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SMART-1 Lunar projects revisited

Give the recent discussion of the "accessibility" to amateurs for a Phase 5
satellite, maybe the upcoming lunar satellites and opportunities should be

Such a project would be accessible to more amateurs (e.g. existing EME
stations, shorter signal path distance, SETI stations, weak signal

An offer by AMSAT to assist ESA, based on the following facts:

The AMSAT & EME community of amateur radio operators actually have a larger
ground station network (EME stations) - than all of the government dishes
combined. (Always handy to have backup data receiving stations)

The scientific data from the satellite could be provided to secondary
education institutions (science and education missions of AMSAT)

We work cheap (just keep feeding us)

There will be future opportunities (e.g. Chinese and Japanese announced
lunar satellites), so it is something to think about.

73 de w9gb
Electric power and ion propulsion are about to combine for only the second
time to propel a spacecraft beyond Earth orbit. Next April the European
Space Agency's SMART-1 lunar satellite heads off to explore the Moon from an
orbital position.

The six-month orbital mission -- SMART-1 won't land on the Moon -- is touted
as a technology test bed for an electric propulsion mechanism and for the
viability of miniature instrumentation in space. But SMART-1 will also carry
a scientific payload keener than most any other used before at the Moon,
helping to gain insight into its composition and the evolution of the
Earth-Moon system.

The SMART-1 spacecraft was originally planned for launch in 2002, but
delayed for more development time with the new ion propulsion system.
Giuseppe Racca is SMART-1's project manager.

Electric propulsion has been used in low-Earth telecommunications satellites
for years, and a high-tech ion engine powered NASA's Deep Space 1 test craft
from 1998 until late last year. But before this technology is ready for
prime-time missions to other planets and beyond, more tests are needed.

Full article at space.com :

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