AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

July 6, 2003

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"Opportunity" Mars Exploration Rover Targeted for Launch July 6

The second of two Mars Exploration Rovers, Opportunity, is rescheduled for launch on Sunday, July 6 at 10:43:16 p.m. EDT. Liftoff will occur aboard the Boeing Delta II Heavy launch vehicle from Pad B at Space Launch Complex 17 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A second launch opportunity exists at 11:26:02 p.m. EDT, if necessary. Should launch be delayed by 24 hours, two launch times are also available on Monday at 10:35:23 p.m. and 11:18:15 p.m. EDT. The window of the planetary launch period extends through July 15.

Opportunity will reach Mars on Jan. 25, 2004. Together the two MER rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, seek to determine the history of climate and water at two sites on Mars where conditions may once have been favorable to life. The rovers are identical. Each rover carries five scientific instruments including a panoramic camera and microscope, plus a rock abrasion tool that will grind away the outer surfaces of rocks to expose their interiors for examination. The rovers each weigh approximately 400 pounds. They will navigate them selves around obstacles as they drive across the Martian surface, traveling up to about 130 feet each Martian day. Each rover's prime mission is planned to last three months on Mars.

"NASA Direct!" webcast coverage of the launch will begin at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 6. For more information on the MER-B/Opportunity web activities, go to http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/elvnew/merb/index.htm

[ANS thanks NASA News, for the above information.]

CubeSat Orbital Status

Below is the summary of orbital status of each objects on the MOM Launch.

NORAD have consolidated their observation data and now uses 27xxx object catalog number.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Freddy Pranajaya
Manager, CanX and NLS Programs
University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies
4925 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M3H-5T6, Canada
416-667-7890 MCC

Latest Estimates at 07/03/2003 12:00 EST:
27840 - BREEZE
27841 - MIMOSA
27842 - NLS-1 sub-group
27843 - MOST
27844 - Cute-1
27845 - QuakeSat
27846 - NLS-1 sub-group
27847 - **UNCONFIRMED** Possibly XI-IV
27848 - **UNCONFIRMED**

NORAD-MH will be re-scanning the sky to confirm 27843, 27847,  27848 and to collect fresh observation data on each objects.

[ANS thanks Freddy Pranajaya, for the above information.]

OSCAR-11 Report

During the period 21 May to 01 July 2003 the 145.826 MHz beacon has been heard transmitting continuous ASCII telemetry from 31 May to 09 June, and from 21 June to 30 June. During this period good signals have been received. Telemetry transmissions are expected to resume around 12 July for about 9 - 10 days.

I am indebted to Jeff KB2M and Ron VK5AKJ who monitored the satellite while I was on holiday, during part of this period. Ron also provided some night time telemetry, during a solar eclipse, which gave useful information about the state of the battery. Many thanks Jeff & Ron, for your help.

The internal temperatures have continued to fall. Usually they change by the same amount, however during this period the battery, telemetry electronics, and command decoder have decreased by 3.2C, 1.8C and 4.6C respectively. The temperatures are now -0.4C, -0.8C, and +2.6C respectively. The temperatures are expected to continue to fall slowly as the solar eclipse times lengthen, reaching a minimum in the Summer, and then increase in the Autumn. The solar eclipse times should be shorter than last year, resulting in higher temperatures in 2003.

The battery voltage observed during daylight passes has decreased. Observations have varied between 13.5 and 12.3 volts, with an average value of 13.0 volts.

Examination of the magnetometer telemetry shows that the satellite is now rotating very slowly, i.e., the spin period is very long. Accurate determination of the spin period is very difficult when the spin period exceeds the time of a pass. However, approximate periods of 1000 to 1500 seconds have been measured. The direction of rotation appears to have reversed. The slow spin rate has also caused some uneven heating of the external surfaces, and temperatures up to 45C have been observed.

Users of OSCAR-11 should note that the date in the telemetry is advanced by three days. The time is advanced by 18.5 minutes, and this error is increasing by about one minute per year.

OSCAR-11 now operates in a default mode, controlled by the watch-dog timer. The satellite transmits continuous ASCII telemetry for about 8 - 9 days on 145.826 MHz, followed by about 10 - 12 days of silence. These times appear to be somewhat variable, and this regular sequence might be interrupted by ground control.

The mode-S beacon is ON continuously, even when the VHF beacon is OFF, nominally transmitting an unmodulated carrier on 2401.5 MHz There is however a VERY low level of AFSK modulation, (now a constant 1200 Hz. audio tone), which has been detected on strong signals. Telemetry indicates that the beacon has partially failed, and is delivering half power. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing mode-S converters, as an alternative to OSCAR-40. However the signals are very weak, and there is a lot of Doppler. Users should also note that the polarization of OSCAR-11 is LHC. Even if you can't hear OSCAR-11, your equipment may still be OK for OSCAR-40. Any reports of reception on 2401.5 MHz would be most welcome. Please e-mail g3cwv@amsat.org.

The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally OFF. It can only be heard on the very rare occasions when the satellite is being commanded by ground control, i.e., within range of Guildford, UK. When the 435 beacon is transmitting, the 145 beacon is normally OFF. The data transmitted is mainly binary.

Listeners to OSCAR-11 may be interested in visiting my web site.

The web site contains details about using a soundcard for data capture, and also details about using hardware demodulators. There is software for capturing data, and decoding ASCII telemetry and WOD. There is an archive of raw data for analysis, which is continually being expanded, as new data is captured. Originally this was for WOD, but it is now being expanded to include ASCII telemetry. At the present time the telemetry covers 1996 to April 2003. I will add other years as time permits. In parallel there is a news archive which provides an overview of the state of the satellite, at the times when the telemetry was captured.

If anyone out there can provide any data, particularly for the 1984 to 1993 years, this would be most appreciated. Please e-mail me with details. However please DO NOT SEND ANY FILES, before further discussion.

Also included are some audio files, examples of each type of data transmitted by OSCAR-11, each one plays for about ten seconds. There are also examples of mode-S reception. All the audio files are zipped, so that they can be played off-line. These should help listeners identify the various types of data, and give an indication of the signal quality required for successful decoding.

The URL is http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/

If you place this bulletin on a terrestrial packet network, please use the bulletin identifier $BID:U2RPT86.CWV, to prevent duplication.

[ANS thanks Clive, G3CWV, for the above information]

Astronaut Interview via IRLP

On July 3 at 11:30 am CDT JSC will conduct the third test of Distant Learning outreach using Amateur Radio and the Internet to have children interview JSC professionals. This test was organized with the Christa McAuliffe Challenger Learning Center and supported by the JSC Amateur Radio Club.

The Internet Radio Linking Project will be used to support a live interview between Astronaut Barbara Morgan and campers from the Charles River Creative Arts Program (CRCAP). Barbara, who will be operating from the Johnson Space Center ARC (W5RRR) will spend 30 minutes answering questions from the children who will be using the Amateur Radio facilities of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) beginning at 1645 UTC. The event is organized between the JSC Distant Learning Outreach Program and the Christa McAuliffe Challenger Learning Center, Framingham State College, Framingham, MA.

This event represents the third test of the IRLP in support of the JSC Distant Learning Program. Thus far it has proved to be an effective means of distributing interviews between NASA Professionals and children across North America.

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, for the above information]

Ham Radio in Space: A New URL for MAREX

MAREX finally has a brand new home in cyberspace at www.marexmg.org. You may recall that back in April the old URL was highjacked and lost. The good news is, that MAREX is now MAREXMG Inc. And again the new URL is www.marexmg.org (MAREX)

[ANS thanks Amateur Radio Newsline for the above information]

Russian Satellite 'Mozhayets' Service Life Extended by Six Months

Moscow ITAR-TASS in Russian 0330 GMT 12 Jun 03.

St Petersburg, 12 June: The service life of the Mozhayets satellite, which belongs to the Mozhayskiy Space Military Academy, has been extended until November 2003, academy deputy head Maj-Gen Vyacheslav Fateyev said at an international conference on high technology, innovation and investment held in St Petersburg under the aegis of the Russian Economy Ministry. The Mozhayets satellite, used for educational and communication purposes, was made by the students and the faculty of the Mozhayskiy academy on the basis of a decommissioned military appliance within the framework of a conversion project. On 28 November 2002 it was sent into orbit along with the foreign Alsat communication satellite by a Space Troops' rocket carrier from the launch site in Plesetsk. Mozhayets is currently used for training purposes by academy students, and as a transmitter for GLONASS global navigation system. The satellite was to have been ditched at the end of May, but it's service life was extended as, according to telemetric information, all the satellite's systems were working normally. Mozhayets is the first space vehicle owned by a higher educational establishment, Gen Fateyev said. It marks the start of an era of space research for Russian universities. Another satellite of the same series recently has been sent to Plesetsk. The Mozhayets pilot project has laid the foundation for the inter-university Miniaturization in Space programme.

[ANS thanks Max, M3RGO, for the above information]

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS. RS-12. RS-13. RS-15. RS-20. 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. GO-32. SO-33. PO-34. UO-36. AO-40. SO-41. SO-42. NO-44. NO-45. MO-46. AO-49. SO-50


Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at ans-editor@amsat.org

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dave Johnson, G4DPZ, g4dpz@amsat.org

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