AO-40 Goes Silent

From: Bill T Bard (
Date: Fri Dec 15 2000 - 05:24:18 PST

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    Here's additional info in the amateur radio satellite AO-40:
    ARLS025 AO-40 Beacon Goes Silent
    AMSAT reports there's a problem aboard AO-40. The Amateur Radio
    satellite has not been heard from since December 13. AMSAT says the
    AO-40 development team is looking into the problem, but it might not
    have any answers until December 16. That's when the onboard computer
    is expected to automatically reset itself and, it's hoped, restart
    the beacon transmission.
    AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, said the problem may or
    may not be related to earlier difficulties getting AO-40's
    400-Newton motor to fire properly. Ground controllers adjusted the
    satellite's orbit earlier this week, but as a result of fuel-valve
    problems, AO-40 ended up in a higher-than-planned orbit.
    AMSAT reports that 2-meter telemetry transmissions from AO-40
    stopped early Wednesday, December 13, while work on the 400-Newton
    propulsion system was in progress. ''A lot of people are putting
    their heads together,'' Haighton said, but until the telemetry
    transmission reappears, not much will be known. ''It's very
    frustrating,'' he said.
    AMSAT says onboard software events set to occur Saturday afternoon
    are programmed to start a spacecraft emergency routine called
    ''command-assist'' that attempts to re-establish communication. Once
    communication is re-established, AMSAT says, ground controllers will
    have their best chance to recover any evidence of the incident that
    made the telemetry transmissions stop.
    Monitors around the world are listening for any signal from AO-40 on
    the 146.898 MHz beacon frequency.
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