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Re: Satellite-to-Satellite communications

John Stephenson wrote:

AMSAT-NA and AMSAT-DL will determine the exact orbits when they fire the
onboard rocket engines. They will both be Molniya orbits similar to AO-13.

Wayne replies:

P3E is planned to go into a Molniya (high-inclination HEO) orbit.  The 
new Eagle brochure states that Eagle will have limited propulsion 
capability to merely boost the perigee of the initial GTO orbit 
(low-inclination HEO).  So P3E's apogee would be in far northern 
latitudes (like AO-13's early years) and Eagle's apogee would be near 
the equator (like AO-40).  The coverage footprints are significantly 
different, and the orbital period and daily precession would be 
different as well.

I think it's a GOOD thing that the two satellites will be in different 
orbits.  The P3E orbit maximizes east-west DX range for folks in the 
northern hemisphere.  The Eagle orbit maximizes north-south DX range for 
everybody, and is much more useful for folks in the southern hemisphere. 
  If both satellites get to their intended orbit, hams in the northern 
hemisphere will be able to contact almost every place on earth without 
needing an relay link between the satellites.  I doubt that "internet 
relay" contacts would be valid for awards such as DXCC.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Oakland, Oregon, USA
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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