Nov. 26, 2000
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-331.01
PHASE 3D/AO-40 UPDATE
AMSAT NEWS SERVICE BULLETIN 331.01 FROM AMSAT HQ
SILVER SPRING, MD, NOVEMBER 26, 2000
TO ALL RADIO AMATEURS
As previously announced in ANS-327.01, AO-40 command stations have been quite busy lately as general housekeeping tasks have been underway to verify the health of the many complex systems onboard AMSAT OSCAR-40 - all with very good results.
P3D Project leader Dr. Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, informed ANS that following the successful launch and injection into nominal orbit, initial telemetry from the satellite was expected on 70-cm at about the 3-hour mission mark. This did not happen and consequently the spacecraft was switched to use the 144 MHz middle beacon as the main telemetry downlink. This required a new program to be uploaded into P3D's IHU-2 system.
After new software, communication was established and the health of AO-40 was analyzed and tested. DJ4ZC happily reported "except for the UHF transmitter, everything was found to be nominal and working fine." The attitude control system was then calibrated and torque reorientation operations started, which are still underway.
Both 2400 MHz transmitters were successfully operated and pictures from the separation sequence are now being downloaded and will posted on the AMSAT-DL web site. Currently, there are photos and a separation sequence of the conical adapter (which was above P3D) just before Phase 3D was released. View this information at:
The first planned orbit change will soon take place and that should result in a 50,000 km apogee. This will allow a thorough study of the 70-cm transmitter problem using P3D's hi-gain antennas (which) would then be available.
After the first orbit change is completed a test the electric propulsion Arcjet system will take place (and) if successful, it will be used to further increase the apogee of AO-40.
AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, told ANS that "plans are in place to make AO-40 available for a limited period of general Amateur Radio use possibly within a week or two." This provisional operation would involve "one or two bands at a time," said VE3FRH.
Details of the limited test period will be announced by an official AMSAT ANS bulletin and via the AO-40 telemetry beacon.
Currently, AO-40 is downlinking data on the V-band omni-directional antenna located on the bottom of the spacecraft. The V-band transmitter is at 50 watts (and is adjustable). The spacecraft is spinning, which is necessary for the use of the 400N bi-propellant engine. However, spinning reduces the total solar power available. Substantially more solar power will be available after AO-40 reached its final orbit configuration and the solar panels are deployed.
North American P3D Command Station operator Stacey Mills, W4SM, has placed a zip file containing his P3D telemetry decoding program (P3T.exe) as well as some additional supporting files on his web page.
The program will run on Windows 95/98/NT/2000 platforms. W4SM reports additional programs are under development for Mac and Linux platforms. The information is available at:
IZ8BLY recently released an AO-40 telemetry decoding program. It is available at:
The complete Phase 3-D frequency band plan is available at:
Stay tuned to ANS for additional bulletins from AMSAT, the official
source of information on the Phase 3D satellite.
[ANS thanks AMSAT-DL, AMSAT-NA and the ARRL for this information]
de JAMSAT P3D SCOPE Team
(C) 2000 JAMSAT