They use our crystal controlled rf modules in all their many spacecrafts since they are the ONLY readily available crystal controlled TX/RX they could find.  You should not use a synthesizer for your command/control link, since it could experience an SEU on orbit and you wouldn't know what freq it was on.  The U.S. Navy makes the following changes to the R100 and TA51 used in satellites:1) Replace all electrolytic caps with Tantalum caps2) Purchase the modules with WIDEBAND mods so that the RX is wide enough for the signal plus doppler.

Here is information on one semi-military space application which has websites to show what is being done with our transmitters and receivers.  We thought you would be interested in reading about it.  The U.S. Naval Academy, a long-time customer, has been using our vhf and uhf fm transmitters and receivers in student project satellites and, now, in an experiment aboard the International Space Station.

PCsat, a Prototype Communications Satellite, is a US Naval Academy Aerospace student project designed to give students real hands on experience in satellite design and operations.  It was constructed several years ago by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR (of APRS fame, shown here) and students, and it has been in space for over 15 months.  It is amazing that satellites which work well can be built for less than $10,000.  This web page is frequently updated with current information about the Satellite operations. Click here to go to their website.

PCSAT2/MISSE5/PEC: MISSE is a Materials International Space Station Experiment using a Passive Experiment Container to fly space environment samples to space and back.  It has flown 4 times, including a year on MIR.  It is presently being configured to be attached to the exterior of the ISS during an EVA to expose its samples to space.  For MISSE5, these samples are very expensive, high-tech, DOD solar cells on the side of MISSE that faces the sun.  On the back side, the Naval Academy has an opportunity to add an Amateur Satellite Communications system similar to what it is flying on PCsat as an external ARISS payload.  This system uses Hamtronics fm transmitter and receiver modules.
Click here to see enlarged view of the TNC with transmitter and receiver modules.
ANDE stands for Atmospheric Neutral Drag Experiment and is a 19" passive sphere with optical corner reflectors and 6 Lasers for precise orbit determination.  The Naval Academy is taking the opportunity to construct a digital communications transponder for use in the Amateur Satellite Service to fit inside the ANDE sphere similar to what it is flying on the PCsat mission.  The PCsat-like follow-on packet communications mission will continue the interest of students worldwide by letting them communicate via the satellite and capture telemetry relative to its temperature in the space environment.  Hamtronics equipment is again being used on this satellite scheduled for launch in Dec 2003.
Check out our equipment on the FASTRAC satellite by students at the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics - The University of Texas at Austin


Our equipment as used on the SAPPHIRE (SQUIRT) satellite by graduate students at Stanford Univ.
PEHUENSAT-1 Educational Satellite by the School of Engineering in Argentina
Check out our equipment as used on the Bluesat satellite project by the University of New South Wales