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AO-40

From Academic Kids

AO-40 is the on-orbit name designation of an Amateur Radio satellite (AMSAT) of the OSCAR series; formerly known as Phase 3D.

The Project Manager was Peter Guelzow (Amateur Radio call sign DB2OS) of AMSAT Germany (AMSAT-DL).

History

  • Project Definition: Following the failure of the Phase 3A launcher, design studies were undertaken and construction started for two successor satellites, that became AO-10 (Phase 3B) and AO-13 (Phase 3C) respectively.
  • Design: After the launch of AO-13, design commenced for a Phase 4 satellite. This idea was later shelved, and design of Phase 3D (on-orbit name: AO-40) was undertaken under direction of the project team based in Germany, involving payloads from Amateur Radio operators many countries in Europe.
  • Construction: Assembly (1994-2000) was at AMSAT's Spacecraft Integration Facility in the 'Free Trade Zone Building' at the Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida.
  • 'Incident':
    • On 13 December 2000 at 1123 UTC, transmissions from AO-40 ceased during the exercising of its 400 Neuton motor.
    • The Command Team were able to infer that there had been an explosion caused by pressure in the propellant pipes caused by malfunction of the control valves.
    • As a result of this 'incident', several pieces of radio equipment no longer functioned or were not able to be commissioned.
    • Following strenuous efforts by the Command Team, signals were restored on 25 December 2000 at 2145 UTC when Command Team member Ian Ashley (Amateur Radio call sign ZL1AOX) of New Zealand successful sent a 'reset' signal to the satellite.
    • Onboard cameras were used to establish the attitude of the satellite, and the magnotorguer system was used to spin-stabilise the satellite.
    • During June 2001, gas from the arcject motor was vented to raise and stabilise the orbit of the satellite.
    • Subsequently, the payload communication packages and cameras were gradually re-activated.
  • 'Quiet period':
    • On 25 January 2004, telemetry from the main battery was observed to go to an extremely low voltage by Stacey Mills (Amateur Radio call sign W3SM), a member of the Command Team. This caused the onboard Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU) computer to cut power to the transponder payloads.
    • On 9 March 2004, Colin Hurst (Amateur Radio call sign VK5HI) of Australia, a member of the command team, heard a change in the level of radio noise at the expected beacon frequency during the period 0310 to 0320 UTC (orbit 1541).

External links

AO-40 status information (AMSAT Germany) (http://www.amsat-dl.org/journal/adlj-p3d.htm) - in German and English

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