October 5, 2003

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PCsat at Two Years

We declared mission success when PCsat lasted a week.

Today is the beginning of the 3rd year of operation. PCsat just came over and is OPS NORMAL and remains available for all users since her last recovery on 13 Sept.

I see 50 users in the last 2 days on

Bob Bruninga

[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga for the above information.]

World Space Week

World Space Week, declared by the United Nations as an international celebration of space held October 4-10 each year, has a primary goal to excite children about science and mathematics.

For further information on NASA's activities for this event, check out their website:

For activities sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency view their website at

Information on World Space Week can be found at the website

[ANS thanks Bruce Paige & Arthur Rowe for the above information.]

AMSAT Awards

Congrats go this week to the following for earning their Oscar Satellite Communications Achievement Award.

#387 KA4KYI Ron Nutter 04-Oct-2003

To see all the awards and a list of those earning the awards, visit

[ANS thanks Bruce Paige for the above information.]

SMART-1 Ion Engine Fired Successfully

SMART-1's revolutionary propulsion system was successfully fired at 12:25 UT on 30 September, 2003, in orbit around the Earth. Engineers at ESOC, the European Space Agency's control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, sent a command to begin the firing test, which lasted for one hour. This was similar to a trial performed on Earth before SMART-1 was launched.

This is the first time that Europe flies an electric primary propulsion in space, and also the first European use of this particular type of ion engine, called a 'Hall-effect' thruster.

The SEPP consists of a single ion engine fuelled by xenon gas and powered by solar energy. The ion engine will accelerate SMART-1 very gradually to cause the spacecraft to travel in a series of spiraling orbits -- each revolution slightly further away from the Earth -- towards the Moon. Once captured by the Moon's gravity, SMART-1 will move into ever-closer orbits of the Moon.

As part of one of the overall mission objectives to test this new SEPP technology, the data will now be analysed to see how much acceleration was achieved and how smoothly the spacecraft traveled. If the ion engine is performing to expectations, ESA engineers will regularly power up the SEPP to send SMART-1 on its way.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

Boeing Launches New Galaxy

October 1, a successful launch orbited Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1, a Boeing 601HP satellite built by Boeing for PanAmSat Corporation, Wilton, Conn., and JSAT Corporation of Japan. The satellite will provide coverage over North America, Central America, Alaska and Hawaii from an orbital slot between the Hawaiian Islands and the U.S. west coast.

The 4,090 kg (8,998 lbs) satellite rocketed to geosynchronous transfer orbit aboard a Zenit-3SL provided by Sea Launch Company, LLC. Lift-off occurred at 9:03 p.m. PDT (4:03 a.m. GMT) from the Sea Launch Odyssey Launch Platform positioned on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft received its first signals at about 10:03 p.m. PDT at a ground station at Fucino, Italy, confirming normal operation.

Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 with a final orbit slot at 127 degrees west longitude is the 207th Boeing-built commercial communications satellite launched to date. Forty years ago this year, the Boeing-built Syncom ushered in a revolution as the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

Satellite TV Networks Sue North Carolina Over Unfair Sales Taxes

DirecTV, Inc. and EchoStar Satellite Corporation and its DISH Network, the nation's largest providers of satellite TV services, have filed a lawsuit against North Carolina as part of a nationwide campaign to challenge unfair taxing policies that discriminate against satellite TV providers while benefiting local cable TV firms. The lawsuit, filed against the state's Department of Revenue and other entities, challenges the constitutionality of North Carolina's taxing policies under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which prohibits state taxes that discriminate against interstate commerce, or are not fairly related to the services provided to the taxpayer.

North Carolina has a 5 percent sales tax on satellite TV services, but no sales tax on cable TV services. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the Superior Court for Wake County in Raleigh, N.C.

DISH Network and DirecTV provide multi-channel video programming via direct-to-home satellite television service, which is also known as direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service, not only to subscribers in North Carolina, but to viewers throughout the United States. However, the local cable companies, which are the dominant providers of multi-channel video programming in the state, are not similarly subjected to the state's sales tax and, as such, are given an unfair competitive edge through these discriminatory taxing policies, the lawsuit states.

Following North Carolina's procedures, prior to going to court the satellite providers requested a refund for their customers in the state of approximately $30 million, a required first step in challenging the discriminatory sales tax on satellite TV service. The State Department of Revenue rejected the request; and the required 90-day waiting period for filing a lawsuit after requesting a refund has expired.

Similar discriminatory taxing policies exist in Tennessee and Ohio, which also were sued by EchoStar and DirecTV on August 19 and June 26, respectively.

[ANS thanks Space Daily 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

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Scott Lindsey-Stevens, N3ASA,