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[jamsat-news:1366] AMSAT Special bulletin


BID: $ANS-320.01

A new era in Amateur Radio communications was ushered in on
November 16, 2000 (UTC) as AMSAT-DL Executive Vice President
and P3D Mission Director Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, informed AMSAT
News Service that the launch of the Phase 3D satellite from the
European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana was successful
--following a spectacular night time launch.

"It was a textbook launch" said DB2OS, "from the first minute of flight,
until P3D separated from the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, all received
telemetry indicates the launch went perfectly and our satellite appears to
be in very good health."

Launched with three other satellites - the large PAS-1R communications
satellite and the smaller STVR-1C and 1D satellites, Phase 3D was
placed into geostationary transfer orbit, from where it will be nudged into
it's final elliptical orbit.

The Ariane 5 flight proved to be a record setting mission as it marked
the first use of the ASAP-5 platform. The ASAP-5 enables the launcher
to carry auxiliary micro and mini satellite payloads. By coincidence, P3D
was married to the PanAm-1R satellite, which was also the case when
the first Ariane 4 (flight 401) rocket also launched both an AMSAT and a
PanAm satellite.

On this launch, PAS-1R becomes the largest commercial satellite ever
put into orbit -- and P3D the largest Amateur Radio satellite ever built
and launched.

At liftoff the Ariane 5 launch vehicle mass was over 6,200 Kg (almost
13,700 lbs.)! This included the mass of the PanAmSat primary payload
and the three auxiliary satellites (of which P3D was one), as well as the
mass of the ASAP-5 platform and the other payload mounting and
interface hardware.

AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, welcomed the news of
the launch, noting "that the design, building and financing of P3D by
international volunteers is a great achievement."

Immediate AMSAT-NA past President Keith Baker, KB1SF, told ANS
that he was "delighted" by the news of the Phase 3D launch. "Obviously
this is a big thrill for all of us who have spent the better part of our
over the past ten years bringing the satellite to fruition. I have no doubt
that today will be regarded as one of the greatest days in the history of
Amateur Radio."

ANS also received word from AMSAT-NA Board of Directors Chairman
(and past AMSAT-NA President) Bill Tynan, W3XO. "I can't begin to tell
you how happy I am to see P3D in orbit," said Tynan, "as I followed the
launch sequence, I thought of the many people who have been involved
with this project from the very beginning and how pleased everyone
must be to see the reward of such hard work."

Although safely in orbit, there is much work to be done with Phase 3D
before the satellite is opened for general Amateur Radio use. Initial
housekeeping tasks are now underway to verify the health of the many
complex systems onboard - followed by bringing these systems online.
As previously noted P3D is now in a transfer orbit used for
geosynchronous satellites.

To move P3D from this orbit the Arcjet motor will burn intermittently (at
perigee) over a 270-day period, with final inclination and apogee
adjustments made by the spacecraft's 400 Newton motor. "When these
maneuvers are completed and three-axis stabilization is achieved, the
satellite solar panels will then be spread out to receive full sunlight,"
said Haighton. "It is anticipated that at this time the satellite will be
operational for use by Amateur Radio operators around the world."

Stay tuned to ANS for additional bulletins from AMSAT, the official
source of information on the Phase 3D satellite.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-NA for this  information]


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