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New J-FM birds [Was: Air Force Minuteman Set to be First Launch of New Millenium]



The questions were specifically about STENSAT, and i'm going to try to answer
them for all of the birds for which there is on-line information, as best as
i understand it.

There are three birds known to be capable of J-FM operation: ASUSAT-1, JAWSAT
and STENSAT.  Most are using packet (typ. 9600 bps) to transfer telemetry and
scientific information.  Two, Artemis and OPAL solely use packet.  (There is
currently no on-line information for MASAT (nor is it clear that it is being
carried on OPAL).

   So does anyone know the anticipated schedule for the activation of StenSat?

ASUSAT-1 has both packet and voice as main objectives.  It appears that the
voice portion will be activated after sufficient data has been obtained from
the packet side to be certain the spacecraft is healthy.  Whether we are
talking about days or weeks in unclear to me from their WWW pages

The primary mission for STENSAT is J-FM, so it is likely to be the first one
available for general use.  It is a QRP bird (100/250 mW), so it will be more
challenging than AO-27 to hear.  It will be carried as a picosat on OPAL.
So first, Stanford will have to determine that OPAL is healthy and then it
will begin launching the picosats that it is carrying.  It is hoped that this
will happen within the first day or so.  A couple of hours after its launch 
from OPAL, STENSAT should receive enough sunlight to begin transmitting
telemetry.  Once its control station has determined that it is healthy, they
will attempt to activate the repeater portion.  At that point, the PL for
accessing STENSAT will be announced, probably to this list.

The primary mission for JAWSAT is scientific.  Like ASUSAT, they have two
sets of transmitters and receivers, at least one of which is capable of
'bent pipe' (e.g. J-FM in this case) operation.  If the scientific mission
can be run on the higher speed of those two sets, then, if the power budget
permits, some voice operation may be possible on the other set during the
primarily scientific phase of JAWSAT.  Once the main data collection phase
of JAWSAT is completed, the scientific aspects of the mission may become
minor in terms of resource use, and voice operation at that point could be
its primary mode of communication.

   Will it be fairly quick before we can use it or will it take a while?  Will
   the satellite be available whenever it is overhead or like AO-27 and only
   during daylight hours?

Assuming all of the satellites will function properly in space [e.g. if we 
are lucky], i would expect STENSAT to be available first, to be followed by
ASUSAT, and full-time operation of JAWSAT might not be for at least a few
months.  I would assume that all will eventually be available whenever they
are overhead.  Initially, JAWSAT may be available on a limited basis (how
soon after launch is unclear to me), but how such time will be allocated
and when/where that will be announced is unclear to me.

   Inquiring minds want to know!

The above information has been gleaned from WWW pages and some private
communication, is mixed with a bit of rumor and speculation, and is
generally subject to my occasionally faulty memory.  So if you have
better data, please inform me and/or post something here.

73's and good luck!
		            -- KD6PAG  (Networking Old-Timer, Satellite QRPer)
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