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AO-40, double hop and the Moon?

Woke up at dawn thinking about using satellites as relays to longer
distances, looking out of earth orbit rather than staying in it.

If AO-40 at apogee is 53k + kilometers out then at some point it must be at
its best position relative to the earth and the moon, therefore could act
as a relay to any moon expedition (or moon data uplink)? easier for us
earthbound to reach AO-40 due to power considerations. Like a 2 stage
rocket really. The same would apply to an expedition to Mars should humans
ever do so. There must be times when the antenna in AO-40 can be oriented
towards earth and elsewhere in the universe - if the LittleGreenMen have
the squint pointing at them then they could come up on 70cm and be heard on
earth on 2.4 GHz! But I wonder if we could not listen on say 2m (144 Mhz
isn't a bad frequency for Pulsars) for amplitude as the antenna scans
through distant radio sources? We would need to visualise the orbit in
relation to these sources.

The double hop could also be tested with ao-40 as a second stage. If say
FO-29 was visible from AO-40 would AO-40 hear her? Then you could be heard
on 2.4GHz downlink over a whole hemisphere while calling into LEO..(return
path again AO-40).If the ISS ever used ssb could that go to AO-40 (I assume
2m packet wouldn't be welcome on AO-40)...

andy G0SFJ
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