March 11, 2001

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Phase 3D/AO-40 Update

The good news about AMSAT OSCAR 40 continues with this edition of ANS. The League is reporting the following in the current ARRL Letter:

Initial efforts to slow AO-40's spin rate have met with success. Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, of AMSAT-DL and the AO-40 team says magnetorqueing has been able to decrease AO-40's initial spin rate from almost 18 revolutions per minute.

The onboard magnetorqueing system (consisting of solenoid coils) uses the Earth's magnetic field to control the spacecraft's spin and orientation. Guelzow said that as soon as the spin is favorable, AO-40's attitude will be adjusted to improve communication with Earth. The onboard YACE camera was used to take some photographs "for a quick attitude determination," but he said the highly compressed digital photos were inconclusive. More pictures are planned once the spin rate is reduced.


The AMSAT-DL web site is reporting the following:

The spin rate is falling nicely. James Miller, G3RUH, provided the following information:



157 16.93 38 16.73 38
158 16.18 37 15.87 37
159 15.43 36 15.20 35
160 14.70 35 14.66 34
161 13.95 34 13.91 33
162 13.22 33 12.99 32
163 12.50 33 12.11 30
164 11.80 31 11.36 28
165 11.11 30 10.74 27
166 10.41 29 9.82 25

The rate of reduction is -0.74 revolutions per perigee pass. In theory AO-40 could be down to 5 rpm in 11 orbits, or 8 days. In addition, the eclipse period is starting later (presently MA 0.5). The current magnetorqueing effort is performing very well and will be completed shortly. The attitude should then be approximately 206/30 and 10 rpm. With ALAT now out of the orbit plane, we can start changing ALON as well as controlling ALAT and further spin down.

The heat pipes appear to be functional again as the S-2 transmitter was running about 35-37C in the last couple of weeks. Its temperature is now running at 19-20C -- which means that the heat pipes are working again after the spin rate was lowered.

None of this analysis would be possible without the outstanding telemetry collation efforts of Paul, VP9MU, along with the efforts of a largely anonymous group of amateur radio satellite ground stations.

Thank you and 73!
Peter, DB2OS

AO-40's orbital parameters (number 46) are as follows:

Satellite:      AO-40
Catalog number: 26609
Epoch time:     01063.46839262
Inclination:    5.4896 deg
RA of node:     217.4466 deg
Eccentricity:   0.8135323
Arg of perigee: 230.0708 deg
Mean anomaly:   25.1699 deg
Mean motion:    1.26955273 rev/day
Decay rate:     4.0e-07 rev/day^2
Epoch rev:      157
Checksum:       294

Stay tuned to AMSAT News Service, the official source of AO-40 news and information.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-NA for this information]

AMSAT-NA Membership Reaction

As ANS announced last week, the Board of Directors of AMSAT-NA met recently to consider a number of items, specifically the format and nature of the next AMSAT satellite project(s).

The approved projects included a new satellite to be placed into a geostationary transfer orbit, featuring communication capabilities at 2 meters, 70 cm, and 1.2, 2.4 and 5.6 GHz.

AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, told ANS that there has been a considerable amount of discussion on AMSAT-BB following the ANS special bulletin about the BOD meeting. VE3FRH reported that he had lost count on the number of positive comments from the membership who think that the decision was right, adding "although the feedback will probably continue for some time to come, my initial assessment is that the results of the BOD meeting are being applauded by the membership."

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, for this information]

A New Crew for Space Station Alpha

The space shuttle Discovery roared off its launch this past week and easily outpaced the rising sun as it streaked across the sky on its way to deliver a new crew to the International Space Station. The ISS Expedition 2 crew includes two hams, Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 2 Commander Yuri Usachev, UA9AD, and U.S. astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ.

The shuttle weighed more than 4.5 million pounds on the launch pad, as it was all set to deliver three humans and about 10,000 pounds of supplies to Alpha.

Astronauts began unloading about two tons of equipment and supplies from a new Italian-made cargo module docked to the station as this edition of ANS was broadcast. The $150 million module, named Leonardo for Italian master Leonardo da Vinci, is a significant development in space station design, said NASA.

Once emptied, the module can be packed with drained batteries, broken hardware and other debris from space station life and returned to Earth when Discovery departs the orbiting outpost. Early Russian and American space stations had limited capacities for receiving cargo, essentially whatever the astronauts brought with them.

Shuttle Discovery will remain at the station until this weekend.

Expedition 1 Crew Commander William Shepherd, KD5GSL, capped his more than four-month tour aboard the International Space Station with a ham radio chat with students at his Arizona high school alma mater. Shepherd spoke briefly to students at Arcadia High School in Phoenix as the contact was fit into the schedule at the request of KD5GSL.

The ARISS program contact was the last for Shepherd and the current ISS crew.

[ANS thanks the ARRL and ARISS for this information]

AMSAT Receives Donation

AMSAT-DL is pleased to report that it received a donation of 4,500,000 yen (approximately $38,000) for the P3D Project. The donation was funded by JAMSAT, the Japan Amateur Satellite Corporation.

AMSAT-DL expressed gratitude for the substantial contribution toward the ongoing activities of AO-40.

In a letter to JAMSAT's President Tak Okamoto, JA2PKI, AMSAT-DL President and P3-D Project Leader, Dr. Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, wrote:

"As you know, we had to suffer long delays before we finally could secure the launch, and as a consequence, we had to stretch our resources far and thin to get to this point. Now with JAMSAT's substantial help our situation has improved. Among other things, it will help us to speed up the commissioning of AO-40 including the valuable contribution of JAMSAT's onboard SCOPE cameras.

Please convey our thanks to all the people at JAMSAT who contributed with this assistance and let them know that we appreciate their friendship and support."

JAMSAT and AMSAT-DL hope that this will accelerate other fund raising efforts to support ongoing AO-40 activities and future projects!

[ANS thanks AMSAT-DL Vice President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, for this information]

ANS in Brief

ANS news in brief this week includes the following:

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS . Mir . RS-12 . RS-13 . RS-15 . AO-10 . UO-11 . UO-14 . AO-16 . DO-17 . WO-18 . LO-19 . FO-20 . UO-22 . KO-23 . KO-25 . IO-26 . AO-27 . FO-29 . TO-31 . GO-32 . SO-33 . PO-34 . SO-35 . UO-36 . AO-40 . SO-41 . SO-42

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at, or to ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, at

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT  News Service editor Dan James, NN0DJ.