November 9, 1997

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Sputnik Model in Orbit

The working model of Sputnik is now in orbit and on the air.

Reports from several places indicate the working model Sputnik-40 satellite launched Monday, November 3, from the Mir space station is currently "beeping" on its downlink frequency of 145.82 MHz.

The satellite commemorates the 40th anniversary of the original Sputnik 1 satellite. Sputnik 1, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, was the first artificial Earth satellite. The original Sputnik 1 transmitted a similar beacon on approximately 20 MHz.

The one third scale Sputnik model was launched by hand from Mir during a space walk by Cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Anatoly Solovyev, who turned on the transmitter and checked out reception aboard Mir before launch with help from US astronaut David Wolf, KC5VPF. The beacon is audible in either FM or SSB mode. The beacon transmitter runs approximately 100 mW.

On Reunion Island, a great cheer went up as hams, students and teachers gathered to listen to the Sputnik model as it passed overhead on its initial orbit and heard the beacon signal from space for the first time. Students from the FR5KJ radio club at Jules Reydellet College in St Denis, Reunion Island, and at the Polytechnic Laboratory of Nalchik Kabardine in Russia cooperated in building the mini-Sputnik. The Russian students built the satellite body, while the French students fabricated the transmitter inside. Two working models of the Sputnik were assembled and transported to Mir, but only one was launched.

The frequency of the beacon indicates the satellite's internal temperature. The scale runs from 1361 Hz at 50 degrees C to 541 Hz at minus 40 degrees C.

[ANS thanks Rick Lindquist, N1RL, and the ARRL Letter for the information that went into this Bulletin item.]

Sputnik-40 History and QSL Info

The history of the Sputnik-40 project is one of international cooperation and perseverance.

In began on the 20th February 1997 when an agreement was signed between Russia and France to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the launch of the first artificial satellite of the Earth: Sputnik-1. Two groups of high school students would cooperate to build a functional scale model (1:3) of the original Sputnik satellite. Students from Naltchik in Russia were to build the body of the satellite, and the students from Reydellet School in La Reunion Island would build the radio transmitter. Soon after the project kick-off, AMSAT-France also entered the effort to provide technical support to the two teams building the satellite.

The Aero-club de France and the Russian Federation of Astronautics helped raise funds for the transportation of the 3 kg model to Mir and for its launch by the Mir cosmonauts during an EVA. A world-wide fund-raising drive called "40 sponsors for the 40 years of Sputnik" with 40 shares tagged at (US) $6,000 each, was conducted to raise needed funds for the project. Gerard Auvrey, AMSAT-France Vice President, says that the the team is still looking for 8 more Sponsors to fully finance the project as there are some bills yet to pay.

Naltchik is the capital of Kabardine in the Balkan Republic. It is an industrial town located in the Caucasus, about 2000 km from Moscow. Sparked in large measure by radio contacts with French cosmonauts Jean Pierre Haignere and Claudie Andre-Deshays aboard the orbital station Mir, the Jules Reydellet radio club on Reunion Island also competed and was selected to represent the French school in the Sputnik project.

Miles Mann, WF1F, says reception reports can be sent directly to

  Sergei Sambourov
  PO Box 73
  Kaliningrad-10 City, Moscow Area, 14070

Include an SASE and one IRC for a certificate. ANS now understands that F1FY has also volunteered to be the official QSL manager for Europe. At press time Bruce Paige, KK5DO, was investigating the possibility of setting up a similar arrangement for North American stations to get their Sputnik-40 reception reports to Russia.

Reception reports can now also be sent directly to The Radio Club of Jules Reydellet school on Reunion Island. Those whose reports are confirmed will receive a 15 x 21 cm, 4-color certificate on high quality paper with number identification and the radio club stamp. Requests for these certificates should be made only by letter with an SASE (15 x 21 cm) and 2 IRCs. The certificates will be sent after the end of PS2's transmission. Please DO NOT send requests by E-mail!

The mailing address for FR5KJ is:

  FR5KJ Radio Club
  103 Rue de la Republique
  97 489 Saint Denis Cedex
  Reunion Island

[ANS thanks Gerard Auvrey, F6FAO; Miles Mann, WF1F; and Bruce Paige, KK5DO for the information that went into this bulletin item.]

Sputnik-40 Technical Description

A brief technical description of the Sputnik 40 follows.

A sphere of 200 mm outside diameter, weighing about 3 kg.
RF Power
100 mW radiated in 4 antennas with circular polarization.
Attitude Control
Power Supply
12 Lithium batteries (3 groups in parallel of 4 batteries in series )
Battery Description
3.5 V, 9 AH (batteries are the same as the Mars Rover)
Expected Lifetime:
1 month of active life. It should burn up on reentry after 1 or 1.5 years.
145.820 MHz
FM, +/- 4 kHz
Audio frequency around 1 kHz versus internal temperature.
Conversion Table:
Tone Freq
in Hz
Beep Duration
1/6 seconds every 0.9 s
48 MHz crystal oscillator (2N2222), one tripler (BFY90) and one amplifier (BFR91)
2 x NE555
Official Name
Sputnik-40 Years or Spoutnik-40 Ans (French name)
Project Name
PS2 (PS means simply "sputnik" in Russian, and in memory of PS1 the first Sputnik)
Additional Name
Radio Sputnik (Amateur satellite) RS-17
NASA Catalog Number

A more complete technical description of the satellite, dealing with its electronic, mechanical and thermal designs as well as its antenna patterns is available from AMSAT-France for a nominal donation (it is written in French). Contact them at for more details.

Those interested in more information can also visit AMSAT-F's WEB pages at

You can also visit the Reunion Island web site about Sputnik-40 at

[ANS thanks Gerard Auvrey, F6FAO, for the information that went into this bulletin item.]

SAFEX II Back On the Air

Reports from several amateurs indicates that the SAFEX Repeater aboard the Mir Space Station is now back up and running. AMSAT's VP International, Ray Soifer, W2RS, reports he worked Charles, KB2ETV, on November 9, using a dual-band hand-held and a half-wave whip. Ray indicates the downlink was quite active at the time with many stations calling.

For those not familiar with the transponder, SAFEX II's input frequency is 435.750 MHz (PL 141.3 Hz) and its output is 437.950 MHz. Both frequencies are subject to Doppler shift of up to 10 kHz, so users are cautioned to program their radios accordingly.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, for the information that went into this bulletin item.]

(No) Weekly Satellite Report

There will be no satellite status information this week due to illness of our regular ANS Editor, BJ Arts WT0N.

We all wish BJ a speedy return to the helm of ANS.

The previous Weekly Satellite Report was dated October 12, 1997.

[Please send your Satellite or News reports to ANS Editor B.J. Arts, WT0N, via e-mail, at or to]

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT Executive Vice President Keith Baker, KB1SF,