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Sunsat News



I was away from my terminal for two days and a lot of the latest news on Sunsat was posted in that time.  Here follows some old news.
 
The students at Stellenbosch University operate in three teams presently to obtain maximum value from every suitable pass over Cape Town.  The passes occur at about 0400 local time and everybody involved have their usual daily tasks to attend to, as well as the prime task of stabilising the spacecraft and bringing it to full operation.  Until the passes change, it will be midnight oil for the control team at Sunsat.
 
The first telemetry data received from the onboard magnetometer to measure the satellite's orientation, looked promissing.  The Orimag magnetometer was built by the magnetic observatory in the small coastal town of Hermanus, which is located about 150km North-East of Cape Town on the East coast.  This world famous observatory is funded by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.  The satellite team praised the observatory for an instrument that functions well.
 
The team is very satisfied with the initial telemetry received from the satellite.  Indications are that all is nominal on board with temperatures similar to the laboratory temperatures where the craft is controlled from, and being in the expected deployed tumble motion and pointing Westward on the Y-axis.  The revolution tempo's are approximately 0,9 revolutions per minute in the X- and Y-axes and 0,7 revolutions per minute in the Y-axis.  These figures are very close to the predicted performance for the satellite at that stage in the orbit.  The West pointing Z-axis is temorary until the craft is correctly oriented and this results in the control team having better communications with the satellite during an Eastern pass.
 
The work schedule includes testing and calibrating of all the onboard systems during the first week, and then would follow the detumble operation and gravity boom deployment over the following two weeks.  The satellite would then point earthward on the Z-axis (antennas are mounted on the Z-axis) and be rotating on the Z-axis, resulting in good communications during all passes.  However, due to the communications problem experienced by the control team, it was decided to first deploy the gravity boom before the detumble operations commence.
 
The status of the spacecraft will change with every pass over the control laboratory at Stellenbosch University and the best source of information in future will be the Sunsat website http://sunsat.ee.sun.ac.za/index.html .
 
I have taken many colour slides of the satellite during development and the final assembly stages and will post them to my website as soon as I have them scanned to disk.  Progress of the website will be posted on this reflector.
 
Regards
Deon ZR1DQ
zr1sq@qsl.net
 


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