I just received a message from the US Joint Space Operations Center warning that AO-51 will have a close approach to another satellite, FORMOSAT 3-D, tomorrow morning at 1056 UTC. This just happens to be over the Eastern US. Predicted miss distance is 953 meters, which is over 3000 feet. Here are the latest elements sets for both satellites:
AMSAT ECHO 1 28375U 04025K 10058.90048627 .00000037 00000-0 23393-4 0 6144 2 28375 098.0572 058.6452 0085064 068.7648 292.2602 14.40671174297770
FORMOSAT 3D 1 29050U 06011D 10059.05265027 .00001102 00000-0 26646-3 0 4565 2 29050 072.0087 081.1265 0054240 301.1173 058.4581 14.54154136208438
On this afternoon's pass I will shut off the S band transmitter and turn on the digital downlink at 2 watts, with telemetry transmitted every 5 seconds. If everything goes ok and we are still in one piece, we'll get the repeater back on by tomorrow night. Telemetry collected tomorrow morning during the approach is welcome to [email protected]
Let's not panic, 953 meters is a long way apart, but it's worth paying close attention during the approach. Good Luck AO-51.
73, Drew KO4MA AMSAT-NA VP Operations