Project OSCAR

OSCAR is an acronym for Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio.

OSCAR series satellites use amateur radio frequencies to communicate with earth. They are conceived, designed, and built by amateur radio operators under the general direction of national organisations such as AMSAT.

The first amateur satellite simply named OSCAR-1 , was launched on December 12, 1961, barely four years after the launch of Russia's first satellite, Sputnik. OSCAR-1 was the very first satellite to be ejected as a secondary payload and subsequently enter a separate orbit.

Despite being in orbit only 22 days OSCAR-1 was an immediate success with over 570 amateur radio operators in 28 countries forwarding observations to Project OSCAR.

AMSAT organisation

AMSAT is a name for amateur radio satellite organizations world-wide, but in particular the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT-NA) with headquarters at Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington DC. AMSAT organizations design, build, arrange launches for, and then operate (command) satellites carrying amateur radio payloads, including the OSCAR series of satellites. Other informally affiliated national organizations exist, such as AMSAT Germany (AMSAT-DL) and AMSAT Japan (JAMSAT).

AMSAT-NA was founded in 1969 in Washington DC to continue the efforts begun by Project OSCAR. Its first project was to coordinate the launch of OSCAR 5, constructed by students at the University of Melbourne. Some design modifications were needed and were made by AMSAT members, and the satellite was successfully launched on January 30, 1970 on a NASA Thor Delta launch vehicle.

AMSAT's next launch was AMSAT-OSCAR 6 (AO-6) on October 15, 1972. AO-6 was AMSAT's first long-life satellite, and was built with participants from Australia and West Germany. Command stations in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hungary, Morocco, New Zealand, the United States and West Germany controlled the satellite, contributing greatly to its 4½ years of service.

Throughout the years OSCAR satellites have helped make significant breakthroughs in the science of satellite communications. A few advancements include the launch of the very first satellite voice transponders and the development of highly advanced digital "store-and-forward" messaging transponder techniques.

To-date over 70 OSCAR's have been launched with more to be launched in the near future.

Currently 21 countries have launched an OSCAR satellite. These countries, in chronological order by date of launch, include: The United Kingdom, The United States of America, Spain, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, France, Portugal, Korea, Italy, Mexico, Israel, Thailand, South Africa, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, & Colombia.

Example: First colombian satellite

Libertad 1 (English: Freedom 1) is a single CubeSat built by the Space Program of the Sergio Arboleda University, Colombia. It was launched aboard a Dnepr rocket on April 17, 2007 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan and became the first Colombian satellite to orbit the Earth. It will use a telemetric payload that will keep it in communication with the University. It is expected to have a 50 day lifespan.

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