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AO-40 in the New Year

This first report to the membership in 2001 on AO-40 is somewhat brief but 
covers the situation as I see it on January 1 2001, and hopefully will fill 
the gap of missing information over the past few days.

Firstly let me say that the command team have not stopped their 
investigations during the holidays, now that communications have been made 
with AO-40 the team have started to get good telemetry data from the bird on 
"S-band" (2.4 GHz). 

However copy is only available during the earlier parts of each  pass 
(typically MA 14-39) due to the offset of the antenna with respect to earth. 
This restricts the amount communications that can take place each pass.
The data that has been recovered is being analysed carefully to try and 
determine a number of things such as;
What actually happened
Why did it happen
What telemetry functions are known to be correct
What telemetry data is suspect.
Why is some data suspect
What is the actual attitude of the space craft with respect to earth
Has the attitude changed
What is the spin velocity - has it changed.
What is the state of the batteries
Are the battery chargers and regulators working
What happened to the IHU 1 & 2 and why
Are all the antennas operational 
What can we do next to improve the communications
What risks are involved

When questions such as these, and many others, are answered it may be 
possible to determine the working capability of the spacecraft and if 
appropriate, to start to try operation on other bands.
Much analysis work remains to be completed, and I know that the command team 
will try to keep us all informed as and when they can answer the questions.

Over the next week or two some critical decisions will be made, they will be 
based on the results of the analysis, and a lot of discussion among the 
command team.

Meanwhile lets hope that the first week or two of the New Year will bring the 
same joy and relief to us all as the initial news of  December 25.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year
Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA
Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
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