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Re: AO-40 MA, ALON/ALAT and squint angle ??

Hi Erich,

Happy New Year to you too!  Hope 2001 is full of exciting things (like lots
of Amateur Radio fun via AO-40, etc!)

I think you need to distinguish between ALON/ALAT, and squint angle.  They
are two separate issues, although squint angle is partly dependent upon
what the ALON/ALAT is.

For a satellite which is spinning sufficiently fast, the ALON / ALAT will
_not_ change on a day to day basis...  it will remain fixed.  The
satellite's attitude can only change as the result of applied forces,
either deliberately induced (eg magnetorqueing at perigee), or unwanted
external forces (eg asymmetrical drag from the very upper atmosphere, etc).

I do agree with you, however, that for an earth-based observer, squint
angle changes on an orbit-by-orbit basis.


Chris vk6kch

At 20:05 01/01/2001 +0100, you wrote:
>Hi Chris,
>thank you very much for your very clear explanation of ALON/ALAT and squint
>in the AMSAT BB. I think, there is one aspect that should be mentioned:
>Since ALON/ALAT are time dependent, it is of some importance to know to what
>time the given values of ALON and ALAT refer. The time is not very critical,
>but one should know the day at least. Unfortunately most times the time is
>not mentioned in the sources.
>As a test I have calculated (with my own program SatPC32) the Squintangels
>of AO-40 with AON/ALAT 260/2 1.) as given at  Dec.1st and  2.) as given at
>Dec. 28th 2000. With these different times the squint angles differ about 5
>Please excuse my bad English.
>Best wishes for then New Year.
>Vy 73s, Erich, DK1TB.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Chris Hill" <CRH_Telnet@bigpond.com>
>To: <T5z4@aol.com>
>Cc: <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
>Sent: Monday, January 01, 2001 2:32 PM
>Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] AO-40 MA, ALON/ALAT and squint angle ??
>> Hi Steve,
>> Maybe this way of thinking about it might help...
>> AO-40 is whizzing around the earth in an elliptical orbit.  At the moment,
>> the satellite is spin-stabilised.  This means, that the "front" of the
>> satellite is always pointing at a particular fixed point in space,
>> regardless of where in the orbit it is.
>> The whole issue of "ALON/ALAT", or "satellite attitude", or "Bahn LAT/LON"
>> or "BLAT/BLON" is to describe which particular direction the front of the
>> satellite is indeed looking at.
>> Satellite Attitude is measured when the satellite is at apogee (furthest
>> point from the earth).  Think of the Attitude Longitude as equivalent to
>> Azimuth.
>> If the front of the satellite (the +z facet) is pointing straight towards
>> the earth, then ALON = 0 degrees.
>> If the +z facet is facing straight back to where it has just come from
>> (strictly speaking, facing backwards to the tangent of the orbit), then
>> ALON = 90 degrees.
>> If the +z facet is facing directly away from the earth, then ALON = 180
>> degrees.
>> Finally, if the +z facet is facing directly forwards (along the tangent
>> line), then ALON = 270 degrees.
>> Remember, a spin-stabilised satellite (like AO-40 is now) keeps pointing
>> the same point in space...  so with a ALON of 270 degrees, whilst the +z
>> facet is pointing straight forward at apogee, it will be pointing straight
>> backwards at perigee.  AO-40's 400N motor is on the +z facet;  by having
>> pointing backwards at perigee, the thrust adds to the satellite's orbital
>> energy.  (This is how the approx 6 minute burn lifted the apogee out to
>> 60,000 km).
>> There's a pretty good diagram showing ALON of 270 degrees at:
>> http://www.cstone.net/~w4sm2/software2/ALON.gif
>> As for ALAT:
>> Think of ALAT as the satellite's equivalent of Elevation.  If ALAT is
>> positive, then the +z facet is pointing up, with respect to the orbital
>> plane.  If ALAT is negative, then the +z facet is pointing down with
>> respect to the orbital plane.
>> AO-40's current attitude
>> ========================
>> I'm using a figure of 260/+2.2.  This means that at apogee, the +z facet
>> pointing slightly (2.2 degrees) up, and slightly (10 degrees) to the right
>> of straight ahead.
>> At perigee then, the motor and antennas are pointing almost straight
>> backwards, but with a slight (10 degree) angle away from the earth.
>> What's Attitude got to do with Squint Angle?
>> ============================================
>> Attitude tells us where in space the satellite is pointing.  As the
>> satellite moves through its orbit, the earth may or may not come between
>> the satellite and that point in space.  Most of the time, the earth is
>> _not_ in front of the satellite...  it's somewhere off to the side.
>> Depending on the satellites attitude, and the geometry between the
>> groundstation and the satellite, the squint angle can be calculated.
>> Most satellite tracking programs that can do this date back to AO-10 and
>> AO-13 days.  AO-10 and -13 had the high-gain antennas mounted on the
>> "bottom" of the satellite (the -z facet)... but AO-40 has the high-gain
>> antennas on the +z facet.  This is why you have to modify the published
>> ALON/ALAT figures prior to putting them into InstantTrack, etc.
>> (Figure AO10-1, page C-2 of The Radio Amateur's Satellite Handbook seems
>> be in error here.  It shows AO-10's antennas as being on the +z facet).
>> If the published figures are 260/2.2, then obviously the other end of the
>> satellite is pointing the other way;
>> Corrected_ALON = (Published_ALON + 180 degrees) MOD 360.
>> eg = (260+180) MOD 360 = 80
>> Corrected_ALAT = Published_ALAT * -1
>> eg = +2.2 * -1 = -2.2
>> So for Instanttrack, use a figure of -2.2,+80  (IT takes the attitude in
>> the order of ALAT,ALON).
>> I hope this somewhat lengthy explanation has helped a little.
>> Regards,
>> Chris vk6kch
>> At 22:30 31/12/2000 EST, you wrote:
>> >In a message dated 12/31/00 4:19:48 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>> >writes:
>> >
>> ><< A hand drawing or a simple model will help at this
>> > point.  See the following drawing.
>> >
>> >     www.cstone.net/~w4sm2/software2/ALON.gif >>
>> >
>> >I wonder what an ALON/ALAT of 0/270 would look like.
>> >That might help my understanding of the range of possible
>> >attitudes.
>> >
>> >73, Steve
>> >K5PK
>> >----
>> >Via the amsat-bb mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
>> >To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe amsat-bb" to Majordomo@amsat.org
>> >
>> ----
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 |  Chris Hill               mailto:chris.hill@crhtelnet.com.au |
 |  CRH Telnet Pty Ltd                       A.C.N. 008 922 530 |
 |  Phone  : +61 8 9310 3066              Fax : +61 8 9310 1117 |
 |  Postal : PO Box 557 Willetton WA 6155 Australia             |

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