January 18, 2004

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Auction of AO-40 Sculpture to Help Fund AMSAT ECHO Satellite Launch

The bidding begins January 21 on a handsome original sculpture of the AO-40 satellite as AMSAT-NA auctions off the work of art on eBay to help fund the AMSAT Echo satellite launch campaign. The auction will run for 10 days, and the winning bid will be recognized as a donation to the launch campaign.

"This bronze is one of only four pieces, created by long time AMSAT member Floyd Thorn, N5SVP, now a Silent Key," said AMSAT Marketing Manager Jim Jarvis, N2EA. "It has been donated to AMSAT by his family to support the AO-ECHO launch campaign."

Jarvis said the sculpture measures 11x4 inches and weighs just over a pound. The wooden base bears a brass plaque with the sculptor's name and call sign. Visit the AMSAT-NA web site for details and to link to the auction.

A physicist, Floyd Thorn had a variety of interests that included astronomy, space communications, amateur radio and jewelry making. A long-time member of AMSAT-NA, Thorn flew F4Fs and PBYs during World War II and later developed a business that provided cathodic protection systems to the petroleum industry.

The new microsat-class satellite is now undergoing integration and testing at SpaceQuest in Fairfax, Virginia. Among its other capabilities, AMSAT Echo will enable satellite voice communication using handheld FM transceivers.

The satellite will incorporate two UHF transmitters, each running from 1 to 8 W and capable of simultaneous operation, four VHF receivers and a multiband, multimode receiver capable of operation on the 10 meter, 2 meter, 70 cm and 23 cm bands. Echo will feature V/U, L/S and HF/U operational configurations, with V/S, L/U and HF/S also possible. FM voice and various digital modes--including PSK31 on a 10-meter SSB uplink--also will be available.

The AMSAT Echo fund currently stands at nearly $49,000. AMSAT-NA says it will need $110,000 for the launch--currently scheduled for March 31, although the launch window remains open until May. A Russian Dnepr LV rocket--a converted SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile--will carry the approximately 10-inch-square satellite into a low-Earth orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Visit the AMSAT Echo web page for additional details. (

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

Preliminary Echo Keplerian Elements

The following preliminary Echo Keplerian elements have been developed by Stacey Mills W4SM, AMSAT Operations VP, in response to questions about the nature of the planned Echo orbit. These elements can be used by orbit prediction programs to show the type of orbit we can expect but it cannot be used to predict passes because the times will be a function of the exact date and time of launch. Stacy's comments follow:

"Launching at 1030 UTC on March 31st from Baikonur should give an RAAN of 42 degs. That sets the orbital plane nicely. For ArgP, I just plugged in 180 which is not correct for this high a latitude launch, but since the orbit is close to circular it doesn't really matter. Mean motion was calculated from the orbital period of 5996.2 seconds which equals 14.4091 orbits/day. Eccentricity was obtained from the launch docs. I then adjusted mean anomaly to put the [spacecraft] over Baikonur at the time of launch and then adjusted back to present day so that the MA and orbit numbers don't appear negative. If you track forward to launch day/time, the satellite does appear over the launch site, so these are a pretty good, at least for illustration purposes. The keps are in NASA 2-line format with correct checksums. Orbit number is arbitrarily set at 0 today [15-Jan-04], and so is meaningless."

1 99999U 99999B   04015.44385708  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0 00013
2 99999 098.2700 042.0000 0072000 180.0000 226.0000 14.40910000000006


[ANS thanks Rick, W2GPS, for the above information.]

AMSAT on NASA Lithograph

AMSAT received prominent mention in a recently released NASA lithograph. The ARISS lithograph is available in PDF format at

In this lithograph, AMSAT is given credit and AMSAT's web site is described. Thousands of these lithographs were produced by NASA for educational purposes. This lithograph is given to educators, schools, those who attend ARISS contacts, those who attend education conferences, and it is available at the NASA educator resource centers. So whether you knew it or not, we are getting a lot of publicity. And this is a NASA paid for lithograph. If you want more publicity for AMSAT, do as Gunther suggests---GET INVOLVED.

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

Seven Year old Extra Connects to ISS

Scott Avery, WA6LIE, reports hearing Mattie, KD7TYN, via the International Space Station's packet system. The actual QSO involved the following:

:all :Hi ISS from Mattie, 7 yr old EXTRA CLASS! I PASSED EXAM!

This contact took place 1 day after Mattie passed her Amateur Extra exam at the age of 7! More information about Mattie can be found in her QRZ entry at She was also featured in an ARRL article from January 2003 when she upgrade from Technician to General Class. The story of this amazing young lady can be read at

[ANS thanks Scott Avery, WA6LIE, for the above information.]

Armstrong ARISS Contact Cancelled

Monday's scheduled contact with Armstrong Middle School in Michigan was cancelled due to the air pressure issues about the International Space Station. The current crew need to devote their time to finding and solving the leak. The amateur radio community will be notified when the contact is rescheduled.

[ANS thanks Scott, N3ASA, for the above information.]

Scheduling Satellite QSOs

Gregory Beam, KE1HA, is offering a place to schedule satellite QSOs via his website,  More information can be found in the QSO Schedules - Nets forum of the website.

[ANS thanks Gregory Beam, KE1HA, for the above information.]

Back to the Moon by 2020

President Bush announced on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 his administration's initiative to put a man on the moon by 2020. His plan calls for the completion of the International Space Station, then retiring space shuttle fleet.

By 2014, Bush wants NASA to be flying astronauts aboard a new Crew Exploration Vehicle and landing robotic explorers on the lunar surface.

Manned moon landings would start as early as 2015 and no later than 2020, followed by human expeditions to Mars a decade or so later.

Bush pledged to get the program started using only $1 billion in new spending on NASA over the next five years, saying that the rest of the funding will come from redirecting another $11 billion of current NASA spending from other unidentified projects.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

ISS Leak Source Possibly Found

A leaky hose in a U.S. laboratory likely triggered a recent drop in cabin pressure aboard the International Space Station, NASA officials said Monday.

Engineers ran tests this week aimed at confirming that suspicion.

The space agency also said the astronaut training to serve as the station's next skipper -- William McArthur -- has been replaced because of an undisclosed medical ailment. Veteran astronaut Leroy Chiao will take his place as commander of the ninth station expedition.

Working over the weekend, meanwhile, U.S. astronaut Michael Foale discovered a hiss of air escaping from the flexible hose while conducting ultrasound inspections within the U.S.-built Destiny lab module.

The suspect hose serves to vent air overboard from between two panes of glass that make up a high-quality optical window in the lab. Doing so prevents any build-up of condensation between the panes.

Foale removed the hose and capped valves it was connected to. Extra oxygen also was pumped into the station to raise cabin atmosphere closer to its normal level -- 14.7 pounds per square inch, which equals atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth.

Cabin pressure on the station Monday had stabilized at about 14 pounds per square inch. Certain station equipment is not certified to operate below 13.9 pounds per square inch.

Engineers will monitor cabin pressure to confirm whether the hose was the source.

A spare hose is to be launched to the station either aboard a Russian Progress cargo carrier on Jan. 29 or a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that carries the next crew to the station.

In the meantime, Moritz said, engineers are developing other means for making certain condensation doesn't build up between panes of the lab window, which is used for high-resolution Earth observation experiments.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

AMSAT-NA Echo Satellite Integration

An integration and testing team, lead by Jim White (WD0E) and Mike Kingery (KE4AZN), was assembled in December 2003 at SpaceQuest in Fairfax, VA. During this initial integration session, 90% of Echo's hardware was successfully tested and most of the telemetry calibration was accomplished. Even the new experimental L-band receiver and S-band transmitter functioned well during their first tests.

The Integration Team would like to give their thanks to the following for their support during integration:

Many action items were documented and are being resolved by the development team during January and February. A final integration session will be scheduled soon.

For more information on Echo's progress see Follow the "Echo Project Info" link and you will find links to Frequently Asked Questions about Echo and a page of photos of the December 2003 integration session.

Remember, we need YOUR help. AMSAT-NA has not yet reached its fund raising goal to launch Echo. Please help fund Echo for all amateur radio operators to enjoy. See the AMSAT Echo website for information on donating to the launch of Echo. You can also have your name launched in Echo. Call Martha at the AMSAT office for information at (301) 589-6062.

Rick W2GPS

[ANS thanks Rick, W2GPS, for the above information.]

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. 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,