April 22, 2001

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Phase 3D/AO-40 Update

April continues with recovery efforts concerning AO-40. The satellite appears to be healthy and reports indicate that very good telemetry has been received recently.

AO-40 was commanded to take pictures using the YACE camera recently, starting with orbit 216. Eleven images, spaced at 2 minute intervals, were taken. As soon as the pictures were stored, the spacecraft started sending telemetry D-blocks with the images. The blocks were sent for an extended period of time with multiple repeats of the whole sequence. This allowed ground stations to collect as many D-blocks as possible.

The download of the images started immediately after the picture run with 177 blocks in the complete set. Many stations copied this data set and sent information to the AO-40 team, allowing the entire D-block information set to be extracted and analyzed. The images can be found in a compressed file ( at

Many stations around the world also reported to the AMSAT-BB about strong signals from AO-40 recently. Doug, W3HH, is an excellent example -- he reported receiving AO-40 signals using a modified downconverter and a small 2-foot dish. Doug's report noted AO-40's signals were peaking 4 to 5 S-units above the noise. Mark, NU6X, also reported good copy on AO-40 on his first try. "This is my first activity on satellite in many years and I look forward to more to come," said NU6X.

[ANS thanks Paul, VP9MU,  for this information (and for his efforts with AO-40 telemetry)]

Astronaut Helms Active from ISS

Astronaut Susan Helms made many hams across the United States very happy recently with an extended amateur radio operating period from the International Space Station!

Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, ANS principal satellite investigator, was just one of the stations who made contact. Mike reported to ANS that Susan was active from ISS during the 20:50 UTC pass on Friday, April 20th, using the callsign NA1SS. Mike reported Susan "had a great signal from ISS Alpha." Tom, N7HXP and Stan, W4SV, also reported contacts. Susan was again active on April 23rd.

Alpha has a visitor currently, as the 11-day STS-100 mission is underway. Europe sent its first astronaut to ISS as shuttle Endeavour and its crew lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday. Italian ESA astronaut Umberto Guidoni and his six colleagues left a pleasant spring afternoon in Florida behind them and started of a two-day journey that saw Endeavour dock with the Station on April 21st.

STS-100 crewmember Yuri Lonchakov asked for a callsign and was granted RS1ISS. It is unknown if this means he plans to do voice QSO's during the time he is aboard Alpha.

As this edition of ANS was broadcast the 10 astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station and the docked shuttle began a day that included the first opening of hatches linking the two spacecraft. Endeavour and its crew had finished the first of two, planned space walks to install the orbiting outpost's Canadian built robotic arm -- called Canadarm-2. The high-tech robotic arm is the most versatile ever flown in space.

The Space station's Expedition-2 crewmembers Jim Voss and Susan Helms will power up the arm from the Robotic Work Station inside the Destiny module, checking connections made by the space walkers. A second space walk is scheduled for Tuesday, and will focus on establishing permanent power connections between the 57.7-foot-long arm and ISS - and then running the arm through a thorough checkout. The highest priority objectives of the flight are the installation, activation and checkout of the robotic arm on the station. The operation of the arm is critical to the continued assembly of the International Space Station. For example, the arm will attach a new airlock to the station on a subsequent shuttle flight (mission STS-104) planned for launch in June. In addition to the station's new Canadarm-2, the berthing to the station of Raffaello, the Italian-built logistics module, is planned.

After transfer of equipment and supplies, the hatches will be closed again so that the Shuttle cabin pressure can once again be lowered to prepare for Tuesday's second spacewalk. That spacewalk will focus on permanently powering the station arm and doing further checkouts.

Both spacecraft are in excellent shape orbiting Earth every 92 minutes at an altitude of 240 statute miles.

[ANS thanks NASA for the majority of 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 . 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.