March 14, 2004

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AO-40 Makes Noise

Today during the period 0310 to 0320 UTC (orbit 1541) I observed the following.

Prior to issuing the command sequence we tune around the beacon frequency, taking note of the "noise spectrum". No variance in amplitude detected, just clean white noise. At 0310, commenced sending a 12 block sequence, 3 * Reset,Tx-Off,Reset,Tx-On.

At the completion of the sequence, again tuned around the beacon frequency, and noted a noise peak of 4 to 5 dB, in the vicinity of expected beacon frequency. The width of this peak was about 5 kHz. Listened to it for about 15 seconds and then sent a Reset, Tx-Off command and the noise peak disappeared, approximately 2 seconds after the Tx-Off block was completed.

Completed my session with a number of Aux-Batt commands, but did not attempt the Tx again. Range was nominally 12000/15000 kilometres during command period. Was using my last calibrated uplink frequency.

This tends to suggest that the IHU and L Band Rx are operational. Bus voltage insufficient to open that damn relay. Considering SA=-72, the remaining cells are holding up well. Hope this makes your day, like it has mine.

Colin Hurst, VK5HI
for the AO-40 Command Team

[ANS thanks Colin Hurst, VK5HI, for the above information.]

Support for Hubble

Astronomers today used the unveiling of a spectacular new image of distant galaxies to attack NASA's plan to let the Hubble Space Telescope die.

NASA has deemed a planned Hubble servicing mission too dangerous for shuttle astronauts. Measures taken after the Columbia accident last year are designed around using the International Space Station as an inspection point and haven for crews. The telescope is in a different orbit.

"The picture we'll see today is a stunning example of what Hubble means to science," Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski told scientists and journalists at Baltimore's Space Telescope Science Institute.

"That's why the world loves Hubble. This is why the scientific community counts on Hubble, and this is why I will continue to stand up for Hubble," she said to applause.

Scientists who revealed the new Ultra Deep Field image -- the deepest visual-light image ever taken of distant galaxies -- hailed it as bringing humans closer to answering questions about the beginnings of the universe.

Although it encompasses a tiny portion of the sky, the new image shows nearly 10,000 galaxies, many with unusual shapes. Some of the images consist of light from more than 13 billion years ago, when the universe was less than 5 percent of its present age, said Steven Beckwith, director of the institute and a professor at Johns Hopkins University.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

March Spacewarn Available

The March edition of Spacewarn Bulletin is now available at  This monthly publication summarizes satellites launched during the previous month.

[ANS thanks NASA for the above information.]

DuBose School a Great ARISS Success

DuBose Middle School located in Summerville, South Carolina had a very successful ARISS contact with Mike Foale KB5UAC on board the ISS. Contact was established about 14:31 UTC on March 8, 2004. Congratulations to DuBose and Mike.

Also to be congratulated are Alene Wilkins KG4NKD (the coordinating teacher), Principal Mr. Raymond Burke, and Glenn Little WB4UIV (the local ham coordinator). They did a great job getting the kids organized.

ARISS would also like to thank several media outlets for attending. As this contact was a telebridge, ARISS would like to thank MCI/Dome for doing an outstanding job. Operator Mary again did an excellent job.

The contact was handled by the ARISS crew at W6SRJ at Santa Rosa Junior College. Tim Bosma W6ISS fielded a crew that had Bill Hillendahl KH6GJV and Herb Sullivan K6QXB. Will Marchant KC6ROL acted as MC. Tim, Bill, and Will are all ARISS mentors.

DuBose was able to ask 20 questions and was in the middle of the 21st when the ISS went below the horizon.

The teacher, Alene Wilkins KG4NKD, said, "This was the BEST experience I have had since I started teaching. ... All 19 students were able to ask questions. We had all the local news stations here and one local newspaper."

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

Bhac School Set for ARISS Contact 17 March

The next ARISS contact will take place 17 March at approximately 1426 UTC between the International Space Station and students at the School of Back (Bhac) in Scotland. This contact will be a telebridge via station WH6PN out of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Plans are for the contact to be streamed on the web. Steps to monitor the internet audio are:

Updates to the contact will be sent to the SAREX listserv. Information on the ARISS programme can be found at the organization's website

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

AMSAT Campaign Totals

As of 5 March the Echo Launch Campaign raised $60,744 and the annual Eagle Build Campaign raised $18,273. A hearty thanks to all who have contributed!

[ANS thanks AMSAT 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,