Spin rate observations of CHIPS

From: Will Marchant (marchant@ssl.berkeley.edu)
Date: Sat Dec 07 2002 - 10:17:49 EST

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    Dear Satellite Observers:
    We're going to be launching our newest astronomy satellite as a 
    secondary on the ICESAT Delta II launch from Vandenberg AFB.  This is 
    currently scheduled for late afternoon (local time) on December 19th.
    
    CHIPS is about a meter square and about 20 cm deep.  One major face is 
    essentially covered with solar cells.  There are smaller solar panels on 
    each of the other surfaces.  The rest of the satellite is covered in 
    multi-layer insulation.  There is a picture of the satellite in the 
    December 2002 "Mission Update" column in Sky & Telescope magazine.
    
    At first we'll be relatively close to the ICESAT spacecraft and to the 
    Delta-II second stage so it may be a little difficult to visually 
    distinguish tiny CHIPS from the very large ICESAT and Delta-II second stage.
    
    We've specified pointing information to the booster folks and expect to 
    be released with our main solar panels facing the Sun.  But we do expect 
    to have some level of tumble.  We aren't planning on turning on our 
    pointing system until a couple of weeks into the mission.  But we'd like 
    to get some confirmation that we have a reasonable rotation rate.  Yes, 
    we can get this information from NASA and NORAD, but we're a small, very 
    low cost, mission and don't plan to have them do the measurement unless 
    we suspect some sort of emergency.  So the amateur community would be 
    providing a unique and valuable service.
    
    I've talked to the Principal Investigator for the mission and have 
    gotten permission for this solicitation to the amateur satellite 
    community.  We'd like to get photoelectric (or perhaps video?) 
    observations of our satellite soon after launch.  For the first dozen 
    observations that we find useful in determining our rotation rate I'll 
    put together a certificate of thanks (suitable for framing! 8) and get 
    it signed by the PI for the contributor.
    
    Sorry, we can't offer any compensation or defray your expenses in 
    getting the information to us.
    
    Thanks for your help and I hope this will be a fun challenge for the 
    community!
    
    -- 
    Will Marchant
    marchant@ssl.berkeley.eduNOSPAM     http://chips.ssl.berkeley.edu/~marchant/
    
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