Status Report

AMSAT-OSCAR-40 News 1 Jan 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
January 1, 2001
Filed under ,

* AMSAT-OSCAR-40 NEWS *

=======================


On 26-Dec-2000, the AMSAT News Service reported that AO-40 was transmitting
on 2401.305 MHz. Prior to this, the satellite had not transmitted any
signals since December 13, 2000, which was shortly after the first burn
of the 400-N motor.

Peter, DB2OS, provided the following information:

On December 25, 2000 at 21:45 UTC command station ZL1AOX
transmitted a L-band reset command which included an initialization
block to switch ‘on’ one of the two S-band transmitters onboard AO-40.
Just after the first attempt, AO-40’s S-2 beacon was received by Ian,
ZL1AOX, on 2401.305 MHz. The signal strength was S-5 to S-6, which
compares to S-2 when the beacon was last heard last during testing in
early December.

AO-40’s S-band transmitter produced a steady signal at ZL1AOX and
from the doppler wobbling it was also clear that it was in fact coming
from AO-40.

ZL1AOX reported that he was able to copy and observe the S-2
beacon until LOS at 03:45:15 UTC. Predicted LOS from NORAD’s
orbital set #12 indicated a LOS within 5 seconds of that time.

At the time of reception, AO-40’s approximate distance from ZL1AOX
was 61,470 kilometers.

Later today (December 26th), ZL1AOX will re-acquire AO-40 shortly
after perigee with a reasonably good squint angle. He will than start
reloading AO-40’s IPS software. Until that task is completed, AO-40’s
beacon will not carry any telemetry, just carrier.

AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, provided the following
statement regarding AO-40’s recent S-band transmissions on 2401.305 MHz:

The excellent news of contact with AO-40 through the L-band uplink
and S-band downlink has been received with joy and relief by AMSAT
members around the world. AMSAT-DL issued a bulletin giving the news
that everyone had hoped for on Christmas day, a fantastic gift to the
Amateur Radio community.

On behalf of the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors, I wish to congratulate
all those concerned in the recovery effort. While we all realize that this
is just the first step in many, without making this initial 2-way contact
with AO-40, recovery would not be possible. The recovery procedures
are a true team effort between Project Leader Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC,
the command stations and the other members of the P3D/AO-40 team.

In conclusion, I wish the team continued success, and I am sure that
all of our thoughts are with them as they continue to work on behalf
of AMSAT members world wide. (Robin Haighton, VE3FRH President, AMSAT-NA)

AMSAT-DL President (and P3D Project leader) Dr. Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC,
provided additional information regarding AO-40’s recent S-band
transmissions on 2401.305 MHz:

Ian, ZL1AOX, has succeeded in loading IPS software and a minimal
operational package into AO-40. As a consequence, AO-40 is now
sending telemetry (A blocks) that will enable an analysis of the status
of the spacecraft.

A first (quick) look has revealed that some temperature sensors and
possibly some current sensors have been lost by whatever incident
caused the telemetry transmissions to stop. However, the power
situation, in particular the battery voltages, look nominal.

We will now start a detailed analysis of the situation; the command
stations will continue to follow a conservative philosophy with the
primary target of not causing any additional damage along with
retaining as much evidence as possible for the analysis of the
incident.

Furthermore, command stations will now try to uplink the entire
operational software package, which in particular should establish
positive control over the power generation system. From there on, the
communications capabilities of the spacecraft will be explored. The
2-meter transmitter is considered off limits for the time being (in case
that it may have been damaged and thus might have the potential to
cause the IHU to crash). The risk is too large before the Warte-Orbits
and Command-Assist programs have been updated to reflect the
actual capabilities of the satellite available after the incident.

In summary, we can state that the command stations have now
regained control over AO-40. During the next few days we hope to
learn to what extent the satellite was damaged and to what extent
this will impact mission targets.

On 28-Dec-2000, AMSAT-DL Vice President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS,
provided the following summary of recent command team actions
regarding AO-40:

The recovery efforts of AO-40 continue, mainly centered around
housekeeping tasks designed to improve and stabilize the systems
onboard the satellite. In addition, new software routines were
successfully loaded that restored all Battery Charge Regulator
functions and have resulted in a positive power budget with happy
batteries. The command team is also pleased to report that the AO-40
Flight Software is now completely re-loaded (with the exception of
D-block programming and WOD routines which will be done later).

Command station G3RUH (James Miller) reported that commanding
AO-40 on L-band frequencies was fairly easy, thus it appears the
L-band receiver seems to be work nominally.

A quick look at received telemetry instrumentation shows Helium
pressure at essentially where it was following the first 400-N motor
burn. Also, it appears that a few temperature and current sensors
either failed and/or are showing incorrect values. The onboard sun
sensors appear to be fine and are showing a solar angle that is
near our predictions. The received spin rate telemetry is not
accurate when compared to the actual spin as measured by the
doppler wobbling of the S-band beacon. There appears to be a
substantial spin increase. Clearly, more time is needed to analyze
and understand what has happened here.

The good news is that the spacecraft is now fully under control.
During the next several days additional software will be loaded
and the various uplinks will be verified before a command is sent
to turn on the 2-meter again.

Stay tuned to ANS for additional bulletins from AMSAT, the
official source for information on AMSAT OSCAR-40.

[Info via the AMSAT-NA News Service]

* SKN 2001 *

============

All radio amateurs worldwide are cordially invited to participate in
AMSAT-NA’s 29th annual Straight Key Night on OSCAR, to be held from 0000
to 2400 UTC on 1 January 2001.

It’s totally informal: no rules, no scoring and no need to submit a log.
Just have fun operating Morse with a straight hand key via any amateur radio
satellite (including the moon). Call CQ SKN or answer such calls from other
stations.

In keeping with the friendly tradition of this event, each participant is
encouraged to nominate someone he or she worked for “Best Fist.” Those
nominated will be listed in an AMSAT News Service bulletin and in The
AMSAT Journal. Please send all Best Fist nominations to W2RS via e-mail
([email protected]), packet radio (W2RS @ WA2SNA.NJ.USA.NA) or “snail-mail”
to W2RS’ callbook address.

[Info via Ray Soifer, W2RS]

* SpaceNews NEWS *

==================

My apologies for the lack of SpaceNews over the past several weeks.
Things have been hectic, and with only limited time available to compose
and distribute these reports, it is becoming increasingly more difficult
to maintain the weekly schedule of SpaceNews creation and distribution.
Maintaining this schedule for the past 13 years hasn’t been easy, and it
doesn’t look like it’s going to be getting any easier. Therefore, if
anyone is willing and able to assume the responsibility for the future
creation of these reports, it would greatly be appreciated, not only
by myself, but also by the many readers of SpaceNews. I should still
be able to assist in the distribution of these reports, and am willing
to assist in any way I can.

If you can help out, please let me know.

Thanks!

73, de John, KD2BD

* THANKS! *

===========

Thanks to all who recently sent messages of appreciation and holiday
greetings to SpaceNews, especially:

DG7SGQ N9AVG

Happy New Year to all, and all the best wishes in 2001, the first year
of the 21st Century!

* FEEDBACK/INPUT WELCOMED *

===========================

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: [email protected], [email protected]

SATELLITE: KITSAT-OSCAR-25

SpaceRef staff editor.