ARISSat-1, by our observation, has been an operational success—judging by the flood of contact reports on the AMSAT Bulletin Board
, posting of hundreds of SSTV photos at the ARISS SSTV Gallery
, and submission of over 100,000 frames of telemetry
. We had simple goals: make it easy to operate by allowing people to use existing amateur radios, scanners, and computers with sound cards.
Then it occurred to us that we should conduct an online survey to validate our choices of mission features. Canvassing the team, we came up with questions on what people’s operating parameters (experience, equipment, etc.) were to help us learn how they are using ARISSat-1, and give us some feedback and ideas on what we can do for future amateur-radio and educational-outreach satellites. The survey remains open on Survey Monkey
Below are the survey results from one week’s worth of responses; unabashed, with no analyses or judgment. I’ll leave that up to you. More than 500 people completed the survey. Many of the questions had respondents selecting multiple answers, thus the total percentages can add up to more than 100 percent. I arranged the order from highest percentage to lowest.
Afterwards, I’ll summarize our current plans for changes and improvements to the next satellite project.1. How did you listen to ARISSat-1?
97% - Directly using my radios and antennas
4% - Indirectly from the Internet2. Was ARISSat-1 enjoyable/exciting for you to operation/listen to?
88% - Yes
12% - No3. What did you enjoy the most?
62% - Listening to greetings from space
51% - Capturing SSTV pictures
36% - Listening to voice telemetry
26% - Collecting the secret words
22% - Capturing telemetry from the BPSK beacon
14% - Listening to the CW beacons
10% - Viewing captured SSTV pictures on the Internet
11% - Communicating on the transponder
7% - Studying the captured telemetry from the archive
2% - Collecting call signs from the CW beacons4. What operating mode did you enjoy the most?
59% - Voice
44% - SSTV
24% - Telemetry
9% - CW
9% - Transponder
5. Did you submit listening reports?
56% - No, I did not submit
30% - Yes. To the AMSAT Bulletin Board
17% - Yes, Other (please specify): to specified email address for telemetry, secret word, or certificate; Live OSCAR Satellite Status Page: http://oscar.dcarr.org/
; Audio recordings to SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com
3% - Yes, to YouTube
1% - Yes, to Vimeo6. Did you use the ARISSat-1 Telemetry Program (http://www.arissattlm.org/)?
59% - No, I did not use the program
35% - Yes, the Windows version
3% - Yes, the Mac version7. Did you forward captured BPSK telemetry to the ARISSat-1 TLM Server?
80% - No
20% - Yes8. Will you use the archived telemetry (http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/telemetry/arissat/)?
61% - No, I don’t plan to do anything with it
37% - Yes, for personal interest
2% - Yes, I am an educator; I plan to use it in a class assignment
1% - Yes, I am a student; I plan to use it in a class assignment
1% - Yes, I plan to write a paper on what I discovered9. Did you view the submitted videos about ARISSat-1 on YouTube/Vimeo?
55% - No
45% - Yes10. Did you view the SSTV Gallery (http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ariss/SSTV/)?
68% - Yes
18% - No
14% - I didn’t know about it
11. How many children did you share ARISSat-1 with?
59% - Not yet
31% - Yes, to my kids
5% - Yes, to my youth group (for example: Scouts)
3% - Yes, to a class (Primary, Secondary)
2% - Yes, to a class (University)12. What did the children find most fascinating?
Listening to an object in space; hearing the greetings from space in different languages, especially other kids; hearing the funny sound that was SSTV; viewing the SSTV pictures from space; 13. Where did you get your information about ARISSat-1 from?
62% - ARISSat-1 Official website (http://www.arissat1.org/v3/
59% - AMSAT.org website (http://www.amsat.org
19% - AMSAT News Service (ANS) Bulletins
17% - Other (please specify): Work the FM Ham Satellites (http://www.work-sat.com
); and many other mailing lists and websites too numerous to list.
18% - ARRL website
16% - ISS Fan Club (http://www.issfanclub.com/
9% - ARRL Letter
8% - Ham Nation (http://twit.tv/hn
6% - NASA website (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/hammin-it-up.html
6% - Friend
4% - RadioSkaf (http://radioskaf.ru/
3% - RS0ISS (http://rs0iss.ru/
4% - Local Club Newsletter
2% - EETimes Blog – Chips in Space (http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/4218141/Chips-in-Space
) 14. How did you track ARISSat-1?
38% - Other (please specify): Orbitron; Gpredict; CalSat32; WXtrack
32% - Online web-based tracker
20% - HamRadio Deluxe
13% - SatPC32
10% - iPhone App
7% - Nova
6% - Android App
2% - MacDoppler15. What Radio did you use to listen to ARISSat-1?
55% - Base Station Radio
40% - Handy Talky (HT)
25% - Mobile Radio
10% - FunCube Dongle Pro
8% - Other (please specify): Scanner
3% - I listened on the Internet
16. What antenna did you use to listen to ARISSat-1?
54% - Other (please specify): Various commercial vertical and yagi antennas; J-Pole
26% - Homemade yagi antenna
26% - Whip antenna (rubber duck)
18% - Arrow antenna
3% - I listened on the Internet17. Please tell us a little about yourself
95% - Amateur Radio Operator
12% - Other (please specify): Shortwave Listener (SWL); Retired;
4% - Educator, University
3% - Educator Primary, Secondary
2% - Student University
1% - Student Primary, Secondary18. Where are you located?
61% - North America
25% - Europe
8% - Asia
3% - Australia (I was reminded that New Zealand was not part of Australia – our apologies!)
2% - South America
1% - AfricaFor future satellites, what activities would you like to see?
In order of most frequently mentioned: SSTV, Transponder, Telemetry, Voice
I think the results are a little skewed to the North America side because the announcements for taking the survey originated out of the United States. I am confident that, as the survey continues and the word spreads, the results will flatten out. The first week in November, I will present six weeks’ worth of survey results at the AMSAT Space Symposium
in San Jose and post to the ARISSat-1 Official web site. What’s Next?
AMSAT has announced that they will be working on two new satellites, Fox-1 and Fox2. The Fox Project
, as it is known, will be CubeSats
. Fox-1 will be an easy-to-operate, FM transponder satellite, one with very similar operating characteristics to those of AMSAT OSCAR-51
. Fox-2 will be developed following and using experience gained from Fox-1.
Fox Satellite Concept
Building on lessons learned from AO-51 and ARISSat-1, and inspired by the longevity of AO-7
, the Fox-1 satellite project will introduce the concept of designed-in, partial-failure operation. The satellite will be specifically designed so that when the battery fails, the transponder can continue to operate when the satellite is in sunlight. Similarly, the satellite will be designed so that the FM transponder can operate without relying on the IHU. These modes are intended to extend the usable life of the satellite.Signing off, for now
Wow, can you believe that this has been the twelfth weekly post of the Chips in Space blog? It’s been a fun three months. I hope that you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thanks for all your comments, questions and encouragement. That is what fuels a project like this.
I’ll update the blog on the mission and operation of ARISSat-1, in the future. Let’s see how she fares in space, over time.
Until then, I must start work on the next great project. Sigh; there are so many fun things to do, and so little time.
-Steve Bible (73 DE N7HPR
)ARISSat-1 Official Web SiteThe Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation
Read the earlier Chips in Space blog posts, here