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AMSAT P3-E Status



Dear All,

First of all I have to apologize for the little information about the 
P3-E progress over the last few month. Indeed, I gave an update during 
the recent AMSAT-UK Colloquium and also our AMSAT-DL magazine has a lot 
of information, which will be reprinted in the AMSAT-NA Journal and 
other sources with some delay.  To improve communications with our 
membership and worldwide audience, we decided last year to improve the 
information flow on our website using a new content management system 
(CMS, Mambo).  Unfortunately this took much longer than anticipated, but 
the new portal should be available to the public by December. The CMS 
itself is almost fully functional, but we have to transfer and re-edit 
all the information from our old website. You can probably imagine, that 
this is still a lot of work. However, once it is running, we hope to put 
more information on-line and also have a news section with more regular 
updates. Indeed, because of this, we almost stopped updating the old 
website..   

So far, AMSAT P3-E is making good progress, but slowly. Some modules 
have already arrived in Marburg for the integration, but other module 
builders make good use of the additional time due to the yet unknown 
launch date, which sometimes makes it also hard to motivate the people. 
The wiring harness is defined and will be build and integrated into the 
S/C soon. Thanks to the CAN-bus and our CAN-DO module controllers, it 
will be not such a big beast as on previous P3 satellites. Talking about 
the CAN-DO, another radiation testing was performed. This time 
irradiation with protons. The CAN-DO module and other selected 
electronic components for P3-E and P5-A were exposed to protons with an 
energy of 60 MeV.  The CAN-DO module stopped operating at 61 krad, which 
is good for a projected mission duration of more than 10 years. Since 
the CAN-DO module is one of the most critical parts on P3-E and P5-A, 
this gives us a better feeling and that it should not suffer from a 
radiation induced failure. Very good progress was also reported from the 
development teams of the new IHU-3, both in terms of hardware and 
software. While a big step forward was made, the full integration and 
testing of the operational IPS software and all it's functionality 
(including the turbo codes and software defined modems) is next. Within 
the next couple of weeks, a radiation testing is also planned for the 
IHU-3.  In addition to the analog transponders flying on P3-E, we will 
also look into the possibility to have an SDT (software defined 
transponder) flying on P3-E for the first time. The recent developments 
on Software Defined Radio technologies and STELLA, as reported 
previously here, might give us completely new ideas. While this is quite 
late and various details must still be discussed, the necessary RF 
interfaces are already available in the module space we have identified 
for this. Expect to hear more about this in the next few weeks.

As mentioned before,  an extremely critical step was taken a few days 
ago, when Ariane 5 scored a double success for Arianespace with the 
successful launch of Syracuse 3A and Galaxy 15 on-board flight V168.

While we do not yet have an official launch manifest, we are in full 
contact with our partners at Arianespace. Everyone is working hard to 
find a suitable slot for P3-E to the benefit of both sides.  While the 
year 2005 is almost over, our target to get P3-E into orbit is still 
2006 and will remain so. Clearly, the continuing success of the new 
Ariane 5 will help us too.   Initial arrangements for environmental 
testing, including vibration and thermal vacuum testing are already made.

Indeed, we still need a lot of support for P3-E and donations. But with 
all the contributions we are receiving, P3-E will be truly another 
international satellite.  I'm in particular delighted, that AMSAT-NA 
joined and supports the P3-E project. We have excellent personal 
relationship between our organisations and apart from the fun, things 
are developing really good to the benefit of EAGLE, P3-E and all the 
projects on the horizon.


Best wishes
Peter Guelzow, DB2OS
President AMSAT-DL
P3-E Project leader


BTW: Having written the above just in one evening, it always goes easier 
once you have started doing it.. ;-)
But I still hope for your patience, there are still too much other 
things on top of my priority list...
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