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Re: p3d launch article



Bruce:

You make a good point that published materials should always be as
accurate as possible...I do caution you, however, not to criticize the
journalist too much; if this has, indeed, been published it has cast the
amateur community in a good light.  Let us not lose a friend by pointing
out that a few sentences are not fully accurate.

But I think you have made this point to some extent.

73 de Vince, W1IDL

On Sat, 11 Nov 2000, Bruce Paige wrote:

> i received this article from a friend. although the thought and spirit of the 
> article is to benefit ham radio, i think that factual data should always be used 
> so as not to deceive the reader. this article was published in a commercial 
> newspaper in australia.
> 
> i would like to know the source of information as it does not appear to be 
> correct. 
> 
> where did he get the figure $200 million for the commercial cost?
> where did he get the figure $5 million for the actual cost?
> also, this is not a free launch, amsat has paid for the launch. 
> 
> how did these inaccuracies get into an article like this???
> 
> 73...bruce
> 
> Satellite launch a giant step for amateur radio 
>    By: Peter Ellis
>    Canberra Sunday Times
>    November 12, 2000
>    Peter Ellis tells the story of a space curiosity that will be orbiting
>    over Canberra next week.
> 
>    WHAT AM I? I have brains, eyes, ears, mouth and arms; I am full of
>    ammonia but do not smell; I am a great listener but can also talk like
>    a parrot; I have wings that fly on the sun's wind; I have wheels that
>    take me nowhere; I speak many languages but understand none. I fly free
>    but I am kept captured by a great force; I am a curiosity that few
>    people know about and very few will ever see. I am small and simple,
>    yet I am the biggest and most complex. I have a name that is out of
>    this world Phase 3D. I am a communications satellite, but I was built
>    by amateurs amateur radio operators. And I will finally be launched in
>    the next week. When Phase 3D hitches a ride into space on Wednesday at
>    12.07pm Canberra time on one of the very early commercial launches for
>    the new Ariane 5 rocket, it will be setting new standards for the
>    conquest of space by ordinary folk. P3D is the largest and most complex
>    Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio of about 40 successfully
>    developed, built, launched, controlled and used by amateur radio
>    satellite operators (AMSAT) around the world over the last 40 years.
>    Add the 18 Russian amateur radio satellites and the total is almost 60,
>    with more being built each year often as part of university research
>    programs. Commercial satellite builders think the amateur radio
>    satellites are toys. P3D is the largest and most expensive amateur
>    satellite and cost about $US5 million (over $A9 million), raised from
>    subscriptions and donations from amateurs world-wide. The builders
>    donated their time and talents. A commercial version would have cost
>    well over $US200 million (about $A400 million). The opportunity to
>    piggyback on government and commercial launches happens because
>    satellites come in various sizes. The difference between a rocket's
>    potential and actual "pay"-loads is dead-weight ballast, or is offered
>    for free rides by amateur radio satellites and others designed and
>    built by universities and institutions. AMSAT helped design and build a
>    launcher adaptor ring for P3D. The launcher operator will be able to
>    use the design for other secondary payloads. Amateur radio satellites
>    have regularly risked the trial launches of new rockets, before paying
>    customers will take the chance. For example, Fuji-OSCAR 12 was launched
>    in 1986 by the first test flight of the Japanese H-1 launcher. Phase
>    3C/OSCAR 13 was launched in 1988 by the first test flight of the Ariane
>    4 launcher from Kourou, French Guiana. P3D weighs 646kg and will launch
>    on the sixth flight of the Ariane 5 rocket. The 4.75-tonne PANAMSAT
>    PAS-1R communications satellite is the paying customer, and the 100kg
>    STRV-1C and 1D satellites are also taking a ride. Ariane 5 is the
>    flagship for Arianespace, owned by a consortium of European space
>    organisations. Its launch site is at Kourou in French Guiana on the
>    north-east coast of South America, down the coast from the Caribbean
>    islands. At only four degrees from the equator, this site is ideal for
>    a European commercial launch company to send rockets over the expanse
>    of the Atlantic where strap-on booster rockets can fall, be recovered
>    and reused. As currently built, Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket can lift
>    about 6.5 tonnes to Geostationary Transfer Orbit, with growth planned
>    to almost double that within several years. GTO is the orbit where
>    communications satellites can be manoeuvred into their stationary
>    orbits over the equator and, coincidentally, P3D's final orbit will
>    approximate this. Australia's amateur radio operators will be tracking
>    P3D during the first critical days and weeks, gathering data it
>    transmits to prove it is operating normally. Several Canberrans are
>    ready to feed data back to the command stations. P3D's German design
>    was built by amateurs for amateurs. It has become reality because
>    people cooperated from countries such as Germany, Hungary, United
>    States, Slovenia, Japan, Great Britain, South Africa, Belgium, the
>    Czech Republic, Canada, Finland and France. Three main computers keep
>    P3D's systems alive. They interpret the digital data flowing between
>    its systems and through receivers to its transmitters. Its
>    Japanese-built cameras will be able to send simple images of Earth and
>    space, and help the ground stations to point it at Earth. The sun and
>    Earth-edge visual sensors tell P3-D which direction to point. Receivers
>    cover across some 130 octaves from short wave to microwave, and an
>    experiment will investigate the other short-wave frequencies in the
>    Earth's far atmosphere. Its transmitters cover up to the high
>    microwave. It has two arms or wings carrying its solar cells, charging
>    its batteries to carry it through Earth's shadow. The total power
>    budget at launch is about 500 watts; much less than a normal house's
>    lights at night. P3D's directional stability and rocket system was
>    designed and built in Germany. It carries a small ammonia-powered
>    experimental "arcjet" engine that will boost it into a highly
>    elliptical orbit over many months. It also carries a large rocket
>    engine burning hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide that will be used to
>    finally kick it into its looping orbit. P3D's magnetic-reaction coils
>    will push against the Earth's magnetic lines of force, and three-axis
>    momentum wheels will also help stabilise it so the antennas are pointed
>    at Earth. It has two GPS receivers which will calculate details about
>    its orbit. It will research the solar cosmic radiation with instruments
>    built in England. So few people know of P3D that it is a curiosity even
>    among amateur radio operators. Not many more than those who assembled
>    it at Orlando, Florida, will have even seen it before launch. Yet, as
>    it flies high and slowly over the northern hemisphere, and more through
>    the southern skies, it will be transmitting data on its infrared laser
>    and so be visible through a "nightscope". Amateur radio satellites have
>    always been at the forefront of adventure and experiment in space. The
>    first Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio, the first of the Phase
>    1 satellites, was launched on December 12, 1961, by a Thor Agena B
>    rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The 4.5kg OSCAR 1
>    was launched piggyback with Discovery 36, described recently as a
>    United States Air Force spy satellite. OSCAR 1 was box-shaped with a
>    single antenna and went into a low orbit. Its low-power transmitter
>    discharged its batteries after three weeks. Five hundred and seventy
>    amateurs in 28 countries reported receiving its simple "HI-HI" morse
>    code signals until January 1, 1962. The speed of the HI-HI message was
>    controlled by a temperature sensor inside the spacecraft. OSCAR 1
>    re-entered the atmosphere on January 31, 1962, after 312 revolutions.
>    In 1965 OSCAR 3 featured solar cells for the first time. University of
>    Melbourne students heard their Australis-OSCAR 5 in January 1970, the
>    first remotely controlled amateur satellite. It was battery-powered and
>    over seven weeks it provided contacts between hundreds of stations in
>    27 countries. AMSAT OSCAR 6 in 1972 was the first Phase 2 satellite,
>    featuring a control system using discrete logic and
>    satellite-to-satellite relay communication via AO-7. It demonstrated
>    doppler-location of ground stations for search and rescue (which is now
>    common) and low-cost medical-data relay from remote locations. OSCAR 7
>    in 1974 was built by a multi-national team from Germany, Canada, United
>    States and Australia and featured a store-and-forward message relay
>    system. The first Russian Radio Sputnik satellites were launched on
>    October 26, 1978. They have been followed by six launched together on a
>    common launch vehicle on December 17, 1981. Two Russian satellites were
>    launched from the Salyut 7 space station in 1982. RS-17, a scale model
>    built by high-school students to commemorate the 40th anniversary of
>    the launching of Sputnik 1, was launched by hand on November 4, 1997
>    from the Mir space station by Russian cosmonauts. Then, most recently,
>    Sputnik 41/RS18 was launched by hand one year later. AMSAT Phase 3A was
>    launched on May 23, 1980. The launch failed and the P3A did not reach
>    orbit. The new series of OSCARS featured rocket motors as well as
>    external control. UO-9, launched October 6, 1981, was the first
>    experimental satellite from the University of Surrey in Britain. It was
>    a scientific and educational low-orbit satellite containing many
>    experiments and beacons, and featured an on-board computer. It was
>    still in operation nine years later when it re-entered the atmosphere.
>    Phase 3B/OSCAR 10, launched on June 16, 1983, is still operating. By
>    the late 1980s many other groups were trying for space. In one launch
>    on January 22, 1990, the Brazilian O-17, the US Webber University's
>    O-18, and Argentina's O-19 were launched. Another Japanese satellite
>    was launched 16 days later. In the next three years, groups in England,
>    the US, France, Korea, Italy and Portugal had satellites. This was also
>    the beginning of the fully digital satellites allowing computer
>    networking around the world. In 1995, Mexico and Israel joined the
>    club, Thailand in 1998, and South Africa and Malaysia this year. Space
>    has manned amateur radio stations, too. The first such mission was on
>    the space shuttle in the early 1980s, and they are repeated regularly
>    when payload and power allow. The Russian Mir space station had several
>    sets of equipment sent to it, including a camera transmitter and a
>    repeater. The idea is that astronauts and cosmonauts speak over amateur
>    radio in their planned spare time to school amateur radio stations and
>    ordinary amateurs. Like Mir, the International Space Station - newly
>    named "Alpha" - already carries amateur radio equipment. Two members of
>    its first three-man crew, two cosmonauts and an astronaut, launched
>    last week, have amateur radio licences and will soon be setting up the
>    equipment to talk to stations on Earth. Amateur radio operators are
>    dedicated to self-education in their technical hobby. They build their
>    station equipment and antennas to talk to friends across the world, or
>    with some satellites use the electronic mailboxes to send messages on a
>    type of radio Internet. AMSAT satellites are used for educational
>    purposes in schools and youth science competitions to introduce young
>    people to space technology and exploration, with amateur radio
>    operators supervising students' use of radios to communicate via the
>    satellites. Amateurs have modified their high-gain receivers to listen
>    directly to manned landings on the moon and more recently hear the Mars
>    orbiters. It is the adventure that drives them to spend time building
>    radios or modifying cast-off commercial equipment to show what is
>    possible with some knowledge and ingenuity. P3D has been 12 years in
>    planning and six years in construction. Spare a thought for the AMSAT
>    Germany project leader, Professor Dr Karl Meinzer, and the mission
>    director, launch campaign, Peter Guelzow, and their team, who have
>    watched their child grow from conception to maturity. Who else but the
>    adventurous amateur radio community would pay for their mates to build
>    their bright ideas, then strap it to a pile of explosive propellant and
>    light the fuse? This week, applaud the spirit of volunteerism that has
>    seen people around the world give freely of their intellect and talents
>    for a satellite that has the potential to be so much space-junk or,
>    through the experiments by amateur radio operators, change how mankind
>    communicates in space.
> 
>    Amateur radio in the ACT is heavily involved in community activities,
>    as safety radio operators at several car rallies, the Two Day Walk,
>    Coach Riding Championships at Bungendore, etc.
> 
>    Contact the Wireless Institute of Australia ACT at
>    http://www.vk1.wia.ampr.org; email: president@vk1.wia.ampr.org or
>    phone 6254 3266.
>    Scanner can be tuned to the local radio repeater stations on 146.900
>    and 435.825MHz. On the Net: AMSAT - http://www.amsat.org
>    http://www.amsat-dl.org and http://www.amsat.org PANAMSAT PAS-1R -
>    http://www.panSTRV-1C 1D satellites - http://www.dera.gov.uk/
>    amsat.com/ Arianespace - http://www.arianespace.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ============================================================================
> Bruce Paige, KK5DO                      Internet: kk5do@amsat.org
> Houston, Texas                                
> AMSAT Area Coordinator                      
> ARRL Awards Manager (WAS, 5BWAS, VUCC), VE                     
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