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Visiting the Phase 3-D Lab

"Bill McFadden" <ve1rj@ns.sympatico.ca> said:

>I could be wrong
>on this but I think I recall that the Phase 3D was assembled and
>being tested in Orlando Florida. I am going to be in Orlando FL in
>March for 2 weeks. I am wondering if it is possible to see the
>satellite while I am there (that is if it is still there) and who I
>would have to get ahold of via either email or phone to arrange such
>a visit or even if it is possible.

Well, I've found out that the best way to be welcomed at the Phase 3-D Lab
is to come in and say "Here's a $50 check for the Phase 3-D fund".  ;-)

But seriously ...

The Lab is a serious work place.  While most of us like to talk about ham
radio and hobbies - that's after work - not during work.  And the work day
often lasts 10 to 12 hours -- or more.  If a task has to get done, then the
team does whatever's necessary.

If you do visit the lab then somebody's got to show you around (or at least
make sure you don't accidentally damage something) - and that takes up
resources which could be going towards completing and testing Phase 3-D on
time.  And there have been a couple of out-of-town visitors who have called
from their hotels, asking us for rides to and from the lab!  (No, we do not
provide taxi service ...)

On the other hand, there are many many tasks which need to be done.  And if
you can drop by for half a day, or even a couple of hours each day for a
couple of days to help out then that helps everybody.  Any task which you
can do is one less task which somebody else has to do.

The tasks aren't necessarily glamorous ones, and can range from making
photocopies to assembling a pallet outdoors (in the Florida summer) but
they're all important tasks for completing the spacecraft.  For example,
the reason we need a large pallet outdoors is the entire spacecraft has to
be rolled outside so we can test all of the transmitters and the GPS
receivers.  So we're building a 'sidewalk' with a plastic tent for
protection to protect the spacecraft while it's outside.

Last time I was at the lab my tasks included measuring lengths of twine
which had been used to fit where thermal sensor wires will be placed in the
spacecraft and putting those twines in to plastic baggies - hardly rocket

If you have any special skills (e.g. high quality soldering, electronics
testing, capability to do orbital mechanics calculations, etc.) then by all
means tell us!

As a rule the Lab is open from 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am
to 5 pm on Saturdays, but we're often there longer.  But do call ahead of
time to check how busy we are and what's happening.  For example, many of
the lab workers will not make the Orlando Hamcation (February 14-15)
because we're going to be busy testing the satellite.

We do love to show off our spacecraft and we're quite proud of the work
which has been done by literally hundreds of folks around the world.  But
please understand how busy the lab is.

Feel free to contact myself at kc4yer@amsat.org or the lab directly at
p3dlab@amsat.org if you think you can help.

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.