October 13, 2002

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AMSAT Eagle Team Meeting

AMSAT-Eagle Team Meets to Forge Design

A meeting was held in Orlando, Florida the weekend of 28-29 September 2002 to develop and coordinate design plans for the AMSAT-Eagle satellite. As a result of this meeting, significant progress was made in verifying Eagle's mission and design as well as clearly identifying and assigning responsibilities and an associated time schedule for developing this satellite. Plans call for AMSAT-Eagle to be placed in a highly elliptical Earth orbit with a spin axis in the orbit plane to allow wide-area amateur radio communications coverage. While Eagle is being built for launch in a 2004-2005 time-frame, a specific launch opportunity has not yet been secured for Eagle.

Resultantly, Eagle is being "generically" designed with the intent of remaining flexible for use on a variety of geo-stationary transfer orbit (GTO) launchers. It is anticipated that it will take one year to construct the prototype space frame and modules for Eagle. After construction, Eagle will undergo intensive tests to verify readiness for flight.

Since the initial Eagle design meeting held in Denver, Colorado last July 2001, much progress has been made on the satellite's structural space frame and thermal design. As a result this work, Eagle's shape and dimensions have been identified. This will allow, if necessary, for Eagle to be placed on an Ariane 5 ASAP ring as a secondary payload allowing insertion into a highly elliptical GTO. Once in orbit, it is proposed that high-gain antennas and one transmitter will be used at apogee while more than one transmitter (exclusive of C band) using omni-directional antennas would be used during perigee. In addition, initial thermal analysis has been performed on Eagle's design and orbit showing that when in a spin axis in the orbit plane, the spacecraft will experience acceptable operating temperatures ranging from 5-30C degrees. Meanwhile, it is anticipated that Eagle's bus will provide an average of 90W while the transmitters will be agile to take full advantage of all available power. While Eagle's exact power output remains to be determined, this power input, from solar cells, should allow transmitters to provide good links throughout its orbit. Also, a Communication and Digital Processing Experiment (CDPE) will provide a small suite of DSP and hardware digital modems for digital communication experiments.

As a result of these design efforts, meeting participants were able to identify the following tentative specifications for the components, modules, and systems necessary for Eagle to carry out its primary mission of amateur radio communications.

Project Eagle Specifications R5, as of October 3, 2002:

1.0 Mass: 100 kg or less
2.0 Size: 600mm cube with fixed and deployable solar panels
3.0 Attitude: Spin stabilized (+Z nadir-pointing at apogee)
4.0 Orbit:
4.1 Initial orbit GTO (200km perigee)
4.2 Final orbit GTO with perigee greater than 500 km
5.0 Attitude Control:
5.1 Magnetorquers
5.2 Sensors:
5.2.1 Sun Two dual slit (similar to P3D, top and bottom) offset by +/- 40 degrees Two stable-mode offset 5 degrees from +Z and +Z axes
5.2.2 Earth Two narrow FOV ~4. Offset from X-Y plane by TBD
6.0 Thermal Control: Passive
7.0 Power System:
7.1 Two fixed and four deployable solar panels with omni coverage
7.2 One battery control regulator (BCR) per panel with synchronized control (similar to Phase 3D). Grouped in banks of three. Failure tolerant
7.3 Bus Voltage: 28VDC, Solar panel voltage 28V.
8.0 High gain antennas on +Z side
9.0 Separation interface and Omni antennas on -Z side.
10.0 Propulsion system Mono-propellant. On -Z axis.
11.0 Structure:
11.1 Aluminum/carbon fiber honeycomb panels forming core structure supporting internal modules and integrated with separation interface
12.0 Separation Interface:
12.1 Launcher dependent
13.0 Housekeeping:
13.1 Am1601 processor
13.2 Temperature, ~TBD channels
13.3 Pressure, ~TBD channels
13.4 Current, ~TBD channels
13.5 Voltage, ~TBD channels
13.6 Module control via Controller Area Network (CAN), internal power switches in modules
14.0 Antennas:
14.1 High Gain +Z
14.1.1 2m, 70cm, L, S, C
14.2 Omni antennas, -Z
14.2.1 2m, 70cm, L
15.0 Payloads
15.1 Transmitters
15.1.1 V band (145MHz)
15.1.2 S band (two 2.4GHz)
15.1.3 X band beacon (10GHz)
15.2 Receivers:
15.2.1 U band (435MHz)
15.2.2 L band (1.2GHz)
15.2.3 C band(5.6GHz)
15.3 GPS (NASA)
15.4 Cosmic Energy Deposition Experiment (CEDEX) via Surrey Satellite Technology
15.5 Communications Processor w/AO-40 compatible DSP
15.6 Cameras, two wide dynamic range:
15.6.1 Narrow FOV on +Z axis
15.6.2 Wide FOV on -Z axis
15.7 TLM beacons on all transmitters
15.8 Command uplinks on all receivers
16.0 Magnetically clean
16.1 Back wire solar panels
16.2 Balance solar panel wiring loops
16.3 'Tune out' any permanent magnets
16.4 'Tune out' any solenoids
16.5 Degauss magnetorquing rods

Future News on Eagle

The Eagle team welcomes AMSAT member participation in the development of this satellite. To better coordinate information on satellite development and to seek membership oversight, Russ Tillman, K5NRK has been assigned as communications officer for AMSAT-Eagle. Presently K5NRK is working with the Eagle team to develop a communication plan that will use the variety of AMSAT news sources to relay various information about this satellite to AMSAT members and other interested parties. As a result, it is anticipated that this communication plan will allow AMSAT members not only to better follow Eagle developments but also allow them to be aware of when they can provide timely and coordinated assistance as well as make plans for its use. In addition, it is hoped that this communication plan will serve as a model for future use in relaying information about other AMSAT projects and identifying and encouraging membership participation.

Eagle at Fort Worth

Several papers pertaining to AMSAT-Eagle will be presented at the 20th AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual Meeting scheduled to be held in Fort Worth, Texas on 8-10 November 2002. Included on the agenda is a presentation by Dick Jansson, WB4FAB on the space frame design of AMSAT Eagle. In addition, the Eagle development team will use Fort Worth venue as an opportunity to meet and discuss progress to date and any specification revisions. This meeting is tentatively planned for 0800-1200, Sunday, 10 November 2002.

AMSAT Eagle meeting participants included:

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
Rick Hambly, W2GPS
Bdale Garbee, KBOG
Chuck Green, N0ADI
Dick Jansson, WD4FAB
Lyle Johnson, KK7P
Lou McFadin, W5DID
Russ Tillman, K5NRK
Jim White, WD0E
Stan Wood, WA4FNY

Further information on the results of this meeting as well as news on future development of the AMSAT Eagle project will be made available via AMSAT WWW, The AMSAT Journal, ANS, and other sources.

[ANS thanks Russ Tillman K5NRK for the above information.]

Thomas Kieselbach DL2MDE Silent Key

ANS has the sad duty to report the passing away of Thomas Kieselbach, DL2MDE on October 8th, 2002. Thomas was sailing on his yacht with his wife Gaby, when he suffered a fatal heart attack. They were in the Aegean, near the island Kos. Gaby managed to steer the yacht safely to harbour. Thomas' groundbreaking work in the arena of amateur radio in the manned spaceflight programs set the stage for the success the ARISS program now enjoys.

Frank Bauer KA3HDO, ARISS Chairman, says it best. Frank said, "On behalf of the ARISS International team, I would like to express my sadness in the loss of a true friend and outstanding technical ham, Thomas Kieselbach DL2MDE.

Personally, I first learned of Thomas' outstanding technical abilities in 1985 during the STS-61-A German Spacelab-D1 space shuttle flight. During this mission, he flew the first set of German amateur radio hardware on a human spaceflight. The Germans called this system SAFEX. This was a system he personally built and it had outstanding capabilities. One of the most impressive parts of this system was the external antenna that was mounted on the outside of the spacelab module. Only Thomas, with his intense drive, could break through the human spaceflight barriers to get an antenna feedthrough. He was the first to fly an external antenna on a human spaceflight program. Through his efforts, he blazed a trail for Mir and ISS.

He then extended his work to the first Shuttle flight to have U.S.-built and German-built amateur radio hardware on-board. This was the STS-55 German Spacelab-D2 space shuttle flight in 1993.

As one of the founding delegates of ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station), he challenged our team to push the technical limits of amateur radio in space. We thank him for his technical ideas and vision. His vision to have a full-duplex radio system that transmits both the radio uplinks and downlinks to the ground will be on ISS in the future.

To all Thomas' friends and family and especially his wife Gaby, we extend our condolences."

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS Chairman

[ANS thanks Frank Bauer KA3HDO for the above information.]

AMSAT Symposium Correction (Repeat Item)

Due to an unfortunate mix-up the telephone number printed in the July/August issue of the AMSAT Journal for 20th Space Symposium accommodations in Ft. Worth is incorrect. The telephone number should be (817) 361-9797. The fax number is (817) 361-9444.

The preferential AMSAT Group rate ($75 + taxes) is being held until 16 October. If you have tried to make bookings and told that they are full, this was due to an AmeriSuites staff error, rooms are still available as of October 1. I look forward to seeing you in Fort Worth.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT

[ANS thanks Robin, VE3FRH, for the above information.]

AO-40 Passbands Turned Off

Effective October 7, the passbands on AO-40 have been turned off for approximately 8-9 days to conserve power as the satellite drifts through the worst solar angles. The beacon will remain active during this period. The passbands will be re-started once the solar angle improves. The schedule will then be shifted to begin pre-apogee, as ALON will be drifting past 0 toward 330.

N  QST AMSAT AO-40        S2 Downlink               2002-10-07
                       MA      020   246   020
  Passband off         ---------7-----0-----7
  until approx.        MB       |  *  |  *  |
   2002-10-16          RUDAK    |     |     |
                       V-Rx     |     |  *  |
                       U-Rx     |  *  |     |
                       Passband |     |     |
M  QST AMSAT OSCAR-40                              2002 Oct 07
                         ALON/ALAT = 20/30
        ** ALON will decrease 20 degs/week due to M.E. **
             ** Passbands off until ~ 2002-10-16 **

          The AO-40 team would like your telemetry files!
Please "zip" compress your daily telemetry files and e-mail to:

[ANS thanks Stacey E. Mills W4SM and the AO-40 command team for the above information.]

Packet Changes Announced on ISS

To all ISS packet operators:

New parameters were loaded in to the PMS as part of a planned procedure. The call sign of the PMS mail box has changed from RS0ISS to RS0ISS-1. The old call RS0ISS is no longer being used for the PMS mail box. If you connect to the RS0ISS port all of your data will go into the giant bit-bucket in the sky.

An ISS packet mail system problem has been discovered. There is a minor, yet recurring problem with the amateur radio personal message system (PMS) on-board ISS. Intermittently the PMS will fail to display the list of messages stored in the memory of the PMS. The messages have not been lost, they are still in RAM memory. Miles WF1F reported, "I have encountered this problem several times and each time the problem seems to clear up by itself on the next orbit. If you do encounter this problem please try to avoid uploading any messages to the PMS while it is having the listing bug. Just simply log out and try again on the next orbit." When the problem clears, all of the old mail still appears to be saved in memory without any loss of messages.

Also, for the coming week the ISS packet system plans to change its operating frequency to 145.825 MHz simplex. This was part of a test to take advantage of a dual-hop constellation with PCsat. The objective is to see if the satellites can be used to relay packets from each other to extend the range via a dual-digipeat hop. The duration of the test will be about a week or more depending on the needs of the ARISS radio. If the crew wants to operate voice, they will QSY back to 145.800.

If ISS users do not hear ISS on 145.800 as usual, they should check to see if it is on 145.825. If so, QSY and operate normally there. UI digipeating of very brief user packets is welcome. The joint pass window for ISS and PCSat are on-line at  ... the link is in the very first item of this information filled page.

To attempt a dual-hop digipeat users should set their packet UNPROTO setting to UNPROTO CQ VIA RS0ISS,W3ADO-1 if you are in range of ISS, and ISS can see PCsat. Conversely, you are in range of PCsat and PCsat can see ISS, then set your packet UNPROTO setting to UNPROTO CQ VIA W3ADO-1,RS0ISS. Operations through each individual space digipeater should continue to use the usual settings, such as UNPROTO CQ VIA RS0ISS or UNPROTO CQ VIA W3ADO-1 which will not result in a dual-hop. The digipeater aliases for ISS are RS0ISS, ARISS, and WIDE. For PCsat the only reliable one is W3ADO-1.

Bob WB4APR said, "Please do not transmit too much. The probabilities of success are very very limited by QRM, so it would be best if each person only transmitted a few packets a minute and let others have a chance."

Commander Valery Korzun aboard the ISS confirmed the packet frequency change via a packet message:

From : RS0ISS


Packet operators reported that they were still hearing the ISS on its usual 145.800 frequency on October 9. Many said they were monitoring both frequencies (145.800 and 145.825) since the change could take place at any time over the next few days. The crew has been active with voice contacts also.

[ANS thanks Miles WF1F and Bob WB4APR for the above information.]

Straight Key Night on OSCAR 2003

This may seem a little early to announce, but the holiday period will be with us sooner than we realize. Begin to prepare now for this satellite operating fun event.

You are cordially invited to participate in the 30th annual Straight Key Night on OSCAR, conducted by AMSAT-NA for radio amateurs throughout the world.

There are no rules, no scoring and no logs required. Just operate CW on any OSCAR satellite, using a straight hand key, from 0000 UTC to 2400 UTC on 1 January 2003, working as many SKN stations as you can. The moon (OSCAR Zero) counts too.

In keeping with the friendly nature of this event, each participant is asked to nominate one of the operators worked for "Best Fist." It is not necessary that your nominee have the best fist of anyone you heard, just of those you worked. Please send your nomination to W2RS via e-mail at, via packet radio at W2RS @ WA2SNA.NJ.USA.NA, or by mail. Those nominated will be recognized in an ANS bulletin to be published in early February, and in The AMSAT Journal.

[ANS thanks Ray W2RS for the above information.]

ANS Weekly Operating Update

ANS has expanded this section. We will continue to welcome and will publish your good news of success in working a new satellite, new DX, new mode, etc. We also want to add reports about what space related activities your local satellite groups and ham clubs are doing. As such, we have changed the title of this section to the "Weekly Operating Update". Send your operating reports to ANS Editor JoAnne Maenpaa ( and they will be printed here.

[ANS thanks AA4KN and W9AE for this week's Operating Update.]

Working All Water Grids Satellite DXpedition Announced

During the week of October 13-19, 2003, Dick, WA5VKS will be on a cruise in the Gulf of Mexico and the Western Caribbean Sea. Dick says, "I'll be working UO14, SO41 and AO27 (if the satellite is still on where I'll be at)."

The following is a list of mostly all water grids that are planned to be activated: EL29, EL28,EL36, EL45, EL54, EL61, EL60, EK68, EK78, EL71, EL72, EL63 and EL55.

There are many other grids the ship will be passing through, however they will not be activated if Dick is asleep, the ship is in port, or if the satellites are not available.

QSLs are available SASE via Dick's callbook or QRZ address.

[ANS thanks Dick WA5VKS ( for the above information.]

Satellite Operation Planned During Galapagos HC8 DXpedition

Ramon XE1KK, will be active from the Galapagos Islands as HC8/XE1KK on HF, 6 meters and UO-14 from October 20th to 30th, 2002. QSL via his home call bureau or direct.

[ANS thanks Ramon XE1KK for the above information.]

ARISS School Contact Successes Continue

Whitson Wows 'em from Canada to California

Continuing a successful string of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station school contacts, US astronaut Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, during the past week answered questions from youngsters in northern Canada to southern California. At the controls of NA1SS on September 27, Whitson spoke with youngsters at Joamie Iuniarvik, a kindergarten through grade 5 school in Iqaluit, the capital of Canada's newest territory, Nunavut. She followed up October 2 by answering questions posed by youngsters at St Mark's Lutheran School in Hacienda Heights, California.

The Joamie youngsters spoke to Whitson via a teleconferencing circuit that included ARISS veteran Earth station operator Gerald Klatzko, ZS6BTD, in South Africa. Whitson told the Joamie pupils that working in a zero-gravity environment makes doing a lot of things easier than on Earth. But if you need to apply some force, she said, "it's difficult to find the appropriate foothold to hold yourself into place."

Another youngster asked about meteor showers. "From here, we can actually see some of the meteors as they enter Earth's atmosphere," Whitson said, "and we hope to not run into any of them at all." Whitson also explained that velocity is what keeps the ISS in space but about every three months the crew needs to do an orbital boost. "The ISS travels at 17,500 mph," Whitson said. "That's what keeps us in orbit."

Whitson expounded on the importance of space exploration. "The human species will always be exploring new frontiers," she said, "and I think it's important that we go to space for lots of different reasons, some on a more practical level -- for the science and technology that we learn -- but mostly I think it is most important to go into space to continue exploration."

Sharing the experience with the Iqaluit students were youngsters at a school in Ottawa, Ontario. The two schools were connected via a two-way videoconferencing link. "The event proved to be a huge success both in Iqaluit and Ottawa," said ARISS mentor Steve McFarlane, VE3TBD. A total of 800 people -- including news media representatives and various dignitaries -- were in attendance at both schools. McFarlane initially approached the Nunavut school at random because he wanted more isolated communities involved in the ARISS program.

Whitson told students at St Mark's Lutheran School in Hacienda Heights, California, on October 2 that the most challenging thing she had to do in preparation for her space flight was to learn how to speak Russian. The ISS crew consists of American and Russian members.

"It's not one of my skills, and so learning Russian was very difficult for me," Whitson said. "It made learning about guidance and navigation seem easy." Her biggest thrill was being able to go on a space walk and enjoying the experience of "flying like a bird." Being in the spacesuit for a space walk "is just like being in our own space capsule," she said.

Being able to do her scientific experiments aboard the ISS was the most worthwhile of her activities during her tour of duty as part of the Expedition 5 crew. Developing better superconductor and zeolite crystals are some of the more beneficial pieces of research, she said. The lack of gravity on the ISS is one of the advantages that contribute to scientific research.

In response to a question about what she missed on Earth in addition to her family and friends, Whitson replied "food!" She told the students that she's "tired of eating out of cans" and having to rehydrate all her food.

Two dozen St Mark's students took part in the ARISS QSO. Principal Barbara Clark said the students' questions evolved from a schoolwide competition to select the best questions from each grade level. Whitson was impressed. "I think they did an excellent job," she said. "These were some of the best questions I've had and actually got more to the point of asking what it really feels like to be here." Located approximately 18 miles east of Los Angeles, St Mark's has an enrollment of some 800 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The St Mark's contact was handled via ARISS Earth station veteran Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in Australia. Audio for both the Joamie and St Mark's QSOs was handled via a WorldCom teleconferencing circuit.

ARISS is an international project, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.

[ANS thanks The ARRL Letter, Vol. 21, No. 39 for the above information.]

ANS in Brief

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS . RS-12 . RS-13 . RS-15 . AO-7 . AO-10 . UO-11 . UO-14 . AO-16 . LO-19 . FO-20 . UO-22 . KO-23 . KO-25 . IO-26 . AO-27 . FO-29 . TO-31 . GO-32 . SO-33 . PO-34 . UO-36 . AO-40 . SO-41 . SO-42 . NO-44 . NO-45 . MO-46

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Senior Editor JoAnne Maenpaa, WB9JEJ,