June 24, 2001

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AO-40 Update

The ARRL is reporting that although AO-40 satellite's transponders are still shut down, ground controllers have successfully activated the ATOS propellant feed system. According to received telemetry, the ammonia heater, flow-rate controller, valves and pressure indicators all worked successfully. "Congratulations to the command team for another superb job!" exulted AMSAT-DL President and AO-40 team member Peter Guelzow, DB2OS.

For the first cold test, the gas was warmed by a 120-watt heater and flowed for approximately 22 minutes. Since AO-40's solar panels have not been fully deployed, no electric current was applied.

AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, told the ARRL the orbital changes will not significantly change the apogee, but it's hoped that a slightly higher perigee for AO-40 will eliminate the effects of atmospheric expansion caused by the current sunspot cycle peak.

AMSAT-DL reported to ANS the first test was done without electrical power by blowing only cold gas to check-out all systems and raise the perigee by some hundred kilometers. Telemetry confirmed that the heater for the ammonia, the flow rate controller, valves and pressure indicators all worked successfully.

Pictures were also taken by the YACE camera, downloaded on orbit 292, processed and analyzed.

Following the initial success, the arcjet thruster was commanded to again out-gas during orbit 296, this time with a duration of one hour in length. This test also was successful.

The AO-40 command team then loaded data to the onboard computer to initiate several two-hour cold firings starting at apogee on orbit 297 (and for the following three orbits).

AMSAT-DL reports the AO-40 team was very happy with the successful results of the ATOS (Arcjet Thruster on OSCAR Satellite) system so far, as was Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, who added; "thanks Peter, for the good news. I am sure that all members of AMSAT are delighted by the progress being made. Once more my congratulations to you and the controllers."

Stay tuned to ANS, the official source of AO-40 information.

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

New Packet System Ready for Alpha

AMSAT's Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, tells ANS that the ARISS-US team recently delivered a new packet module to NASA. This new packet module is expected to correct several of the problems that have been observed with the current ARISS packet system.

The new equipment is currently scheduled to go through a bench review inspection. If successful, the manifest calls for the module to be flown on Mission STS-105, planned for launch in early August 2001.

Expedition-3 astronaut Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, is planning to make the packet module change-out early in his ISS tour of duty. The current packet module will stay on Alpha where it will serve as a power supply for the 70cm station that will be installed in the Service Module later this year.

Some of the features of the new ARISS packet module include:

ANS thanks the following individuals from ARISS-US who worked hard to make get this module ready for flight on the STS-105 mission:

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA's Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, 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 . 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.