Amateur Radio Satellites Blast Off Into the Future

On our earlier pages, you have encountered the extraordinary history of Amateur Radio satellites. But, what's to come in the future?

You probably won't be surprised to learn that the future history of Amateur Radio satellites is being written even as you read this. While radio amateurs around the world are using their many new satellites already in space to communicate and experiment – including operations at higher frequencies and on new modes – they continue to plan and build new spacecraft for the future. The boom in hamsats will continue.

Here are the numerous Amateur Radio satellites coming soon in the 21st century:

2006: Phase-3E Express

For instance, AMSAT-Germany is constructing Phase-3E Express, a follow-on to the large Phase-3D satellite that became OSCAR 40 when it was launched in 2000. Plans call for several frequency bands between 145 MHz and 10 GHz to be used for communication with the P3E hamsat. Referred to as Phase-3E during development, the spacecraft is planned for launch in 2006 or later.

2007: Phase-5A

AMSAT Germany is planning to construct an amateur radio satellite – Phase-5A – to fly to Mars and enter an orbit around the Red Planet. P5A would carry science experiments as well as a sub-payload to be dropped on the Martian surface. P5A would receive and relay to Earth signals from the sub-payload's experiments in the planet's atmosphere and on the Martian surface. AMSAT Germany is building on its experience with the Phase-3D hamsat (AMSAT-OSCAR 40), launched in 2000, which appeared to have sufficient bus and propulsion capabilities for a flight to Mars. There will be suitable Mars launch windows for the Phase-5A spacecraft in 2007 and 2009.

tba: Eagle

AMSAT North America also is looking toward another Phase 3 satellite in elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) orbit. This one – Phase-3F – is to be called Eagle and will be similar to AMSAT-OSCAR 40. Radio transponders are planned for the U, V, L and S bands, permitting high altitude Mode V/U communications. Eagle will have experimental gear. Development of Eagle is on the back burner pending completion of the German Phase-3E. Construction and launch of Eagle would be in the future.
more about AMSAT-North America »»

tba: CESAR-1

CESAR-1 is the first hamsat project of AMSAT Chile (AMSAT-CE). The name CESAR-1 is short for CE Chile Satélite de Aficionados a las Radiocomunicaciones.
more about AMSAT-CE »»

tba: KiwiSAT

KiwiSAT is to be a microsatellite from AMSAT New Zealand (AMSAT-ZL) flying in a low Earth orbit (LEO). As an OSCAR, it would be used by amateur radio operators worldwide. KiwiSat will have 2M downlinks and 70cm and 23cm uplinks. KiwiSat will have both linear and FM transponders and a digipeater. It may carry a camera. The hamsat will transmit its telemetry and science experiment data as packet radio.
more about KiwiSAT »»
more about the KiwiSAT project »»
photos of KiwiSAT »»
more about AMSAT-ZL »»


SATEDU Project from AMSAT France (AMSAT-F) will be an Easy Sat offering easy access to ground stations. The satellite will operate on amateur radio frequencies at 146MHz, 435MHz, and 2.4GHz.

SATEDU will offer:
  • FM transponder for one uplink and one downlink channel with uplink at 435MHz and downlink 146MHz or 2.4GHz.
  • Linear transponder with a 25 kHz passband and uplink at 435MHz and downlink 146MHz or 2.4GHz.
  • Short message mode, with digipeating of short messages using AFSK V23 or 9600Bd and downlink at 146MHz.
  • Telemetry on the main channel using AFSKv23 1200Bd.
  • Telemetry on the service channel, permanently using 400Bd in BPSK format.
  • Voice recorder with play-back of a taped message upon demand.
Electricity will be generated by four solar panels.
more about SATEDU Project »»
more about AMSAT-F »»

tba: VOXSAT-1

VOXSAT-1 from AMSAT Argentina (AMSAT-LU), with the help of AMSAT RUSSIA, is intended for education and research. It will offer an FM crossband repeater, with an uplink in the 70 cm amateur radio band and a downlink in 2 meter amateur radio band. It will have a beacon transmitter at 145.995 MHz and a repeater downlink and audio broadcast at 145.810 MHz. The repeater uplink frequency is at 435.990 MHz. The FM receiver for control is at 432 MHz. The satellite will be carried to space as part of MODULE M, a Russian experimental satellite, from which VOXSAT receives electrical power.
more about VOXSAT »»

tba: SPICE

SPICE, the Satellite Project for Imaging and Communication Experiments, is a hamsat from Germany's Arbeitskreis Amateurfunk und Telekommunikation in der Schule (AATiS), the Working Group Amateur Radio and Telecommunications in the School). It may be lofted to orbit in or after September 2004. SPICE will carry a camera and science instruments recording temperature and magnetic field. User uplink will be at 70cm and downlink at 2m. There will be 13 cm beacon.
more about SPICE »»
more about AATiS »»

tba: BlueSat

BlueSat from the University of New South Wales at Sydney, Australia, is a hands-on real-world student project from the university's Laboratory for Students Space Development.
more About the BLUEsat Project »»
more about the University of New South Wales »»


The EMERALD nanosatellite is a project of Stanford University SSDL and Santa Clara University, California, to demonstrate distributed space systems technology and applications. It is funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to explore creative thinking in space systems design. The students working on the satellite plan to launch it from a space shuttle flight in 2005.
more about EMERALD »»
artist concepts of EMERALD »»

tba: HAND

The HAND Project name is shorthand for Human Activated Nanosatellite Demonstration. From Bristol University in the U.K., the stick-like HAND would be launched by space shuttle astronauts tossing it overboard during a spacewalk. The four-ft.-long HAND weighs 14 lbs. It houses batteries, sensors and a radio transmitter. To launch HAND, an astronaut would unfold it, which would would turn on its electrical power. The astronaut then would point it away, start the propulsion systems, and let it go rocketing off into space. HAND would fly away collecting data and radioing it down to hams on the ground tuned to an amateur radio band. The data telemetry would be decoded by hams' personal computers.
more about HAND testing »»
more about HAND launching »»


There will be more of those CubeSats, which are referred to as nanosats and picosats because they are tiny, measuring just 4x4x4 inches. To be exact, they are 10 ccm satellites weighing less than 1 kg.

CubeSat Project started in 1999 as a collaborative effort between California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and Stanford University's Space Systems Development Laboratory to provide a standard design for picosatellites with a common deployer. The idea was to reduce costs and development time, while increasing accessibility to space with frequent launches. Dozens of high schools, colleges, and universities around the world are developing CubeSats.
more about the CubeSat Project »»
more about Stanford SSDL »»
more about Cal Poly PolySat »»

Other Amateur Radio space operations: 21st century operation of the permanent Amateur Radio station aboard the ISS is known as ARISS for Amateur Radio aboard the International Space Station. In the 20th century, when a space shuttle mission was outfitted with an Amateur Radio station, that ham operation was called SAREX for Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment.   Learn more »

Table listing all amateur radio satellite launches »»

Stay tuned...

Well, that's the exciting story of Amateur Radio satellites for now. You now are up to date and you have an eye on the future. If you would like to review what you've seen, please go ahead to the First Page.

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