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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS004 (1997)

ARLS004 AMSAT scrambling to close funding gap

Space Bulletin 004  ARLS004
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT  February 28, 1997
To all radio amateurs

ARLS004 AMSAT scrambling to close funding gap

The AMSAT-NA Phase 3D fund-raising campaign is at minus 150,000 dollar(s) 
counting--and that's assuming the launch goes off on schedule this
summer.  At the end of 1996, AMSAT-NA figured it needed another
200,000 dollar(s) to finish the project.  The latest AMSAT-NA fund campaign
has, so far, netted an additional 50,000, dollar(s) according to AMSAT-NA
Executive Vice President Keith Baker, KB1SF.  ''Barring unforeseen
problems from now until launch, and assuming the early July launch
date holds, that puts us still short of funds by about 150,000,''
Baker dollar(s) said this week.  ''We're still not out of the woods yet, but
we're getting close.''

But the AMSAT-NA shortfall is only part of the total Phase 3D
funding picture.  Baker also says that AMSAT-DL (Germany)--which, so
far, has invested nearly 2 dollar(s) million in Phase 3D compared to nearly
1 dollar(s).4 million for AMSAT-NA--reports it still needs in the vicinity 
100,000 dollar(s) to complete its share of the Phase 3D effort.

Baker said AMSAT is on target to meet the July 8 or July 9 schedule,
which is still the official European Space Agency launch date for
the Ariane 502 rocket.

Baker said work on the satellite is moving along swiftly, and most
of the remaining electronic modules, antennas and other pieces of
the satellite are now at the Phase 3D Integration Lab in Orlando,
Florida.  ''This week, a number of our Japanese and European builders
will also be in Orlando, along with several of their American
counterparts, to begin the 'final-final' installation and test of
antennas as well as integration into the satellite and testing of RF
and the remaining equipment modules,'' he said.  ''They'll roll up
their shirtsleeves to get the work done.''  That phase of the job
will continue through March.  Environmental testing of the satellite
is slated to begin in mid-April.

The schedule is a tight one, right up until launch time.  AMSAT
anticipates the satellite will be shipped to Kourou, French Guyana,
sometime in early May for final checkout, followed by integration
with the Ariane 5 rocket in mid to late June.

''Needless to say, it is a very busy (and exciting) time for all of
us.'' Baker said.

A series of pictures of Phase 3D work in progress is available via
the AMSAT-NA Web site at  Depending on its
workload, the integration team hopes to be able to update these
photos as work progresses.


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