SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-037.01
ANS Special Bulletin: AMSAT-NA and AMSAT-UK Donation to P3E
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 037.01
From AMSAT HQ SILVER SPRING, MD.
To All RADIO AMATEURS
AMSAT Groups Make Donation to AMSAT-DL to Facilitate
Completion of P3E Satellite Amateur Radio Satellite
Following a meeting between representatives of the AMSAT groups
from North America (AMSAT-NA), The United Kingdom (AMSAT-UK),
and Germany (AMSAT-DL), a decision has been made by AMSAT-NA
and AMSAT-UK to donate a total of 40,000 Euros to AMSAT-DL for
the purpose of funding the continued operation of the "Zentrales
Entwicklungslabor for Electronik", (Central Development Lab for
Electronics, aka "The ZEL").
The ZEL was established over 20 years ago at the University of
Marburg by AMSAT-DL for the purpose of satellite construction.
It is in this suite of workshops that several amateur space
frames have been constructed, integrated and tested, including
the famous OSCAR 13. The ZEL is staffed by approximately 10
engineers, technicians, administrators, etc., who are a mixture
of University employees and AMSAT-DL volunteers. The major current
project in the ZEL is the construction of the Phase 3E satellite
(P3E). Although construction is centred at the ZEL many of the
components come from other parts of the world, including the
Integrated Housekeeping Unit (IHU-3), the CAN-Do buss interface
modules, and the STAR camera from AMSAT-NA and the U/V SDX trans-
ponder module from AMSAT-UK.
P3E is considered vital to the amateur radio space community for
a variety of reasons. Currently there is no high orbit satellite
carrying analogue transponders allowing DX multiple simultaneous
contacts. There are amateur radio satellites in low earth orbit
but these, because of their low orbit, only support relatively
short range contacts and are only visible for short periods of
time (e.g. 10 - 15 minutes). The proposed orbit of P3E will cause
it to be visible from amateur radio stations on earth for several
hours at a time, allowing increased periods of operation and
P3E is considered a 'low risk' approach based on many of the design
parameters of the hugely successful OSCAR 13. In order to keep costs
low, it is based on a flight spare chassis left over from the OSCAR 13
development programme. There will, however, be several new innovations.
For example, the Mode U/V transponder, with a planned 80 KHz bandwidth,
will be based on DSP technology using software developed in the UK and
SDR HELAPS jointly developed with AMSAT-NA. The IHU-3 will be a new
development based on a unit successfully tested on OSCAR-40. There
will be several other experiments which will test techniques needed
for the proposed flight of an amateur radio spacecraft to Mars
(Phase 5A), for example, a low power beacon simulating the weak signals
that it will send from the Phase 5A satellite (P5A) on its journey to
Mars. This will allow radio amateurs to test their stations in readi-
ness for P5A.
The optimal years for launching a Mars bound spacecraft are 2009 or 2011
so it is important that P3E is launched as soon as possible. This is
currently planned to be at the end of 2008. It is realised that the next
important step is to obtain an agreement with a suitable launch agency to
undertake to fly the satellite.
Previous progress report on P3E http://www.amsat-dl.org/p3e/
Photographs of The ZEL http://n4hy.smugmug.com/gallery/383989/