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Phase 3D To Visit Maryland

Friday, October 9, 1998

Phase 3D To Visit Maryland

The P3D spacecraft will undergo some testing in Germantown, 
Maryland soon.  There may be opportunities for AMSAT members 
and "family" to visit P3D at the Orbital Sciences Corporation 
(OSC) test facility before the spacecraft is placed in the 
test chamber.  

According to Lou McFadin, W5DID, AMSAT P3D Laboratory Manager, 
the spacecraft is scheduled to be in Germantown starting 
Tuesday, October 13 and placed in the thermal-vacuum (T/V) 
chamber on Tuesday, October 20.  

WORKERS.  The test phase is continuous.  One complete thermal 
cycle is predicted to run about 36 hours; P3D will go through 
five cycles.  There will be late night and early morning 
shifts available for AMSAT volunteers to stay up with the 
spacecraft at the chamber to monitor its performance.  We 
will need sitters and runners as well as technical help.  
We will need folks to meet team members at the airport and 
take them to the airport.  Contact me if you can volunteer 
as an on-site test monitor for two or more shifts or for 
any of these other positions.  

VISITORS.  The ground rules from the OSC security folks are 
still being determined.  Right now we know that an escorted 
group is limited to ten or fewer visitors in the facility at 
one time.  Legal picture ID is required.  The deadline to 
process a foreign national visitor authorization appears 
to have passed.  If time allows, a tour of this OSC building 
that is rich in history may be conducted during your visit.  

The visitor schedule is anticipated as follows: 

Thursday, October 15, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. EDT
Friday, October 16, 7:30 - 9 p.m. 
Sunday, October 18, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. 
Tuesday, October 20, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. (maybe)

Note that two of these dates occur on the AMSAT-NA Vicksburg 

These dates and times are subject to change.  Contact me by 
e-mail <wd8laq@amsat.org> and include your contact information, 
number in party, citizenship of each, and your schedule 
constraints.  Until we get arrangements finalized and approved 
by OSC security you should approach your visit as you would a 
space shuttle launch.  That is, be spontaneous because it can 
slip at a moment's notice.  

The Germantown facility is located immediately west of 
I-270 about half-way between the Capitol Beltway (I-495) 
and Frederick, Maryland (I-70).  The very approximate 
coordinates of OSC are N 39 15.4, W 77 18.6. 

Assisting as a backup to me is Dan Schultz, N8FGV, who can 
be reached at n8fgv@amsat.org or 301-552-9478 eves.  

TELEMETRY.  While "hidden" in the chamber for up to ten days, 
arrangements are being made to broadcast the P3D telemetry 
real-time from the test site.  Details about this will be 
forthcoming, however, local amateur ground stations equipped 
to copy AMSAT-OSCAR 13 PSK 400-bps telemetry should be able 
decode it with little effort.  MDC area AMSAT members are 
looking into providing a possible Internet link for all to 

Please pardon the bandwidth on amsat-bb and other channels 
that reach well beyond the Washington, D.C. area.  If you 
happen to visit our area this month then please come 
visit with us!  


Pat Kilroy, WD8LAQ
AMSAT Area Coordinator - MDC

Patrick L. Kilroy                                          (ex-743)
SSPP Hitchhiker I&T Engineer      Phone:  301-286-1984
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center  Fax:    301-286-1673
Building 5, New Mail Code 568     E-mail: pat.kilroy@gsfc.nasa.gov
Greenbelt, Maryland  20771        Web:    http://sspp.gsfc.nasa.gov

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