Phase 3-D Launch Status Update

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For Immediate Release

Number 99-01, May 15, 1999

DAYTON, OHIO (AMSAT News Service) In a letter dated May 14, 1999 addressed to Dayton Hamvention attendees here, Dr. Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, Phase 3D Project Leader and AMSAT-DL President, shed new light on the current launch status of the Phase 3-D International Satellite. Dr. Meinzer wrote:

May 14, 1999

As you well know, I very much have been looking forward to joining you for the 1999 Dayton Hamvention. Unfortunately, recent developments regarding our launch situation for Phase 3-D have now made it necessary that I remain here in Germany during your event this upcoming weekend.

As many of you know, AMSAT-DL is the principal agency responsible for securing a safe and affordable launch for Phase 3-D. Since this project began, we had secured such a launch opportunity on one of the ARIANE 5 test flights, which were conducted under the control of the European Space agency (ESA). Unfortunately, this launch agreement for P3-D with ESA did not work out, essentially due to the failure of the first ARIANE 5 flight and the resulting aftermath. Since ESA is not conducting such flights anymore, I and our team have been working very hard over the past year or so to find a replacement launch. We have been patiently negotiating with a number of different launch agencies, and it looks now that this work is starting to pay off as it is beginning to yield results.

I am pleased to report to you that we are currently in the final phase of working out the details of an agreement for the launch of Phase 3-D with one of these launch agencies. At this point, I am very optimistic and I believe this launch agency is genuinely working very hard toward providing us a launch for P3-D. I am also very hopeful that in the following weeks a launch contract can be closed which contains conditions we can meet. The agency has now identified some launches over the next year or so which have enough performance margin to allow the inclusion of P3-D in addition to the main payload. The launcher business these days has become extremely competitive, and it is has become nearly impossible for launch agencies to fix their launch-plan for more than half a year ahead.

Thus, even after our contract is closed, we will remain a "stand-by passenger". However, judging from the presently known plans, they could ... and I emphasize the word could ... lead to a launch of our satellite as early as of October this year. Of course, this all assumes that the remaining open details of our interface with their launch vehicle can be successfully worked out and that we do not run into some last-minute problems with our contract.

Needless to say, I am delighted with this turn of events. My only remaining wish is that I could be there in Dayton to share them with you in person. Please accept my sincere best wishes for a productive AMSAT forum at Hamvention and my thanks for your continued patience and strong support of our efforts.



Dr. Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC
AMSAT-DL President and Phase 3-D Project Leader


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