December 2, 2001

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ARRL AO-40 Update

The ARRL is reporting that necessary adjustments to AO-40's attitude to compensate for unfavorable sun angles over the next several months will silence the satellite's transponders for a period of time.

According to the League, a scheduled attitude shift to compensate for an unfavorable Sun angle will leave AO-40's antennas pointing away from Earth until next spring and will lead to a transponder shutdown period. AO-40 is currently in a long period during which the Earth eclipses the Sun, robbing power from AO-40's solar panels.

Command station team member Stacey Mills, W4SM, said that testing and development continue on AO-40's three-axis control system, but it will not be ready in time to avoid the unfavorable solar-angle season.

During any transponder shutdown period, W4SM pointed out that telemetry data also will be harder to come by, asking telemetry gatherers to be as active as possible during any transponder downtime.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for this information]

International Satellite Workshop

A recent AMSAT-DL sponsored International Satellite Workshop explored future missions around Earth and to Mars.

AMSAT-DL invited P3D engineers and supporters to attend an international workshop in Marburg, Germany. The workshop was held November 23-25, 2001.

More than 50 members from nine AMSAT organizations and various space business groups (along with representatives of both the European Space Agency and Arianespace) were in attendance. The meeting agenda included a review of the AO-40 mission and a look forward to future projects.

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to AO-40, which had just celebrated its first anniversary in orbit on November 16th. Jean-Michel Desobeau, the Arianespace representative at the meeting, showed a summary of AO-40's launch campaign. He underlined the very good cooperation between AMSAT-DL and Arianespace, along with noting the professional work of the whole AMSAT team at the launch site at Kourou.

Several P3D experimenters gave an update on some aspects of the satellite systems, including the SCOPE-cameras by Yoshi Takeyasu, JA6XKQ. AO-40 command station James Miller, G3RUH, communication payload designers Freddy de Guchteneire, ON6UG, Mirek Kasal, OK2AQK, Danny Orban, ON4OAD, and Stefaan Burger, ON4FG, demonstrated live S-band and K-band reception and real-time remote access to AO-40 via the Internet. Michael Fletcher, OH2AUE, reported about the results of the first tests of the 10 GHz transmitter and the 5.6 GHz receiver.

Ideas were presented how AO-40's value to ground users can be further improved after the spacecraft leaves its experimental phase. Future investigations will be done to determine how useful improvements can be implemented.

Workshop sessions continued with P3D project leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, presenting his ideas for an interplanetary mission to Mars in 2007, known as Phase 5A. He showed that with the basic capabilities of the P3D structure (propulsion, navigation, deployable solar arrays, etc.) a similar spacecraft can leave a GTO-like Earth orbit and enter into an elliptical orbit around Mars. A P5A spacecraft could be a technology demonstrator and serve as communication relay between experiments on the Martian surface and Earth, as well as an experimental platform and carrier for a possible sub-payload to be expelled on to Mars itself. DJ4ZC was enthusiastic that such a mission will once again demonstrate that amateur radio remains at the leading edge of telecommunication and space technology.

AMSAT-DL Vice President Frank Sperber, DL6DBN/AA9KJ, opened an additional session with a presentation for another P3 type mission. AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3RFH, then presented the ideas behind Project JJ, a communication satellite currently under design by AMSAT-NA.

The last day of the successful meeting was used among the participants from 15 countries for more detailed discussions on different aspects and strategies for the future missions. Those in attendance left the event with a strong will to continue the efforts of amateur radio in space.

Impressions of the workshop, photos and a proceedings document are under preparation.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-DL for this information]

ARISS Antenna Update

ARISS Chairman Frank Bauer KA3HDO, reports that the new ARISS flight antenna systems have been loaded into the logistics module on Space Shuttle Endeavour and are ready for flight.

The development of the antenna systems to be clamped on the Service Module has been possible thanks to a very close and very intense cooperation between the Russian, Italian and the U.S. teams. NASA also did a wonderful coordination job between agencies, helping solve many constructional problems inherent to such a development - according to KA3HDO.

"I want to thank all the individuals from around the world that have enabled the ARISS team to get this far," said KA3HDO, adding that "it has been a challenging effort. Your persistence and can-do spirit enabled the antenna systems to go from just a dream to reality. I really appreciate everyone's efforts in the design, development, testing, evaluation, crew training and shipment of these antenna systems."

There are plans to split the current ARISS equipment into separate ham stations - one for 2 meters and one for 70cm. HF operation is also a possibility from the revamped stations.

The new antennas will cover HF, VHF, UHF and microwave bands up to 2.4 GHz. They are expected to be installed during a space walk early next year after the Expedition-4 crew is aboard ISS.

During their 107th day aboard the International Space Station, Expedition-3 Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin continued their preparations for the arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the Expedition-4 crew. ISS and Space Shuttle managers have rescheduled the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour for Tuesday at 5:45 PM EST from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

The long-range weather forecast indicates favorable conditions for launch.

[ANS thanks the ARISS group and NASA 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.