Educational Outreach

The main aim of the FUNcube project is provide educationalists access to information about a real spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit. Please use this forum to discuss classroom projects and similar matters. FUNcube support is provided elsewhere in the forum.

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Educational Outreach

Postby g3vzv » Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:00 pm

Now that FUNcube-1 is safely in orbit and we have been able to characterise its functionality we are now proceeding as quickly as possible with the next phase of the project – developing the resources to support the regular use of the spacecraft in schools and colleges around the world.
We are already aware of a number of schools that are using FUNcube-1

A lot of details about the spacecraft and the “groundstation” software etc can already be found on these pages and

Now at the beginning of December 2013 we have a working satellite in space and the Dashboard User Interface on the ground plus the Central Data Warehouse running. Our plans for the further development of the educational uses are as follows:
• Finalise the development of the Dashboard User Interface.
• Finalise the development of the Data Warehouse.
• Determine the best/most practical antennas for school and college use - and arrange their availability.
• Ensure good availability of the FUNcube Dongle radio receiver.
• Develop a full set of all the necessary resource materials for teachers and students to get the greatest benefit from this project. These will be made available in both written and video formats.

We are already working with a number of individuals and organisations to complete this work as quickly as possible over the next few months and it will all be made freely available when completed.

If you would like to become involved in this work please post a reply here. We would, of course, welcome your assistance!
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Re: Educational Outreach

Postby Lauriston » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:55 am

Hi, G3VZV,

At Lauriston Girls' School in Melbourne, Australia, we have been receiving and uploading data frames since launch day. We are very happy to share our experiences with other schools. In particular, we have compared a hands-free approach to gathering data, which shows students what to expect from a pass, to a fully hands-on approach in which all members of a group of students get involved with az/el steering, Doppler shifting, data capture monitoring and warehouse confirmation. This gets students much closer to the science and raises lots of questions which can be followed up in the classroom. Our antenna on the school sports oval attracts primary and secondary students alike. Our IB and Victorian Certificate senior students make good use of orbital parameters, frequency shifts and so on within their respective courses, as well as using the data collected for whole-orbit analysis.

I will be very happy to contribute to the development of resources for educational outreach. Please let me know what is needed. Meanwhile, I will prepare a description of our experiences so far with the FUNCube dongle and other equipment.

We look forward to hearing from other schools around the world.


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Re: Educational Outreach

Postby SGAARC » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:14 pm


So far we have only collected data and uploaded it to the warehouse. This has been very much a hands off process as we only meet once a week after school so are unable to look at live reception. Also, we only have a fixed station consisting of a FUNcube Dongle with a turnstile antenna designed for weather satellite reception.

Not sure what we can contribute as we are all very new to this but would be happy to help in whatever way we can.

Paul - What are you using for live data collection?

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Location: Ruskington, Lincolnshire, NG34 9BY

Re: Educational Outreach

Postby Ted » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:01 pm

An Approximate Calculation for the Orbital Period of a LOE Satellite

Centrifugal force = centripetal force. Hence (mv^2)/r = mg’, where r = distance of satellite from Earth's centre,
g' is the gravitational force at the satellite, m is its mass and v is its velocity.
Therefore velocity of satellite v = (r x g’)^0.5
Earth’s average gravity = 9.8066 m/sec/sec
Earth’s average radius = 6371 km
Assume altitude of satellite = 620 km
Distance of satellite above centre of Earth r = 6991 km
The gravitational force is inversely proportional to the distance.
Hence gravity g’ at altitude of 620 km = (6371/6991)^2 x 9.8066 = 8.1443 m/sec/sec
Velocity of satellite = (r x g’)^0.5 = (6991 x 8.1443 / 1000)^0.5 = 7.546 km/sec
= 7.546 x 3600 = 27,166 km/hr
One orbit = 2 x pi x 6991= 43926 km
Hence approximate orbital period = 43926/27166 = 1.617 hours = 97 minutes

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Re: Educational Outreach

Postby JohnG7OHO » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:45 pm

How about using Kepler's third law to calculate the period of the satellite - the square of the orbital period is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis. Yes, Kepler figured this out for the planets but it is applicable to orbiting bodies. We know that the Moon takes 27.32 days to orbit the Earth and its semi-major axis is 384 400 km. Given the radius of the orbit of the funcube satellite is 6991 km we calculate its orbital period to be 96.5 minutes.
well done Kepler!
He had no idea why his law worked - it took the genius of Newton to explain why.
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