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Giving NO-45 a breather

Bill Bruno wrote:

> Is NO-45 operational? I heard nothing on orbit # 14601. It was a 52deg
> elevation pass here.
> Bill

I think Sapphire is reaching his last legs as PCSat did; the 
batteries have been beaten up for too long and have lost capacity. 
(They were sized for a 1-year mission, so, as we approach 3 years in 
orbit, this is to be expected.)  However, it *could* be that we've 
all been digipeating/contacting him enough that he can't get his 
power levels back up.

So, to test that theory, I asking for a halt to Sapphire digipeating 
for the time being; we'll keep an eye on him for the next ten days 
and give you an update.  (If it's not a power management problem and 
is just a sign of old batteries, we'll open him up for digipeating 
again.  Otherwise, we'll have to work out some new arrangement.)

In the meantime, we will be turning the beacon off to conserve 
power, so you should not expect to hear anything.

Hopefully we can squeeze a few more months out of him.

Mike Swartwout, KE6YNJ
Sapphire Operations Lead
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