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[jamsat-news:762] * SpaceNews 02-Feb-98 *

* SpaceNews 02-Feb-98 *

BID: $SPC0202


                        MONDAY FEBRUARY 2, 1998

SpaceNews originates at KD2BD in Wall Township, New Jersey, USA.  It
is published every week and is made available for non-commercial use.

Space Shuttle mission STS-89 came to an end on 31-Jan-98 at 2235 UTC with
a smooth landing on runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Flordia.
The primary objective of this flight was to rendezvous and dock with the
Russian space station Mir and perform a crew exchange of U.S. astronaut
David Wolf from Mir with Andrew Thomas from the shuttle.  Andrew Thomas
is the last U.S. astronaut assigned to visit the Mir complex.  Endeavour's
next mission will carry the U.S. Node Module to support the construction
of the International Space Station (ISS) in July.

[Info via the ISIR Newsline Digest]

French cosmonaut Leopold Eyharts and two Russians, Talgat Musabayev and
Nikolai Budarin, were launched to the Russian space station Mir from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz booster on 29-Jan-98 at 1633 UTC.  The
three man crew aboard Soyuz TM-27, known as Mir 25, docked on 31-Jan-98.
Musabayev and Budarin will replace the current Russian crew aboard Mir,
Anatoly Solovyev and Pavel Vinogradov, who will return to earth in a few
weeks with Eyharts.

Soon after the Soyuz lift-off, the U.S. space shuttle Endeavour undocked
from Mir after spending a few days linked to the complex to retrieve U.S.
astronaut David Wolf, and leave astronaut Andrew Thomas and supplies for
the next few months.  Thomas is scheduled to remain aboard Mir until May.
He is the last of a series of U.S. astronauts who have been aboard Mir:

        Norm Thagard    (Feb 95 - Jun 95)
        Shannon Lucid   (Mar 96 - Sep 96)
        John Blaha      (Sep 96 - Jan 97)
        Jerry Linenger  (Jan 97 - May 97)
        Mike Foale      (May 97 - Sep 97)
        David Wolf      (Sep 97 - Jan 98)
        Andrew Thomas   (Jan 98 - Present)

[Info via the ISIR Newsline Digest]

Ray, W2RS, extends his thanks to all who participated in AMSAT-NA's OSCAR
SKN '98.  Although activity was down from prior years due to the loss of
RS-10, the temporary loss of Mode K on RS-12 and the unfavorable position
of AO-10, a good time was had by those who took part.

Once again our first-place winner was Rusty, NM1K, who received five
separate nominations.  Two more 1998 winners also had been nominated in
previous years: G3RWL and W1NU.  Joining the winners' circle for the first
time in 1998 were AG2R, K4IPH and VE5SWL.  Heartiest congratulations to all.

Stacy Mills W4SM, reports that AO-10's signals are improving and are quite
strong even at apogee, except for periods of deep QSB, which can be largely
corrected by changing antenna polarization.  These findings suggest strongly
that AO-10 has switched (glitched) itself to its hi-gain antennas.  There
is probably a component of Z-axis wobble accounting for the QSB.  As
illumination has improved, the FMing heard earlier appears to have
disappeared.  The switch to hi-gains would also explain the often poor
signals near perigee when the squint angle is particularly bad.

AO-10 is currently experiencing long (90 minute) solar eclipses with
onset after apogee.  The MA of onset will continue to increase and the
length of the eclipse  will continue to decrease until the period ends
on 23-Feb-98.

AO-10's apogee has moved into the northern hemisphere (ArgP > 180).
Apogee will continue to rise higher to the north for the rest of 1998,
peaking at ArgP = 270 in December.

Stacey Mills has updated his Web page to include discussions of
AMSAT-OSCAR-10's status as well as smoothed Keplerian elements for the
spacecraft.  The URL is:


[Info via Stacey E. (Chuck) Mills, W4SM]

Richard W. L. Limebear, G3RWL, on behalf of AMSAT-UK, is requesting
comments regarding the construction and funding of future OSCAR satellites
carrying Mode A (145 MHz UP, 29 MHz DOWN) communications transponders.
Based on comments and feelings expressed by some satellite users, it is
believed that:

1) There is a need for Mode-A satellites for new satellite operators to
train on, as well as for those amateurs who prefer analogue rather than
digital operations; and

2) The present supply of Mode-A satellites is fast decreasing with the
demise of RS-10/11, problems commanding RS-12/13, battery troubles with
RS-15, and the non-availability of RS-16. No Mode-A spacecraft has been
produced by a Western group for the past 20 years (Oscar-8 in 1978).

AMSAT-UK is giving some consideration to this state of affairs but, before
they go further, they need to determine whether a new Mode-A package would
a) be wanted; b) be used; and c) be supported.

In other words, do satellite operators (ie: YOU) want it to happen?  Is
it worth someone's time and effort to design, produce, and launch such a

How many people would use a new Mode-A spacecraft?  It would be pointless
to spend several hundred thousand dollars if it only attracted a few
hundred users (so the cost is 1000 dollars per user).  Would YOU use it?

This several hundred thousand dollars doesn't just appear magically.  The
money has to be raised by satellite operators (ie: YOU).  Would you give
your own money to a group who promised to develop and launch a Mode-A

Richard asks that comments be directed to him by 28-Feb-98 via any of the
following paths:

Packet:    G3RWL @ GB7HSN
E-Mail:    g3rwl@amsat.org
Satellite: Oscars 16/19/22/23/25

73 de Richard W L Limebear G3RWL
Communications Officer, AMSAT-UK

Comments and input for SpaceNews should be directed to the editor (John,
KD2BD) via any of the paths listed below:

WWW       : http://www.njin.net/~magliaco/
INTERNET  : kd2bd@amsat.org, magliaco@email.njin.net

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